Taking inspiration from classic authors from Jane Austen to Thomas Hardy, Williams shines a light on our society's changing views of the rural and industrial landscapes in which we work and live.
Our collective notion of the city and country is irresistibly powerful. The city as the seat of enlightenment, sophistication, power and greed is in profound contrast with an innocent, peaceful, backward countryside. Examining literature since the sixteenth century, Williams traces the development of our conceptions of these two traditional poles of life. His groundbreaking study casts the country and city as central symbols for the social and economic changes associated with capitalist development.