Richard Hoggart  

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Herbert Richard Hoggart (24 September 1918 – 10 April 2014) was a British academic whose career covered the fields of sociology, English literature and cultural studies, with emphasis on British popular culture. He is best-known for his book as The Uses of Literacy and for founding the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, which "set out to tackle the old British separation between high culture and "real" life[1].


Hoggart was born in the Potternewton area of Leeds, one of three children in an impoverished family. His father 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 was educated at a grammar school, Cockburn High School, and won a scholarship to study English at the University of Leeds. He served with the Royal Artillery during World War II and was demobilised as a Staff Captain.

He was a Staff Tutor at the University of Hull from 1946 to 1959, and published his first book, a study of W. H. Auden's poetry, in 1951. His major work, The Uses of Literacy, was published in 1957. 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.

He became Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Leicester from 1959 to 1962. Hoggart was an expert witness at the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960, and his argument that it was an essentially moral and "puritan" work, which merely repeated words he had heard on a building site on his way to the court, is sometimes viewed as having had a decisive influence on the outcome of the trial.

While Professor of English at Birmingham University between 1962 and 1973, he founded the institution's Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in 1964 and was its director until 1969. Hoggart was Assistant Director-General of UNESCO (1971–1975) and finally Warden of Goldsmiths, University of London (1976–1984), after which he retired from formal academic life. The 'Main Building' at Goldsmiths has now been renamed the 'Richard Hoggart Building' in tribute to his contributions to the college.

Hoggart was a member of numerous public bodies and committees, including the Albermarle Committee on Youth Services (1958–1960), the Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting (1960–1962), the Arts Council of Great Britain (1976–1981) and the Statesman and Nation Publishing Company Ltd (1977–1981). He was also Chairman of the Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education (1977–1983), and the Broadcasting Research Unit (1981–1991), as well as a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1962–1988).

In later works, such as The Way We Live Now (1995), he regretted the decline in moral authority that he held religion once provided and attacked contemporary education for its emphasis on the 'vocational' and 'cultural relativism' for its tendency to concentrate on the popular and meretricious.

One of his two sons was the late political journalist Simon Hoggart and the other is the television critic Paul Hoggart. He is also survived by a daughter, Nicola. In The Chatterley Affair, a 2006 dramatisation of the 1960 trial made for the digital television channel BBC Four, he was played by actor David Tennant.

In later life he suffered from dementia. Richard Hoggart died on 10 April 2014 at the age of 95.


  • Auden (Chatto, 1951) ISBN 0-7011-0762-6 biography of W. H. Auden.
  • The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working Class Life (Chatto and Windus, 1957) ISBN 0-7011-0763-4 .
  • Teaching Literature (Nat. Inst. of Adult Education, 1963) ISBN 0-900559-19-5.
  • Higher Education and Cultural Change: A Teacher's View (Earl Grey Memorial Lecture) (Univ.Newcastle, 1966) ISBN 0-900565-62-4.
  • Contemporary Cultural Studies: An Approach to the Study of Literature and Society (Univ. Birmingham, Centre for Contemp. Cult. Studies, 1969) ISBN 0-901753-03-3 paper is based on a lecture given to the annual conference of the American Association for Higher Education at Chicago on 20 March 1978.
  • Speaking to Each Other: About Society v. 1 (Chatto and Windus, 1970) ISBN 0-7011-1463-0.
  • Speaking to Each Other: About Literature v. 2 (Chatto and Windus, 1970) ISBN 0-7011-1514-9.
  • Only Connect: On Culture and Communication (Reith Lectures) (Chatto and Windus, 1972) ISBN 0-7011-1865-2.
  • After Expansion, a Time for Diversity: The Universities Into the 1990s (ACACE, 1978) ISBN 0-906436-00-1.
  • An Idea and Its Servants: UNESCO from Within (Chatto and Windus, 1978) ISBN 0-7011-2371-0.
  • An English Temper (Chatto and Windus, 1982) ISBN 0-7011-2581-0.
  • The Future of Broadcasting by Richard Hoggart, Janet Morgan (Holmes & Meier, 1982) ISBN 0-8419-5090-3 .
  • British Council and the Arts by Richard Hoggart et al. (British Council, 1986) ISBN 0-86355-048-7.
  • The Worst of Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression in Britain by Nigel Gray, Richard Hoggart (Barnes & Noble Imports, 1986) ISBN 0-389-20574-5.
  • An Idea of Europe (Chatto and Windus, 1987) ISBN 0-7011-3244-2).
  • A Local Habitation, 1918-40 (Chatto and Windus, 1988) ISBN 0-7011-3305-8.
  • Liberty and Legislation (Frank Cass Publishers, 1989) ISBN 0-7146-3308-9.
  • A Sort of Clowning: Life and Times, 1940-59 (Chatto and Windus, 1990) ISBN 0-7011-3607-3 first volume of Hoggart's "Life and Times" described his working-class childhood in Leeds.
  • An Imagined Life: Life and Times 1959-91 (Chatto and Windus, 1992) ISBN 0-7011-4015-1).
  • Townscape with Figures: Farnham - Portrait of an English Town (Chatto and Windus, 1994) ISBN 0-7011-6138-8.
  • A Measured Life: The Times and Places of an Orphaned Intellectual (Transaction Publishers, 1994) ISBN 1-56000-135-6.
  • The Way We Live Now: Dilemmas in Contemporary Culture (Chatto and Windus, 1995) ISBN 0-7011-6501-4 republished as The Tyranny of Relativism: Culture and Politics in Contemporary English Society (Transaction Publishers, 1997) ISBN 1-56000-953-5.
  • First and Last Things: The Uses of Old Age (Aurum Press, 1999) ISBN 1-85410-660-0.
  • Between Two Worlds: Essays, 1978-1999 (Aurum Press, 2001) ISBN 1-85410-782-8.
  • Between Two Worlds: Politics, Anti-Politics, and the Unpolitical (Transaction Publishers, 2002) ISBN 0-7658-0097-7.
  • Everyday Language and Everyday Life (Transaction Publishers, 2003) ISBN 0-7658-0176-0.
  • Mass Media in a Mass Society: Myth and Reality (Continuum International Publishing Group - Academi, 2004) ISBN 0-8264-7285-0.

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