Early life[ edit ] Hoggart was born in the Potternewton area of Leeds , one of three children in an impoverished family. His father, a soldier, died when Hoggart was a year old, and his mother died when he was eight. He grew up with his grandmother in Hunslet , and was encouraged in his education by an aunt. He gained a place at Cockburn High School which was a grammar school , after his headmaster requested that the education authority reread his scholarship examination essay. His major work, The Uses of Literacy , was published in Partly autobiography, the volume was interpreted as lamenting the loss of an authentic working class popular culture in Britain, and denouncing the imposition of a mass culture through advertising, media and Americanisation.

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Over the dark door on the gable-end a skull was nailed fast, showing its teeth and seeming to invite entry with its grin. Like a jewel in its chain, it was the central link of a narrow gable frieze which appeared to be formed of brown spiders.

Suddenly we guessed that it was fashioned of human hands fastened to the wall. So clearly did we see this that we picked out the little peg driven through the palm of each one. But you would wonder. Portals can admit bodies and minds into Secret Gardens or Houses of Pain. On a summer evening in deserted downtown Manhattan, a door admitted us, one by one, into a dim interior where King Pentheus, in Dionysus in , would be torn apart fictively by literally naked maenads.

Next day, his body is found down below a door in the hoarding surrounding an excavation. The 19th century was haunted by the dark continent of Sade.

Her eyes were nearly lost in circles of puffy fat with red rings around them. Her cheeks were cracked in lines were powder had stuck on and gone dirty. Her stockings were rolled down to her knees, and her knees were white like uncooked pastry. She wore an old purple lace dress, tight and bulgy round her sack-like body.

Her hams were like hams going blue and bad. He tossed away the butt of his cigarette and went over to where Molony was fastened to the centre-post. Lefty went up to Molony, and carefully showed him the knife, then he let him see it placed against his stomach. Then Lefty pressed gently but firmly like a butcher going into meat.

Lefty sniggered then, pulled out the knife and wiped it very carefully. The girl felt herself retching with horror as the waves of panic and pain succeeded each other. As her almost naked breasts rose and fell, Lefty, from near the stove, watched out of the corner of his eyes and every so often spat deliberately into the embers.

After a while the red waves of pain began to overwhelm her, but just before she went under she saw him get up with a new and horrible look in his eyes … She began giving little agonised gurgling sounds and her legs twitched in spasms. These are novels of violent sex, in which sex seems to be regarded as thrilling only when it is sadistic.

But as I explain elsewhere, there are grounds for supposing that the two-hundred-odd Jungle books in my possession are reasonably representative. See Notes. We thrill to those in themselves; there is no way out, nothing else; there is no horizon and no sky. With all of it coming from elsewhere. And intellection is mere wheel-spinning word-games or empty professionalism.

Which is to say, antidotes to the very impoverishment that he himself ah, the lone heroic Northern voice! Hornung about gentleman-thief A. Kells relaxed his grip on Rose and Rose stood up. His face was dark and composed and he was breathing hard.

He kicked Kells very carefully, drawing his foot back and aiming, and then kicking very accurately and hard. Please notice the sinister change that has come over an important sub-department of English fiction. There was, God knows, enough physical brutality in the novels of Fielding, Meredith, Charles Reade, etc, but our masters then were still at least our countrymen In the old-style English novel you knocked your man down and then chivalrously waited for him to get up before knocking him down again.

In the modern American version he is no sooner down than you take the opportunity of jumping on his face X As I say in Found Pages: No Orchids is a novel with no Hardyesque coincidences and no hints of Fate or any other determinism at work, either pro or con.

Orwell considered this Fascism. Cain variety. Nor, Orwell to the contrary, are the characters simply seeking power over others. But despite their intensity, and their contributions to the atmosphere of anxiety, such incidents take up very little space.

For the most part the killings are practical and non-sadistic—eliminating inconvenient witnesses, escaping from cops. The police and the F. What ought they to have been reading? Whatever the modern American scene may really be like, the world of the American novelist is a chaos, moral as well as physical.

There is no emotional depth. Everything is permitted, and therefore nothing matters. The reason is simply that they are free human beings. Plus, surely, a recognition that the war, after the glory days of El Alamein and the Desert Rats, and with too many British troops bogged down unromantically in Italy, was becoming an American one, at least on the ground. Fairbairn emphasized the necessity of forgetting any idea of gentlemanly conduct or fighting fair.

