White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The right words in the proper places: an investigation of the poetry of Tony Harrison, from text to TV.

Hair, Lindsey (1996) The right words in the proper places: an investigation of the poetry of Tony Harrison, from text to TV. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

[img] Text (484309.pdf)

Download (14Mb)


This thesis looks at the work of Tony Harrison: his poetry, "from The School of Eloquence", and "The Mother of the Muses", his theatre works, Yan Tan Tethera and Medea: A Sex-War Opera, and his televisual documentary-poems, "v.", The Blasphemers' Banquet, Loving Memory and Black Daisies for the Bride. I examine these works in the light of their incorporation and manipulation of 'external' voices and cultures: of his working-class Leeds background, discourse feminine, Muslim fundamentalists, literary 'blasphemers'. In later works, this technique is framed in terms of supplementing absences, first of voice, then of the human self-presence that voice figures: of the dead and the mentally non-present. I look specifically at how this representation of elements generally seen as impropre to the media he occupies on their part, as a public poet, enables the inserted material he appropriates from its pro pre milieu a platform from which to comment on its conventional, marginalised status. Conversely, I investigate how the gesture of representation takes Harrison's work further from the 'original' he is seeking to incorporate as in supplying their 'lack' he occupies their propre space, increasingly in effect removing them from the discourse. This double process, presented in terms of Derrida's ideas on supplementation and joining-as-separating, is seen to be effected by Harrison's manipulation of codes - oral/typographic, restricted/elaborated. His claimed philosophical positions, with regard to phallogocentric discourse versus 'discours feminine' and theocentric theatre versus theatre of cruelty, are interrogated. This brings in Lacanian-psychoanalytic notions of subjectivity, Harrison's and those of the real people he invaginates into his texts. His giving freedom to these unbounded forms and their propre occupants is seen as ultimately a reframing of governance, a re-drawing of boundaries, which in turn are overrun by the properly ungovernable properties of film/video, human subjects, and language itself.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Literature
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.484309
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2017 16:22
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2017 16:22
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14916

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)