Journal Article

<i>The Abuse of Literacy</i> and the Feeling Heart: The Trials of Richard Hoggart

Sue Owen

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 34, issue 2, pages 147-176
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI:
The Abuse of Literacy and the Feeling Heart: The Trials of Richard Hoggart

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Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957) was a seminal text of the mid twentieth century, helping lay the foundations for what was to become cultural studies. The author of this article has had unprecedented access to the typescript of The Abuse of Literacy (as it was originally called) and to the correspondence with lawyers throughout 1955. The article contains a detailed account of the changes Hoggart made in response to legal objections before the book was finally published. This is a study of an important text that also tells us something important about the climate of the 1950s. Hoggart turned an adverse situation to his own advantage: his alterations were forced upon him, but he carried them out in such a way as to strengthen his argument about the banality and cynical commercialism of so-called popular culture. His critique is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s.

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Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

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