Between Two Worlds: Essays, 1978-1999

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9781854107824: Between Two Worlds: Essays, 1978-1999
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Now in his 83rd year, Richard Hoggart continues to stand for a set of values which represent liberalism and enlightenment at their best. Though affronted by the educational, cultural and social policies of the 1980s and 90s which flowed from the belief that 'there is no such things as society' and that market forces should reign untrammelled, he remains equally unimpressed by the those on the left who would reject the legitimacy of democratic politics, historic institutions and literary culture. The essays in this book all the issues which have preoccupied Hoggart over his long and varied career: the role of culture in society, the pleasures of literature and its relevance to our everyday lives, the importance of education, and the ways in which culture, literature and education all influence, and are in turn affected by, politics. Thus, he asks whether museums are inevitably political institutions? Whether we should defend the right top publish 'even hateful stuff? If social workers have gone so far in identifying with the interests of their 'clients' that they have forgotten that they are employed to serve the interests of society as a whole? He mounts a passionate defence of the concept of public service broadcasting, expalins why he believes that academics can and should have a have a role in public debate, and sets out his concept of the proper role of the university in a free society. He celebrates the 'very English voice' of D.H. Lawrence - and gives a vivid account of his own role in the Lady Chatterley trial. All these topics, and many others, are discussed in essays which, while never bland, are always fair and reasoned, permeated by the author's firm adherence to common sense rather than ideology, and leavened by his dry wit. The tone changes in the last section of the book, which is devoted to an evocative account of Hoggart's upbringing as an orphan in working-class Leeds which he calls 'Memoir for our Grandchildren', and vivid and touching portraits of the members of his extended family in that long-vanished world.

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About the Author:

Richard Hoggart's distinguished career has involved him in many roles. Founder of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University, where he was largely responsible, with Raymond Williams, for legitimising the study of popular culture and what is now known as media studies: Assistant Director General of UNESCO, Warden of Goldsmith's College, London; Member of the Arts Council and of the Pilkington Committee on the Future of Broadcasting and much else. His many books include the seminal The Uses of Literacy, a three-volume autobiography and, most recently. First and Last Things which is reissued in paperback to coincide with the publication of this book.

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