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Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: January 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521049559

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About the Authors
  • Anna Johnston analyses missionary writing under the aegis of the British Empire. Johnston argues that missionaries occupied ambiguous positions in colonial cultures, caught between imperial and religious interests. She maps out this position through an examination of texts published by missionaries of the largest, most influential nineteenth-century evangelical institution, the London Missionary Society. These texts provide a fascinating commentary on nineteenth-century evangelism and colonialism, and illuminate complex relationships between white imperial subjects, white colonial subjects, and non-white colonial subjects. With their reformist, and often prurient interest in sexual and familial relationships, missionary texts focused imperial attention on gender and domesticity in colonial cultures. Johnston contends that in doing so they rewrote imperial expansion as a moral allegory and confronted British ideologies of gender, race and class. Texts from Indian, Polynesian and Australian missions are examined to highlight their representation of nineteenth-century evangelical activity in relation to gender, colonialism and race.

    • Offers important new insights into missionary and colonial activity in the nineteenth century
    • Offers a detailed description and analysis of the nineteenth-century archives of the London Missionary Society, the most influential organisation of its kind
    • Brings to light an archive of documents unexplored until now
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Johnston impresses us with her thorough knowledge of recent secondary sources on mission … informative introductions for those readers new to the topic of foreign missions.' Annotated Bibliography for English Studies

    'All in all this book offers a welcome breath of complicating fresh air into the frequently cliché-ridden scholarship on missionary writing and it amply demonstrates that literary scholars, as well as historians and anthropologists, have a contribution to make to the study of missionaries.' Studies in Travel Writing

    ' … well-researched and informative book …' Modern Language Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521049559
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 150 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.416kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: writing missionaries
    Part I. The Mission Statement:
    1. The British Empire, colonialism and missionary activity
    2. Gender, domesticity and colonial evangelisation
    Part II. The London Missionary Society in India:
    3. Empire, India and evangelisation
    4. Missionary writing in India
    5. Imperialism, suffragism and nationalism
    Part III. The London Missionary Society in Polynesia:
    6. Polynesian missions and the European imaginary
    7. Missionary writing in Polynesia
    Part IV. The London Missionary Society in Australia:
    8. The Australian colonies and empire
    9. Missionary writing in Australia
    Conclusion: missionary writing, the imperial archive and postcolonial politics

  • Author

    Anna Johnston, University of Tasmania
    Anna Johnston is Lecturer in Australian and Postcolonial Literature in the School of English, Journalism, and European Languages at the University of Tasmania. She is the co-editor of In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire (Peter Lang 2002) with Helen Gilbert, and has published articles on missionary writing, postcolonial literature, and autobiography.

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