8
METAPHOR AND THE
POSTCOLONIAL TURN

The question of what to compare with what is therefore in no sense a universal or natural one, but one that is guided by strict lines of power. This has been made increasingly clear by postcolonial writers as they describe their ambiguous difficulties with language, especially with the English language which, composed as it is of specific power- and history-laden metaphors, provides a field of connections to be resisted and reconsidered at the same time as it is mined and exploited for its still potent metaphorical field. To call a yam a sweet potato is fundamentally different from calling a potato a sour yam. Metaphor here becomes inextricably involved with the history of what it means to be regarded as exotic, a process according to which the other comes to be conceived as the filling in of a missing ideal, the establishment of a new space to compensate for a metaphorical lack; metaphor reveals its relation to a web of notions of loss.

But perhaps it is best to start from a text which long precedes the development of postcolonial awareness, Henry Newbolt’s most celebrated work, ‘Vitaï Lampada’ (meaning ‘Torch of Life’), written in 1897 about a schoolboy who grows up to fight in African wars:

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Metaphor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Metaphor i
  • The New Critical Idiom ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor’s Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Classical Problem- Figurative Language 11
  • 2 - Eastern and Western Metaphor 26
  • 3 - Public Metaphor 42
  • 4 - Metaphor and the ‘Text Instead’ 57
  • 5 - Metaphor and Psychoanalysis 72
  • 6 - Metaphor, the Uncanny, DÉjÀ-Vu 87
  • 7 - Metaphor, Difference, Untranslatability 102
  • 8 - Metaphor and the Postcolonial Turn 113
  • 9 - Some Examples and Limits 125
  • 10 - Conclusion 136
  • Glossary 146
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 156
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