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Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) is today often cited as one of the founding texts of the literary and cultural theory of postcolonialism. (For a survey and anthology fore-grounding Orientalism see Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, eds., Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory, 1994, and Michael Sprinker, ed., Edward Said: A Critical Reader, 1992.) Orientalism is in at least this way like Raymond Williams's Culture and Society (1958), often cited as one of the founding texts of the cultural studies movement. But in Culture and Imperialism, Said has written a book that seems less like an advance beyond Orientalism than a remembrance of things past, and especially a remembrance of Culture and Society. Said acknowledges that he has aimed to fill in a blank in Williams's work-a blank named "imperialism."
Except for a few passages in The Country and the City and Orwell Williams had little to say about the consolidation of the United Kingdom" or about Britain's imperializing role in the world. His conception of the links between culture and society that he sought to analyze in all of his works thus involved an unconscious Little Englandism rather than the internationalism characteristic of Marxism (perhaps Williams should be described as a democratic socialist, though after 1958 he called himself a Marxist).
In recounting its origins, including the first Raymond Williams Memorial Lecture that …