The article investigates the outreach of missionary literature through a survey of the nonfictional books on the main Danish-missionized areas published in the period 1880–1944 by Danish missionary organizations. A statistical, bibliometric mapping of titles and subjects shows that out of 637 Danish nonfictional printed books on India, China, and Africa from 1880 to 1944, missionary literature constitutes 307 titles, corresponding to 48.2%. On this basis it is fair to say that the missionary message had a monumental presence in comparison with the many varying agendas and approaches existing in other books. Furthermore, the article maps the channels of circulation that missionary literature traveled through and shows that these channels moved across the missionary organizations to the revivalist community, which constituted the traditional recruitment base of Foreign Mission. But it also demonstrates that the rest of society was virtually cut off from this circuit. In conclusion, 48.2%, and at times much more, of the Danish literature dealing with large parts of the world was consumed by between 10 and 15% of the population, where missionary organization members proved to be an even smaller part and yet the greater consumer group. These results only apply to Denmark, but it is reasonable to assume that the same relationship between a very large bulk of literature and a very small readership also pertains elsewhere.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 518-533
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.