Third World Express: trains and "revolution" in Southern African Poetry

Wright, L.S. (2010) Third World Express: trains and "revolution" in Southern African Poetry. Literator: Journal of literary criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies, 31.1 . ISSN 0258-2279




This article examines political dimensions of the train metaphor in selected southern African poems, some of them in English translation. Exploring work by Mongane Serote, B.W. Vilakazi, Demetrius Segooa, Phedi Tlhobolo, Thami Mseleku, Jeremy Cronin, Alan Lennox-Short, Anthony Farmer, Freedom T.V. Nyamubaya, Abduraghiem Johnstone and Mondli Gwala, the argument shows some of the ways in which the technological character of trains and railways is made to carry a message of political insurrection and revolution. The author shows that the political potential of the railway metaphor builds on the general response to railways evident in poems indebted to traditional African praise poetry. The piece also demonstrates that political contention within different strands of the southern African liberation movement could also find expression using the railway metaphor.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:In the published version, on page 6, the word 'eulogy' should read 'eulogue'.
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa, trains, railways, political modernization, social modernization, political revolution, cognitive metaphor, paralogical metaphor, praise poetry.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1905
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:10 Jun 2011 09:06
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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