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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the global circulation of Bunyan’s writings along the routes of empire. Translations and adaptations, distributed for the most part by missionaries, were recruited both for and against empire. The universalism imputed to The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678; 1684) facilitated its global distribution, seemingly overcoming differences as if by magic. Yet this same assumption of universalism also made the authority of Bunyan available to local uses, needs, and even resistance against colonialism and empire. The history of Bunyan’s global textual circulation suggests a mixed and problematic relation to imperial expansion and colonial ambitions. Finally, while the continuing global reach of Bunyan might be understood as a residue of the mobility of his texts both within and against empire, this has also generated a multitude of diverse local adaptations and appropriations which enable a refocusing away from the totalizing categories of nation and empire.

Keywords: Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, colonialism, universalism, missionaries, translations

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