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This report is taken from PN Review 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

A Search for Order Nicolas Tredell
Richard Hoggart died on 10 April 2014 at the age of 95, after some years of ill health. His best-known book was The Uses of Literacy (1957), a pioneering study of an integrated working-class culture that was already disappearing. But he produced many other books, most notably three vivid volumes of autobiography. In the first of these, A Local Habitation, he identified his three main focuses in the late 1930s as ‘politics, documentary and poetry’. These remained key concerns throughout his life. In a 1993 interview in PNR 93, he defined his socialism as ‘based on the sense that we belong to one another’, recalled the origins of his own documentary writing, and affirmed that he had ‘always thought that poetry is the queen of the literary arts’.

Hoggart was born on 24 September 1918 in Potternewton in the Chapeltown district of Leeds in Yorkshire. He was the second of three children in a poverty-stricken family. His father, a housepainter and a Boer War and World War I veteran, died of brucellosis when his younger son was one. At the age of eight, Hoggart came home to find his mother lying dead on the rag rug. His widowed grandmother in Hunslet then brought him up, and his Aunt Ethel encouraged his progress at school. He won a scholarship to Cockburn High School and another to Leeds University, where he got a first in English. At university, he met his future wife, Mary, and they would marry in 1942 and have three children: Nicola; Paul, a TV critic; and Simon, the ...

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