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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Prester John, John Chilembwe and the European fear of Ethiopianism
Author:Thompson, T. JackISNI
Year:2015
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Volume:68
Issue:2
Pages:18-30
Language:English
Geographic terms:Malawi
Great Britain
Subjects:novels
imperialism
anticolonialism
attitudes
political action
Europeans
1900-1909
1910-1919
About persons:John Buchan 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940)ISNI
John Chilembwe (died in 1971)
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43694112
Abstract:The author examines some of the underlying views in John Buchan's novel 'Prester John' (1910) and compares them with contemporary European attitudes to pastor and political activist John Chilembwa and his Rising in Nyasaland (now Malawi) in 1915. The author identifies a deep-seated European unease in the novel about what was called 'Ethiopianism' at the beginning of the twentieth century. The term 'Ethiopianism' had come into use in South Africa in the last decades of the nineteenth century and referred both to independent African initiatives in religion (considered manifestations of 'a kind of bastard Christianity') and to African political activists who were considered dangerous by many Europeans. The term was also associated with African Americans, or Africans who had studied in the USA, among whom John Chilembwe. The author argues that 'Prester John' expresses widely held views on British imperialism, African culture and religion, including Ethiopianism. These views can be paralleled in the Nyasaland of the time and form the context in which John Chilembwe felt pressurized to undertake his rebellion. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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