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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Malawi and the poetry of two World Wars
Author:Shepperson, G.ISNI
Year:1990
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Volume:43
Issue:2
Pages:9-19
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Malawi
Central Africa
Subjects:poetry
World War I
World War II
literature
folklore
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778630
Abstract:Although Malawi, under its colonial name of Nyasaland, made distinct contributions to the Allied victories in the World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, it has contributed little to World War poetry. As a young British soldier, the author served with the 13th (Nyasaland) Battalion of the King's African Rifles and, later, the 26 Brigade in the 11th East African Division in Burma in 1944, during which period he wrote two poems, discussed in this paper. Next, he contemplates on the question as to why so little war poetry was produced in the white community of Malawi. A literary background was not lacking in Malawi when it was drawn into war in 1914, but poetic sensibility was not at a high level. It seems that Nyasaland's only Great War poet of any significance in the English language was the Reverend Robert Hellier Napier (1884-1918). His wartime verse may be characterized as 'Georgian poetry' and its spirit was patriotic and often nostalgic. It emphasized the European side of the Nyasaland war effort, although there were occasional mentions of the African contribution. Comic verse dominated much of the white war poetry from and about Nyasaland in 1914-1918. The author argues that Malawi's contribution to war poetry lies in its heritage of 'askari' songs in the vernacular. Notes, ref.
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