Problems of society and mind in British cultural studies, 1919-61 : the early work of I A Richards and F R Leavis and Raymond Williams.
I trace the history of a particular and distinctive period in British cultural studies, one
which began in 1919 and ended in 1961. The chief dilemma which occupied cultural
theorists in Britain during this period was, what effect does "society" have upon the
human mind? and, then, what effect does this effect have upon "culture"?
I separate the period into three broad phases, with each of my three Parts focusing
upon the work of a particular theorist during a particular phase: in Part I, the 1919-29
phase and the work of I. A. Richards; in Part II, the 1928-33 phase and the work ofQ.D.
and F.R. Leavis; and, in Part ill, the 1948-61 phase and the work of Raymond Williams.
I concentrate primarily upon the early and theoretical work of each cultural theorist
because it was there that the society-mind dilemma was of particular intensity, and
because it was there that a new stage in thinking about the dilemma was initiated or
My methodology can be described as "intellectual biography". In each of my ten
chapters I carry out a detailed analysis of a particular text, looking at the similarities and
dissimilarities between that text and those that preceded or succeeded it. I then
investigate the intellectual and material circumstances which led a cultural theorist to
write that particular text at that particular moment.
My thesis is original in two ways. First, because it is the only account which looks at
the work of Richards, the Leavises and Williams together. Second, because it is the only
account which explains each theorist's work in the light of contemporary developments in
the science of mind.