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New Left Review I/180, March-April 1990


Edward W. Said

Narrative, Geography and Interpretation

Whenever a great intellectual and moral presence like Raymond Williams suddenly disappears from his habitual place among us it is natural at first to restore him by various ceremonies and activites of commemoration. [*] This article is the text of the Raymond Williams Memorial Lecture, delivered in London on 10 October 1989. The sense of loss and bereavement that was felt immediately after Williams’s death in 1988 has been an instigation not only for public observances of grief and respect but also for our many private acts of recollection and retrospective admiration. I knew him mainly from his immensely grand but directly appealing oeuvre. Certainly the handful of times that I had met him came to mind with all sorts of poignant emphases as, along with many others, I reconstructed from our intermittent meetings the vital personality of his engaging and thoughtful human presence. He was someone many of us listened to—the sound patterns of his direct communication to audiences as speaker, conversationalist and lecturer are discernible in everything he wrote—and from whom all of us quite literally learned a great deal of what is important about modern Western culture.

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