Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Imagining the missionary hero : juvenile missionary biographies, c.1870-1917
Author: McColl, Julie Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 5379
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the fascinating and complex body of work surrounding the missionary hero as a product of late imperial ideas of the heroic produced in the form of biography. It will concentrate upon how the literature was appropriated, reproduced and disseminated via the Sunday school network to working-class children between 1870 and 1917. It will discuss how biographers through imaginative narrative strategies and the reframing of the biography as an adventure story, were able to offer children a physical exemplar and self-sacrificial hero who dispensed clear imperial ideas and moral values. This thesis will reflect upon how the narratives embedded in dominant discourses provided working-class children with imperial ideologies including ideas of citizenship and self-help which it will argue allowed groups of Sunday school readers to feel part of an imagined community. In doing so, the thesis sheds important new light on a central point of contention in the considerable and often heated discussion that has developed since the 1980s around the impact of empire on British people. Through an analysis of common themes it will also consider the depiction of women missionaries, asking whether biographical representation challenged or reinforced traditional gender ideologies. To interrogate these components effectively this thesis is divided into two parts, Part One is divided into five chapters providing context, while Part Two will look in detail at the repetition and adaption of common themes. The first chapter will outline concerns surrounding working-class children and analyse the solutions suggested to provide children with ideas based upon self-improvement, character building and patriotism. Chapter 2 examines the use of the missionary biography in the Sunday school while ideas surrounding the hero and hero-worship and literature incorporating British heroes will be studied in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 analyses the missionary biography and will discuss why the missionary, both male and female, was deemed an ideal candidate to provide examples of self-help and self-improvement. This chapter will conclude with a section introducing missionaries James Hannington and Mary Slessor. Chapters 5 will focus on the role of the publishers, biographers and illustrators. This will lead to Part Two of this thesis which comprises of four chapters investigating common features, motifs and codes within the biographies which highlight how children were inculcated in ideas of patriotism, gender and British superiority all inextricably linked to ideas of community. In conclusion, I consider how far and in what ways the thesis has advanced understanding of missionary biographies in this period, while sketching out some possibilities for further research.
Supervisor: Towsey, Mark ; Davies, Andrew ; Cleall, Esme Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral