A fascinating discussion with iconic British philosopher, author, and poet Nicholas Hagger on Unity and Universalism. We also talk about his metaphysical awakening in Japan and so much more.
Nicholas Hagger was born in London in 1939 and moved to the Epping-Forest area in 1943. He was educated at Oaklands School, Loughton; Chigwell School, Essex, where he read classics; and Worcester College, Oxford, England where he read English Literature under Christopher Ricks and absorbed European literature.
He married and spent the 1960s lecturing at universities abroad. In quest of the wisdom, religions, art, literature and history of the Near and Far East, sponsored by the British Council, he lectured in English Literature at the University of Baghdad, Iraq (1961–1962); and at Tokyo University of Education, Keio University and Tokyo University, Japan (1963–1967), where he was a professor and wrote many of his early poems. He also served the Japanese imperial family as tutor to Prince Hitachi, Emperor Hirohito’s second son, was English adviser and speech-writer for the Governor of the Bank of Japan and worked in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It was among the Zen temples of Japan that he first experienced the metaphysical Light (or Fire) that was to inspire his later work.
During a short spell in publishing (1984–1986) he set up the short-lived Oak-Tree Books, which brought out titles that stood up to figures bent on destroying the West. (His Scargill the Stalinist?, which came out at the height of the British miners’ strike, was greeted by a first leader in The Times.) He then concentrated on his own writings for established publishers.
From the late 1980s he operated as a writer. He traveled throughout Europe and, drawing on his earlier research, between 1991 and 1999 he had 18 books published.
He had four casts of Globe Theatre actors to stay and rehearse in Otley Hall’s Tudor setting. At this time his literary secretary was Charles Beauclerk (formerly The Earl of Burford). He was asked to house the Shakespearean Authorship Trust library, and became a Trustee and Secretary of the S.A.T. under the chairmanship of British actor Mark Rylance (1997–2005). Having considered the alternatives, he became convinced that Shakespeare of Stratford wrote Shakespeare’s works, and resigned. He sold Otley Hall in 2004 to concentrate on his writing in the Epping-Forest area. Since 2004 he has had a further 37 books published, making a total of 55.
He has traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle and Far East, and he has known a number of now deceased literary authors, such as: E.W.F. Tomlin (a friend of T.S. Eliot and philosopher, his boss in Japan); Frank Tuohy (novelist and short-story writer); Edmund Blunden (poet of the First World War); Ezra Pound (who gave advice on his first poetic epic in Rapallo in 1970); Laurens van der Post (travel writer and novelist who admired his intellectual passion); Iris Murdoch (novelist who wrote him several letters); and Ted Hughes (then Poet Laureate who corresponded with him from 1993 until his death and praised the narrative vitality of his first epic poem).
He was awarded the Gusi Peace Prize 2016 for Literature and received it in Manila on 23 November 2016. He was awarded the BRICS silver medal for ‘Vision for Future’ in Moscow in 2019.
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