There is nothing about fair play in his notes ca XII, As to war, you cannot at present avoid it, nor can you genuinely humanise it. You can only, like the pacifist, set up a moral alibi for yourself while continuing to accept the fruits of violence. And that, needing an antithesis about realpolitik and Machiavellian power-seeking, he turned to No Orchids and got it wrong.

Since the war the ships have been ballasted with something more useful, probably gravel. At that time an obvious candidate would have been Black Mask, but maybe he was into air-aces and pugilists?

It was not a Fascist novel, as Orwell claimed. It was a novel against Fascism. Lawrence knew when in he and Freda shook its dust from their feet. Germany, the most socially progressive country in the later nineteenth-century, had become hopelessly compromised by its militarists.

X, 80And from America, cock-a-hoop with Belleau Wood, and having settled the conflict Over There between the exhausted contenders, and imposed Peace afterwards, and now unequivocally a world player and number-one example of success, came the celebration of unfettered he-man capitalism and consumerism, and the promise of endless ongoing progress and pleasure.

Orwell comments somewhere that a hedonistic take on life was dominant until the coming of Hitler. Standing in the railway carriage [Morris] constituted what a catholic taste might term a fine figure of a man—big and burly in his big overcoat, with plenty of colour in his dark, rather fleshy cheeks.

His large nose was a little hooked; his thick lips were red and mobile; his dark eyes were intelligent but sly. The force of his personality was indubitable, he was clearly a man of energy and courage.

Morris, seething with energies and ambition denied outlet, and assisted by weak young Reddy and the tougher Oldroyd, shoots the trouble-maker in his garden on Guy Fawkes Night, after which he is promoted to his position, rises in the firm, increases its efficiency, comes up with a brilliant advertising scheme, displays qualities which some might consider those of a great general, and sees the future opening up before him.

And very different from the Hitchcockian paralysis of bank-clerk William Marble in Payment Deferred, unable with that corpse buried in his garden to enjoy the fruits of his crime.

When you give me the green I pass; when you snap the red I stop. I know where I am with you. But there is only one way of running my racket and that is the way I go, eh?

If one man is bumped off, or two men are umped off, what does it matter? Are they innocent? Are they citizens? Tell me! They are hoodlums, murderers, bombers. Hold-up men, vice men, everything! What does it cost to hang them in the state of Illinois? Fifty grand! We save the State six million dollars—six cartridges for sixty cents, eh? Outside the State Legislature there should be a statue to gangsters. We are benefactors—if you like, vermin that prey on vermin.

It is unanswerable! XIX, 95Not to mention that he and his competitors were businessmen providing large numbers of people with products denied them by blue-nosed, rural-based, anti-Catholic Protestant reformists.

And the only possible offensive movement, he declared, was dynamic expansion. They could not stand competition, and the one way to overcome it was to stifle it in the roar of machine guns and to proclaim to expiring racketeers the dominance of their own position.

He was one of the first examples of a type of crook that was still new and strange to England, a type that founded itself on the American hoodlum, educated in movie theatres and polished on the raw underworld fiction imported by F. Woolworth—a type that was breaking into the placid and gentlemanly paths of old-world crime as surely and ruthlessly as Fate.

In a few years more his type was no longer to seem strange and foreign, but in those days he was an innovation, respected and feared by his satellites. He had learned to imitate the Transatlantic callousness and pugnacity so well that he was no longer conscious of playing a part.

Part Two, ch. International politics were something else. This is the tempest long foretold— Slow to make head but sure to hold. And there was the self-protective belief of the governing class that Hitler was really OK, and just a normal politician cleverly role-playing in his angers and tirades. In , Victor Gollancz published The Brown Book of the Hitler Terror and the Burning of the Reichstag, with a foreword by Lord Marley, Chairman of the World Committee for the Victims of Fascism, in which every kind of atrocious act by the newly in power National Socialists was documented with more eye-witness and first-hand accounts than one would normally choose to read.

The man with the truncheon made a show of hitting the mechanic across the knee with it. I understood. A blow on the knee-cap is bad enough at the best of times. When that blow is dealt with a rubber truncheon the pain is unbearable. Moreover, the knee-cap does not numb as easily as other parts of the body, so that repetitions of the blow will intensify the agony.


Richard Hoggart

Share via Email Richard Hoggart. Photograph: Eamonn Mccabe for the Guardian Your obituary of Richard Hoggart 10 April remarked on his decision to become warden of Goldsmiths College that "As a close to a career, it was a diminuendo". This is to misunderstand both the man and the place. Some people make a point of moving to the most prestigious institution that makes them an offer in the expectation its grandeur will rub off on them. Others improve and expand the place they are in to make it match their ambitions.


The late, great Richard Hoggart


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