By Jacques Barzun
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Extra info for Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction to the Age of Romanticism
13 In this way, I seek to continue a tradition of intellectual interest first evident in formative debates of cultural studies, and insufficiently developed since. 14 The British New Left were interested in the reasons why working-class voters preferred conservative governments. The writers’ fascination with the conceptual and Communicating Investment 23 political consequences of greater social wealth – which they encapsulated in the term embourgeoisment – was a fear of the unknown: What parameters would influence political expression outside values of class?
The attitude is also reified in the working-class aphorisms Hoggart cites throughout the book, such as ‘There’s no place like home’ (1958: 33). An obligation to family comes before class, but the two are intimately intertwined. In these descriptions of family, Hoggart’s discourse of empathy gains momentum. He uses family as a way to frame the major social changes occurring after the war, making complex generational processes appreciable in terms of their effects on everyday human relations. Looking closely at the extended passage above, notice that the family bond underpins the difficulty of being ‘alone’ in Hoggart’s living room.
And that’s why it’s fair to say that The Uses of Literacy was written back to front in that I started to write a textbook and then decided to write a description of the culture that became the first part of the book. (Hoggart in Corner, 1991: 140) Activating Empathy 37 Part I provides a textured exposition of the lifestyle often assumed of the working class in other discourses. Hoggart creates a landscape of urban density imbued with poverty, a highly populated, cramped environment where people’s practices of resilience serve to make the extremes of their circumstances more palatable.
Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction to the Age of Romanticism by Jacques Barzun