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Title: Representing missions : Christianity and colonialism in fiction by Joyce Cary, Elspeth Huxley, Chinua Achebe, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Author: Purcell, William F.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3502 9450
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2003
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Missionaries and Christian characters have frequently played significant roles in fiction related to the colonial encounter in Africa. This thesis focuses specifically on four writers - Joyce Cary, Elspeth Huxley, Chinua Achebe, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o - representing both sides of the colonial divide in Nigeria and Kenya, whose fiction deals rather closely with Christian mission. Chapter one discusses missionary activity from a historical and missiological point of view, with reference to missionary writing from the period of the early twentieth century. Chapters two and three discuss three African novels of Joyce Cary, a colonial officer-turned novelist. Cary's novels depend on missions and missionaries for the source of their dramatic tensions while exploring Cary's ideas regarding the aims and objectives of the colonial project. Chapters four and five examine three novels by the London-born journalist and broadcaster Elspeth Huxley, who was raised on a settler farm in Kenya. In these Huxley uses Christianity and missions to highlight and contrast her estimate of the relative levels of 'civilization' achieved by Europeans and Africans and in the process seeks to justify the aims of the colonial project. Chapters six and seven focus on two novels by Chinua Achebe, son of an early convert and prominent Igbo catechist in Nigeria. Achebe's novels examine the religious and cultural consequences for Africans arising from the collision of Christianity with traditional beliefs and practices. Finally, chapters eight and nine examine four novels, by Ngugi wa Thiong'o, a Gikuyu-Kenyan writer, critic, and cultural theorist. In Ngugi's, early novels Christianity and missions are increasingly depicted as agents of a colonial ideology that undermines the confidence and stability of local cultures, and in his later novels as willing instruments of capitalist, colonial, and neo-colonial oppression.
Supervisor: Edmond, Roderick S. ; Innes, C. Lyn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: P Language and Literature