The outstanding quality of Richard Hoggart's new book is its charm. In the style of Montalgne, Hoggart looks back over his years and pinpoints those human qualities which have come to mean most to him and which he has appreciated in others. Part of this man's charm derives from the fact that like most truly great men he is also extremely self-effacing. Literacy and the use of language remain an abiding concern of Professor Hoggart but he also analyses in these pages the nature of human courage, the uses of memory, the true purposes of education, love and charity, and the approach of the Grim Reaper. Throughout, Hoggart considers the public ideas and events which have interested him, and their intertwinings with his personal life. Examples would be- the family, politics, the intellectual life, beliefs and morals, words and writing. All of these are looked at through what the author describes as his 'time telescope'. Thus this book is not a theoretical or abstract record. Its argument is illustrated from life. We live in the age of the cult of youth and personality. Our lives are increasingly driven and influenced by The Media.
But in these pages is contained the wisdom of one of the most astute and perceptive of our contemporary critics - a literary, social and cultural judge who is also very greatly loved by his admirers.
Table of Contents
1. Realising that Old Age Approaches; 2. Great and Terrible Happenings; 3. Family Matters; 4. Uncertainties and After; 5. Introduction to Intellectual Life; 6. Self Love, Belief, Morals; 7. Words and Writing; 8. Memory; 9. Among Thoughts of Death
Richard Hoggart now lives in retirement. His book The Uses of Literacy was and remains a seminal text. He is the father of the influential journalist Simon Hoggart. Last year Continuum published his Mass Media in a Mass Society.