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The strange career of William Ellis

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Johnston, A (2007) The strange career of William Ellis. Victorian Studies, Spring (3). pp. 491-501. ISSN 0042-5222

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Abstract

The diverse career of William Ellis—gardener, printer, Pacific
and Madagascan missionary, ethnographer, London Missionary
Society Foreign Secretary, author of at least eight books and
numerous pamphlets, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, father
of four, and husband of two impressive women—spanned the late eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries (1794–1872). A working-class boy of
unknown parentage, Ellis rose to a position of social influence that
could only have been effected by the social mobility provided by evangelical
Protestantism and the British Empire. No less impressive has
been his afterlife in contemporary scholarship, a literary longevity Ellis
secured by carefully documenting his encounters with other peoples
and cultures in the far-flung locales opened by early nineteenthcentury
imperialism. In crossing between British and colonial cultures,
Ellis provides a prism capable of refracting the complex effects of
imperial intervention in the Pacific.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Victorian Studies
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Page Range: pp. 491-501
ISSN: 0042-5222
Identification Number - DOI: 10.2979/VIC.2007.49.3.491
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:19
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:34
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