Counter Class and Counter Identity: Confrontations of Power in Tony Harrison's Poetry

Keywords: Tony Harrison, Cultural Studies, On Not Being Milton, Them & [uz], Imperialising Power


Tony Harrison is a contemporary British author whose poetry is highly influential in encountering the issue of identity and class struggles. As a working-class student, Harrison was subject to prejudice and discrimination for his working-class accent. This paper investigates two of his highly admired poems, “On Not Being Milton” and “Them & uz” from a cultural standpoint, mainly concentrated on John Fiske’s theory of power and language. The role of language in the context of his poems is probed. The multiaccentuality of language is represented in his poetry and these two poems become the site of struggle for the imperialising and the localising power. It is intended to illuminate the sought space of identity which Harrison is constantly referring to as a member of the English working-class society. Lastly, the social and personal relationship between Harrison and Milton has been explored positing Harrison in a transcendental context in his relationship with Milton.

Author Biography

Younes Poorghorban, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Kurdistan, Iran

Younes Poorghorban is a Postgraduate Student at the University of Kurdistan, Iran. He is currently working on Victorian Identity in Late-Victorian Literature. His latest publication is “Indoctrination of Victorian Class Identity: Arnold and Shaw; Beyond Victorian Class Struggles” (2021). He is also a Reviewer in Critical Literary Studies Journal.


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How to Cite
Poorghorban, Y. (2021). Counter Class and Counter Identity: Confrontations of Power in Tony Harrison’s Poetry. English Studies at NBU, 7(2), 245-260.