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The Tell-Tale Trolley

Stefan Collini, 8 September 1994

Townscape with Figures: Farnham, Portrait of an English Town 
by Richard Hoggart.
Chatto, 205 pp., £16.99, June 1994, 0 7011 6138 8
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... Walking along the main street of Farnham one afternoon, Richard Hoggart was accosted by a drunk. He didn’t ask for money or spit ill-focused abuse. ‘I know who you are,’ he slurred, ‘and I’ve got one question for you. Who’s the better writer, you or Raymond Williams?’ Reading this, I found I was disappointed that the level of literary criticism among Farnham’s drunks was so low ...

Whose Candyfloss?

Christopher Hilliard: Richard Hoggart, 16 April 2014

Richard HoggartVirtue and Reward 
by Fred Inglis.
Polity, 259 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 7456 5171 2
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... Richard Hoggart​ made much in his writings of the scholarship child’s uprootedness and anxiety, but his own dislocation had its limits. Although he went from a primary school in a poor part of Leeds to grammar school and on to university, Hoggart never really made what the novelist Storm Jameson, a generation ahead of him at the University of Leeds, called the ‘journey from the North ...

Kinsfolk

D.A.N. Jones, 12 July 1990

A Sort of Clowning: Life and Times, 1940-59 
by Richard Hoggart.
Chatto, 225 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 7011 3607 3
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Tilting at Don Quixote 
by Nicholas Wollaston.
Deutsch, 314 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 233 98551 4
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Finger Lickin’ Good: A Kentucky Childhood 
by Paul Levy.
Chatto, 202 pp., £13.95, May 1990, 0 7011 3521 2
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How Many Miles to Babylon? 
by Adewale Maja-Pearce.
Heinemann, 154 pp., £13.95, June 1990, 0 434 44172 4
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... of escape’ – escape from society. Finally (and to be taken foremost) is A Sort of Clowning by Richard Hoggart, perhaps the most usefully class-conscious English writer of our time. He created an accepted general idea of the British ‘working class’ in 1957, with The Uses of Literacy. He developed his concept, most recently, in his memoir, A Local ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian Stokes, Tony Crosland – as he calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P. Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take this one as any other, though it’s hard to do any ...

Our Sort and Their Sort

Ralf Dahrendorf, 20 December 1979

Class 
by Jilly Cooper.
Eyre Methuen, 283 pp., £4.95
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... class is amusing, Jilly Cooper has not let her subject down. She quotes the Registrar General and Richard Hoggart and Michael Young, while writing in a manner that falls somewhere between Nancy Mitford and a Daily Mail column. Her characters are fun, her observations acute, and since she does not try her hand at analysis, it is hard to fault her. Yet the ...

Watercress

Patrick Parrinder, 20 August 1992

Past Tenses: Essays on Writing, Autobiography and History 
by Carolyn Steedman.
Rivers Oram, 224 pp., £22, June 1992, 1 85489 021 2
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... to challenge the sentimental and moralistic pictures of working-class community associated with Richard Hoggart, Jeremy Seabrook and Steedman’s particular mentor, Raymond Williams. The childhood Steedman described was not cosy and hospitable but lonely, introverted and largely joyless. Her mother, a Lancashire weaver’s daughter, had fought against ...

Strait is the gate

Frank Kermode, 2 June 1988

Gorbals Boy at Oxford 
by Ralph Glasser.
Chatto, 184 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3185 3
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... different from that of one’s childhood: the familiar story was successfully told by Richard Hoggart thirty years ago, and it was a recurring topic of Raymond Williams’s. But their tales of privation, upward mobility and cultural contrast were very mild compared with Glasser’s. The poverty from which he emerged was far more disastrous ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... the respect for working-class values which he associates with the work of Williams, Young and Richard Hoggart, and before that of D.H. Lawrence, and which would appear here to have followed on a spell of postwar indifference. The working class is thought by these writers to be marked by a power of sympathy, of closeness and attachment, which makes ...

Wall in the Head

Carolyn Steedman: On Respectability, 27 July 2016

Respectable: The Experience of Class 
by Lynsey Hanley.
Allen Lane, 240 pp., £16.99, April 2016, 978 1 84614 206 2
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... for this one. On both Hanley is accompanied by some very nice men. I’d love to meet her mate Richard, first introduced in Estates. At Solihull College they were ‘the much-talked-about, little practised coming together of north Solihull and south Solihull, a clash of the provincial titans to match Adrian Mole and Pandora’, without the romance. In and ...

Dignity and Impudence

Oliver Whitley, 6 October 1983

A Variety of Lives: A Biography of Sir Hugh Greene 
by Michael Tracey.
Bodley Head, 344 pp., £15, September 1983, 0 370 30026 2
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... Sir Arthur fforde, whereas it or ginated in the Pilkington Committee’s report and was drafted by Richard Hoggart, then a member of the committee. The phrase ‘the political establishment’ is used several times. It seems to me portentous and vague. I suspect that if it had to be defined, it would fall out of use. The whole political establishment is ...

Gosh oh gee

Alan Allport: ‘Being Boys’, 21 November 2013

Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Interwar Years 
by Melanie Tebbutt.
Manchester, 352 pp., £75, February 2012, 978 0 7190 6613 9
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... only by way of nostalgic contrast to the ‘materialist’ 1950s. In The Uses of Literacy (1957), Richard Hoggart inveighed against the shallow Americanised world of the 1950s teenager, comparing London’s ‘harshly lighted milk bars’ to the communitarianism of prewar Leeds as he remembered it from his childhood. ...

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini, 13 August 2020

... the water supply in 1955, the year when the book began to write itself. It was in that year that Richard Hoggart completed The Uses of Literacy, though thanks to the tribulations of libel law it wasn’t published until 1957; that Ian Watt was giving final form to the book that became The Rise of the Novel, again published in 1957; and that Raymond ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... Cambridge. On parade (on King’s Parade in fact) just after ten, where the calming presence of Richard Lloyd Morgan, the chaplain of King’s, waits to shepherd me to the Senior Common Room. It’s already crowded with dons, some, since it’s the university sermon, presumably heads of houses.* I manage to avoid a chat by settling into a corner to con my ...

Hating dogs

Julian Barnes, 17 September 1981

Words on the Air 
by John Sparrow.
Collins, 163 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 00 216876 6
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... does he think? He must have an opinion. If forced to side with either Mervyn Griffith-Jones or Richard Hoggart, which of them would he pick? However, Mr Sparrow has long since folded his tent and slipped away. That familiar sound of canvas being taken down is heard in many of his independent and controversial essays. ‘I do not suggest what the ...

Punk-U-Like

Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... outré authorities on pop music (such as Joe Orton) and a few anti-pop pieces (by Paul Johnson and Richard Hoggart, among others). Liveliest and most useful are the contemporary reports documenting specific occasions: Elvis Presley recording ‘Hound Dog’, Decca turning down the Beatles, the Rolling Stones at Altamont, the Osmonds at the Rainbow ...

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