Richard Hoggart has been, perhaps, the best-known, and certainly the most affectionately acknowledged, British intellectual of the past sixty years. His great classic, The Uses of Literacy, provided for thousands of unsung working-class readers a wholly recognisable and tender account of their own coming-to-maturity and of the preciousness and the hardships of the life of the poor in pre-World War II Britain.
But he was far more than narrator of a neglected class. Hoggart was also a public figure of extraordinary energy and eminence. He dominated the single most important Royal Commission on broadcasting, and single-handedly he is remembered as clinching for the defence the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, after which he became a leading officer and defender of the international agency protecting the culture of the very world, UNESCO.
This is the first biography of this amazing man. It seeks to tie together in a single narrative life and work, to settle Hoggart in the great happiness of a fulfilled family life and in the astonishing achievements of his public and professional career, considering each of his books in detail, and following him through the long and hard labours of his different public and academic offices.
Fred Inglis tells this gripping tale of a figure of great significance to anyone who cherishes the stuff of culture, and tells it vividly and directly. It is a tale of a good man with which to edify the present, and to teach us of all that now threatens our best national (and international) forms of expression: our art, our culture, ourselves.