This article focuses on two of the most enduring terms in Raymond Williams’s Marxism and Literature: “dominant, residual, emergent” and “structures of feeling.” Williams’s theory of history as mixtures and layers of different temporal moments is not only alive and well in the field today; it also offers a way to theorize what it means to be “Undead,” that is, to produce thoughts that live after or out of one’s time. And yet, Williams’s stress on process over structure is so open and flexible that it allows one to avoid some hard questions about how history really works.
Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (1977)
Caroline Levine is David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of the Humanities at Cornell University. She is the author of The Serious Pleasures of Suspense: Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt (2003), Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts (2007), and Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015). An editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature, she is currently completing a book on sustainability.
Caroline Levine; Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (1977). Public Culture 1 May 2020; 32 (2 (91)): 423–430. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-8090166
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