1st Edition

The Cultural Critics From Matthew Arnold to Raymond Williams

By Lesley Johnson Copyright 1979

    Originally published in 1979, the central focus of this study is the concept of culture as employed by English literary intellectuals over the preceding 100 years, a period characterized by a constant process of re-definition and change. The tradition of criticism in which these intellectuals wrote represented the artistic imagination as a moral force in society and a fundamental mechanism for social change. The author traces this tradition through the writings of various English intellectuals, using the three main figures of Matthew Arnold, F. R. Leavis and Raymond Williams to elucidate the concept. She shows, through the writings of their contemporaries, how the concept was employed and modified, and her analysis ranges from J. S. Mill, John Ruskin and William Morris, through George Bernard Shaw, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot and R. H. Tawney to Richard Hoggard, Richard Wollheim and R. S. Peters. By discussing the questions of the role of art in society and examining their treatment by different groups of intellectuals, the author has supplied a basis for a forceful critique of the quality of life in modern industrial society. This book will be of interest to students of literature, cultural history and the sociology of culture.

    1. Introduction: Intellectual and their Ideas 2. Matthew Arnold 3. Arnold’s Contemporaries 4. Entr’acte: 1890-1920 5. F. R. Leavis 6. Leavis’ Contemporaries 7. Raymond Williams 8. Williams’ Contemporaries 9. Conclusion: Cultural Studies


    Lesley Johnson AM FAHA is Professor Emeritus of both Griffith University and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. She was a Deputy Vice Chancellor for the last 14 years of her academic career. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities of which she was President for 3 years and on the Council for 8 years from 2010 to 2017. She was awarded an Order of Australia in 2010. She is considered a leading figure in cultural studies in Australia, a field in which she began working in 1973. Her research interests are in the field of the history of Australian cultural institutions and, currently in the history of the humanities in Australia.