John Bunyan (Classic Reprint)by C. H. Firth
Progress, he showed it to some of his friends and asked them whether he should print it or not. Some had scruples about the treatment of sacred things in a fictitious narrative, but finding them divided he determined to publish it, prefixing to it, however, a preface defending his use of similes and figures for tho purpose of instruction. In
Excerpt from John Bunyan
Progress, he showed it to some of his friends and asked them whether he should print it or not. Some had scruples about the treatment of sacred things in a fictitious narrative, but finding them divided he determined to publish it, prefixing to it, however, a preface defending his use of similes and figures for tho purpose of instruction. In December 1677 the book was in the hands of the printer, Nathaniel Ponder, and was entered by him at Stationers' Hall. It was licensed on February 18, 1678, and published forthwith in a little octavo volume of 232 pages at the price of eighteenpence. A second edition appeared within the year, a third in 1679, and by 1688 it had reached an eleventh edition. It was translated into Dutch in 1682, into French in 1685, and into Welsh in 1688. Additional proof of its popularity was given by unauthorized continuations, some of which were falsely attributed to Bunyan. The author of another which appeared in 1683, honestly styled Bunyan's volume 'a necessary and useful tract which hath deservedly obtained such an universal esteem and commendation', but complained that certain specified doctrines were inadequately treated in it, and that some passages occasioned 'lightness and laughter' in 'vain and frothy minds'.
The second part of the Pilgrim's Progress appeared in 1684. Bunyan's first intention had been to publish a companion to the Pilgrim's Progress rather than a continuation. 'As I was considering with myself,' he says, 'what I had written concerning the Progress of the Pilgrim from this world to glory ; and how it has been acceptable to many in this nation: it came again into my mind to write, as then of him that was going to Heaven so now of the life and death of the ungodly and of their travel down from this world to Hell.' With this object he wrote the Life and Death of Mr. Badman, which appeared in 1680. From this realistic picture of a vicious and swindling tradesman, which recalls both in subject and treatment some of Defoe's novels, Bunyan turned once more to allegory. The Holy War, which was published in 1682, is an attempt to treat in prose and for the people the problem which Milton had treated in verse. Its subject is the fall and redemption of mankind, the struggle between God and the devil for the soul of man, narrated under the similitude of the history of a besieged city. The town of Mansoul, as Mr. Froude has pointed out, represents sometimes the soul of a single man, sometimes the collective souls of the Christian world, and it is not always clear which the writer means. The Holy War is a much more elaborate allegory than the Pilgrim's Progress, and more completely symbolical in all its details, but its subject was less fitted for allegorical treatment. One seeks, like Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, to explain the ways of God to man, the other only to represent the way of man to heaven. One embodies the complete system of theology, the other rests not so much on Puritan doctrine as on the Puritan conception of human life. And because our little systems have their day and their place, while the religious instinct is something lasting and universal, the Pilgrim's Progress is read and The Holy War neglected. Add to this that the personages in the history of Mansoul are for the most part devoid of any human interest. The pilgrims have each their own individuality, while nothing but the label distinguishes Captain Credence from Captain Conviction.
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