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A Public Missionary And A Domestic Man-Olof Bingmark, 1875-1900

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Chapter Summary

Contemporary advisers as to the nature of true manhood pointed at the delicate balance between the demands of the two spheres that all men needed to maintain; but the equilibrium was easily disturbed and excesses on both sides were frequently to be found. The man responsible for writing this introductory quote was Olof Bingmark, a former Swedish agricultural labourer who between 1893 and 1900 served as missionary in Shanxi province. Within his own life history this statement illustrates his own attempts at social advance, his appropriation of a Western middle-class ideology while living within Chinese society and his efforts to combine such struggles with being a burning Christian spirit. This chapter follows how this man resolved these issues during his brief missionary life. The main source to this chapter consists of the fifty-five preserved letters which Olof and his wife sent back to his family.

Keywords: chinese society; christian spirit; manhood; Olof Bingmark; Western middle-class ideology

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