Exit Viewer

The Rimbaud of Leeds: The Political Character of Tony Harrison’s Poetry By Christine ...

Chapter 1:  Out of the North
image Next
The Rimbaud of Leeds:

Chapter 1

Out of the North

This is a contextual study of the politics of Tony Harrison’s (1937–) imaginative works. It offers a reassessment of the poet’s political character, identifying a radical republicanism and humanism which encompasses an anti-colonial poetic. It shows that an identification with John Milton (1608–1674) lies at the heart of Harrison’s republicanism, and it illuminates the haunting presence of Arthur Rimbaud (1854–1891) in his poetry. The book is based primarily on an examination of Harrison’s major original poetry that appears in The Loiners (1970), the ongoing sonnet sequence The School of Eloquence (1978–), and the separately published v. (1985), while seeing this work within the context of his complete oeuvre. Reference is made to other poems and dramatic works where germane, and to Harrison’s account of his work in interviews and prefaces. The book draws upon newly available manuscripts and archival material. The study largely excludes his “imitations” of Palladas and Martial and his dramatic poetry as these deserve separate study. The new level of attention accorded to Harrison’s life in Africa in the 1960s, drawing upon his letters home for the first time, and to Loiners, substantially the poetic product of these years, enables a new understanding of what are enduring definitive features of Harrison’s work.