Follows The Pilgrim's Progress as it circulates through multiple contexts-and into some 200 languages-focusing on Africa, where 80 of the translations occurred.
How does a book become an international bestseller? What happens to it as it is translated into different languages, contexts, and societies? How is it changed by the intellectual environments it encounters? What does the transnational circulation mean for its reception back home? Exploring the international life of a particularly long-lived and widely traveled book, Isabel Hofmeyr follows "The Pilgrim's Progress" as it circulates through multiple contexts - and into some 200 languages - focusing on Africa, where 80 of the translations occurred. This feat of literary history is based on intensive research that criss-crossed among London, Georgia, Kingston, Bedford (John Bunyan's hometown), and much of sub-Saharan Africa. Finely written and unusually wide-ranging, it accounts for how "The Pilgrim's Progress" traveled abroad with the Protestant mission movement, was adapted and reworked by the societies into which it traveled, and, finally, how its circulation throughout the empire affected Bunyan's standing back in England.The result is a new intellectual approach to Bunyan - one that weaves together British, African, and Caribbean history with literary and translation studies and debates over African Christianity and mission. Even more important, this book is a rare example of a truly worldly study of "world literature" - and of the critical importance of translation, both linguistic and cultural.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS vii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xiii PROLOGUE 1 INTRODUCTION Portable Texts: Bunyan, Translation, and Congo on Camden Road 45 2 Making Bunyan Familiar in the Mission Domain 56 3 Translating Bunyan 76 4 Mata's Hermeneutic: Internationally Made Ways of Reading Bunyan 98 PART TWO BUNYAN, THE PUBLIC SPHERE, AND AFRICA 5 John Bunyan Luthuli: African Mission Elites and The Pilgrim's Progress 113 6 Dreams, Documents, and Passports to Heaven: African Christian Interpretations of The Pilgrim's Progress 137 7 African Protestant Masculinities in the Empire: Ethel M. Dell, Thomas Mofolo, and Mr. Great-heart 151 8 Illustrating Bunyan 173 9 Bunyan in the African Novel 191 PART THREE POST-BUNYAN 10 How Bunyan Became English 217 CONCLUSION Lifting the Tollgates 228 APPENDIX 1 Bunyan Translations by Language 240 APPENDIX 2 A Social Profile of Bunyan Translators 244 NOTES 247 BIBLIOGRAPHY 281 INDEX 307