John Bunyan

John Bunyan

About John Bunyan

John Bunyan (November 28, 1628 – August 31, 1688), an English Reformed Baptist preacher and allegorist writer, is known for his religious tale The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). The book is an allegorical novel published in 1678, at a time when publications were beginning to be less censored, but John Bunyan probably began working on it as early as the 1660. This allegory traces the journey of an ordinary man named Christian (allusion to a Christian) who decides to take the road to reach the City of Sion. Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress in two parts, the first of which was published in London in 1678 and the second in 1684. The two parts in one volume were not published until 1728. A third part, falsely attributed to Bunyan, appeared in 1693 and was reprinted only in 1852. The Pilgrimage of the Christian is perhaps the largest allegory ever published in the world and certainly also the most translated. Protestant missionaries commonly make it available in a variety of languages. Also known are two other successful of his works: The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680), a fictional biography, and The Holy War (1682). A third book that can be considered a classic example of spiritual autobiography is Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666), similar to the Confessions of Saint Augustine. Bunyan's ultimate motivation is clearly the exaltation of the Christian concept of grace and to comfort those who are experiencing similar experiences to his.
The strength of John Bunyan's work lies in its simplicity and accessibility. His simple and effective sometimes naive prose contributes to his rapid success. Bunyan brings abstractions to life, creating anthropomorphic figures representing emotions and temptations and demonstrates a talent for storytelling. Bunyan lacks the scholarship of Milton and his credentials are mostly limited to a well-established verbal knowledge of the Bible. The structure, the turns of phrase and the imagery used by his allegories are very similar to those of the Bible. The images used by Bunyan often relate to his ordinary environment and this may explain his rapid success because he evokes elements close to the daily life of his readers and which can be related to their experience. The Pilgrim's Progress has been translated into over 200 different languages. It remained for more than 200 years the most translated and most widely read book in the English-speaking world after the Bible.

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