32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Prescient and Timeless,
This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is a classic text that is written with a certain charm and modesty and is eminently readable. It evokes, for the present day reader,the atmosphere of the post-war years and the rapid changes that were taking place in popular culture and social attitudes. These changes heralded the cultural tidal wave of the 1960's, but what makes Hoggart so prescient and timeless is that when reading his cautions and doubts now, more than 50 years later, it is plain to see that his fears were well grounded. For example, when he writes:
"Most mass-entertainments are in the end what D.H.Lawrence described as "anti-life". They are full of corrupt brightness, of improper appeals and moral evasions...progress is conceived as a seeking of material possessions, equality as a moral levelling, and freedom as the ground for endless irresponsible pleasure...nothing which can really grip the brain or heart."
it seems to be the present day rather than the 1950's that he is writing about, and he clearly foresees a uniform public culture, devoid of discernment or criticism, in which those who accuse it of being empty and valueless are mocked and ridiculed.
"The Uses of Literacy" is an important and stimulating book that provides valuable insight into the journey from the 1950's to the cultural malaise of the present day.
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Initial post: 30 Mar 2015 14:47:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2015 15:20:35 BDT
Prescient? The continuing saga of class in Britain, like race in America, is contested terrain, but Hoggart muddied it. By pandering to working class 'values' as he conceived them, by fostering cultural relativity, he helped bring about what he feared; for the rest he was just an old fossil. See, if you're so inclined, my two star review
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