First and Last Things

First and Last Things

by Richard Hoggart
     
 

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Part meditation, part commonplace book, First and Last Things is an attempt by a writer of great distinction and strong convictions to take stock of his beliefs and values. Here, Richard Hoggart considers the big questions without shortchanging readers with easy answers. He examines problems (as he sees them) of faith; the mysterious origins of conscience;

Overview

Part meditation, part commonplace book, First and Last Things is an attempt by a writer of great distinction and strong convictions to take stock of his beliefs and values. Here, Richard Hoggart considers the big questions without shortchanging readers with easy answers. He examines problems (as he sees them) of faith; the mysterious origins of conscience; the importance of family and friends; the value of literature; the nature of memory; and the need, in old age, to find some value in existence. To these issues, and many others, the author brings a lifetime of rich experience and a mind well stocked with the best that has been written by those who have gone before.

What emerges above all in this work is Richard Hoggart's love of, almost obsession with, quotations from great authors, especially, of course, Shakespeare. He muses on the business of capitalism and democracy, noting a reluctant conclusion that democracy is the least worst form of government, and that capitalism is its inevitable partner, but one which democratic societies should treat with "a very long spoon." He argues that market and consumer driven societies are inevitably led to relativism, head-counting, and populism. The result is a book that is introspective without being self-absorbed, that is thought-provoking but never preaching, that is, profound without being portentous. First and Last Things is a work that the young should read, if only to discover how much there is still to understand, and one that the old will treasure.

Richard Hoggart was educated at Leeds University. Later, as professor of modern English literature at Birmingham University, he founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. He has authored or edited twenty-seven books, including Between Two Worlds: Politics, Anti-Politics, and the Unpolitical, The Uses of Literacy, and The Tyranny of Relativism, all available from Transaction.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Anecdotal, eccentric but wholly enchanting and wise.... [A] lovely book by a lovely man."

—Bernard Crick, Independent

"Profound, funny, modest and necessary."

—Philip Oakes, Times Literary Supplement

"An excellent writer.... essentially timeless."

—John Gross, Sunday Telegraph

"The perfect elegiac postscript... not only arresting but original."

—Anthony Howard, Sunday Times

Booknews
As professor of modern English literature at Birmingham University (UK), Richard Hoggart founded the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies. In this text, originally published in 1999, Hoggart draws upon a lifetime of scholarship while examining a number of life's "big questions." Topics include, for example, the origins of conscience, the nature of memory, the relationship between capitalism and democracy, and the five senses. The volume is not indexed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765809391
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/2002
Pages:
234
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet the Author

Richard Hoggart, as professor of modern English literature at Birmingham University, founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. He has authored or edited over twenty-five books, including Between Two Worlds: Politics, Anti-Politics, and the Unpolitical, The Uses of Literacy, and The Tyranny of Relativism, all available from Transaction.

Richard Hoggart, as professor of modern English literature at Birmingham University, founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. He has authored or edited over twenty-five books, including Between Two Worlds: Politics, Anti-Politics, and the Unpolitical, The Uses of Literacy, and The Tyranny of Relativism, all available from Transaction.

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