Unisa Press

Poetic Bodies and Corpses

South African Great War Poetry

Author: Gerhard Genis
Published: June 27, 2018
ISBN: 9781868888504
Number of pages: 206
Prices: R 330
This book is not available in electronic format

About the book

South African poetry of the Great War reveals not only the types of poetry that were

written during the war, but also the historical spirit of the times. It mirrors the ways in

which manliness, whiteness, blackness, colonialism and empire were viewed during

the early 20th-century South Africa. The poems also go to the heart of the spiritualism

of the era and thematically explore the nature of death, dying, suffering and sacrifice.

The post-war poetry that looks back on this conflict is also discussed. The poetry

written by blacks resonates with the themes of black self-affirmation and it exhibits

early signs of black nationalism.


What all the poetry has in common is the major theme of coming to terms with loss. It

speaks of a collective South African consciousness that resides deep within the

wounds of conflict.