Richard Hoggart Collection

Ref: Special Collection
Title: Richard Hoggart Collection

Scope: A collection of books from the personal library of Richard Hoggart, university teacher and professor of English literature and cultural studies, academic administrator, writer, broadcaster, literary critic, cultural analyst and international civil servant, whose work spanned the second half of the twentieth century and continued into the early years of the twenty-first.

Dates: 1718-2012
Extent: c230 vols.
Name of creators: Richard Hoggart

Administrative / biographical history:

Born in 1918 into a working-class family in Hunslet, Leeds, and orphaned at an early age, Herbert Richard Hoggart gained a scholarship to Cockburn High School and went on to study English at the University of Leeds where he gained a first-class degree and an M.A. Subsequently drafted into the army during the Second World War he served as an officer in North Africa and Italy, being discharged in 1946. The extensive biographical entry in Who's Who shows that during the active and varied career which followed, devoted to academic and public affairs, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Adult Education at the University of Hull, a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Leicester, and Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, which he founded, at the University of Birmingham, an Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and finally Warden of Goldsmiths´ College, University of London. But in addition to these mainstream roles he undertook a great many other prominent activities, largely in the public sphere, particularly in the fields of the arts, cultural matters, broadcasting and education. Amongst other positions he served as: a member of the Albemarle Committee on Youth Services, a member of the Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting, Reith Lecturer, Chairman of the Broadcasting Research Unit, Vice-Chairman of the Arts Council, Chairman of the Statesman and Nation Publishing Co., Chairman of the Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education and member of the British Board of Film Classification Appeals Committee. He published many books, articles and reviews, appeared in and contributed to numerous broadcasts and lectured extensively around the world. Amongst the many academic distinctions awarded to Richard Hoggart over his lifetime by universities in several countries was the Honorary LLD presented to him by the University of Sheffield in 1999. Richard Hoggart died on 10 April 2014.

Two notable examples of material in the collection may suffice to demonstrate its significance to the historical record of the cultural life of this country during much of the 20th century. Firstly, Richard Hoggart's best known, and probably most influential, book is The Uses of Literacy (1957). This analysis of traditional working-class life and culture, informed by his own upbringing, and the sense of dislocation experienced by working-class students aspiring to higher education as the process inevitably moves them out of their familiar social and cultural background, together with the growing threat to that culture posed by exploitative commercial interests, was extensively reviewed at the time of its publication and has since achieved the status of a `classic´ cultural studies text, remaining in print ever since. It is perhaps not well known that the original draft of the book was entitled `The Abuse of Literacy´, but for legal reasons this version had to be substantially revised for publication. Secondly, at the time of the Old Bailey trial of Penguin Books Ltd., prosecuted in 1960 for allegedly publishing an obscene libel - an unexpurgated edition of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover - it was widely acknowledged that Hoggart's evidence for the Defence was particularly effective in leading to the acquittal of Penguin Books, an event which may in retrospect be seen as marking a watershed in changing public perceptions of what is permissible in the portrayal of relationships between the sexes.

  • Related collections: Richard Hoggart Papers
  • Source: Donated by Richard Hoggart
  • System of arrangement: Numerical
  • Subjects: Adult education – Great Britain; Broadcasting – Great Britain; Education, Higher – Great Britain; Culture – Study and teaching; English literature – Study and teaching (Higher) – Great Britain; Mass media – Great Britain
  • Names: Hoggart, Richard, 1918-2014
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: None
  • Finding aids: Listed and catalogued, with a further donation in the process of being listed and catalogued