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The outstanding quality of Richard Hoggart's new book is its warmth. In the style of Montaigne, 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 attraction derives from the fact that 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 t 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.
Richard Hoggart is a distinguished cultural critic and author of The Uses of Literacy, his most celebrated book. Formerly Professor of English at Birmingham he has sat on many government advisory committees and was Chairman of the National Book League.