John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress


Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress


  • Intro

    John Bunyan was an itinerant tinker who produced one of the most widely-read books in the western canon. A non-comformist who spent many years in prison for refusing to obey injunctions not to preach, he wrote the greater part of Pilgrim’s Progress while in Bedford Gaol.


    An allegorical novel, Pligrim’s Progess tells the story of Christian’s struggle to overcome various obstacles that hinder his passage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Bunyan’s language is permeated by that of the King James Bible alongside the colloquial language of his day. In applying the idea of the voyage/quest narrative to a spiritual subject, the book is an early model for the novel as a journey of the self towards fulfilment, seen later in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5.


    Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was an instant publishing success, with eleven editions within a decade of its first appearance, and selling possibly 100,000 copies in its first fifteen years.  During the later 18th and the 19th centuries it became regarded in Britain as essential family reading, and has been claimed as one of the ten most published books of all time.


    Shelfmark: C.70.aa.3.

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