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Week 12: The Portable Bunyan

Seminar Questions

  • Why did the London Missionary Society print Travels in South Africa?
  • What role do books and print play in John Campbell’s journey?
  • How are European racial ideas reflected in Travels in South Africa?
  • Compare and contrast the history of the missionary printing in India and Africa.

Seminar Readings

** Campbell, John, Travels in South Africa Undertaken at the Request of the Missionary Society (London, 1815), vii-xvi, 22-32, 271-279, 513-524, 559-567

* West, Gerald, ‘Reception of the Bible: The Bible in Africa’, in Marsden, Richard, James Carleton Paget, John Riches, and E. Ann Matter (eds), The New Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 4, From 1750 to the Present (Cambridge, 2015), vol. 4

Additional Readings


Campbell, John, Travels in South African Undertaken At the Request of the London Missionary Soicety; Being a Narrative of a Second Journey in the Interior of that Country (London, 1822), 2 vols

Philip, John, Researches in South Africa: Illustrating the Civil, Moral and Religious Condition fo the Native Tribes (London, 1828), 2 vols


Comaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago, IL, 1991), vol. 1

Elphick, Richard, and T. R. H. Davenport (eds), Christianity in South Africa: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (Berkley, CA, 1998)

Gruchy, John W. De, The London Missionary Society in Southern Africa, 1799-1999 (Athens, OH, 1999)

Hofmeyr, Isabel, ‘Bunyan in Africa: Text and Transition’, Interventions, 3 (2001)

Hofmeyr, Isabel, ‘How Bunyan Became English: Missionaries, Translation, and the Discipline of English Literature’, Journal of British Studies, 41 (2002)

Hofmeyr, Isabel, ‘Metaphorical Books’, Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, 13 (2001)

Hofmeyr, Isabel, The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ (Princeton, NJ, 2004)

Howsam, Leslie, Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the British and Foreign Bible Society (Cambridge, 2000)

Isichei, Elizabeth, A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present (London, 1995)

Peel, J. D. Y, ‘For Who Hath Despised the Day of Small Things? Missionary Narratives and Historical Anthropology’. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 37 (1995)

Porter, Andrew, Religion Versus Empire?: British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700-1914 (Manchester, 2004)

Sugirtharajah, R.S., The Bible and the Third World: Precolonial, Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters (Cambridge, 2008)

Week 12 Powerpoint

Week 12 - Slides

Week 12 Handout

Week 12 - Handout

Book Images

Book Spine

'Travels in South Africa', handwritten label on spine.

Quarter leather binding

Quarter leather binding, Travels in South Africa (1822)

Library stamp 1

'Barnstaple Lit. & Scientific Institution' stamp on binding, Travels in South Africa (1822)


'The North Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple' bookplate, Travels in South Africa (1822)


Frontispiece and title page with 'The North Devon Athenaeum' stamp on title page, ´╗┐Travels in South Africa ´╗┐(1822)