Cardus, Celebrant of Beauty

From The Telegraph:

Cardus_main_1457908f Neville Cardus was one of the most remarkable Englishmen of the 20th century. Born in Manchester in 1888 and raised in genteel poverty by his mother and aunt, who belonged to the oldest profession, he had achieved an international reputation as a writer on music and cricket by the time he died, a knight of the realm, in February 1975.

His autobiography, published in 1947, is one of the outstanding memoirs of English letters, and should perhaps be included on school reading lists, to remind the modern generation of how much we have lost. For this “uneducated boy in an illiterate home”, as Cardus called himself, enjoyed a life so rich that it seems sinful not to pass on its fruits. Christopher Brookes wrote a fine biography, His Own Man, in 1986. Now comes this book by Robin Daniels, which is ostensibly a memoir, but which really attempts to place Cardus in a critical context. It is all here: the familiar tale of the self-taught adolescent, who immersed himself in books and music, absorbed Walter Pater and Bernard Shaw, and did all sorts of jobs before he found a university at the old Manchester Guardian, whose high-minded editor, C P Scott, said of the paper’s readers: “Let them educate themselves up to us.”

More here.