Pilgrim's Progress (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Pilgrim's Progress (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Faith, Hope, Mercy, Envy, Ignorance, Guilt: These are not abstract concepts, but the names of vividly imagined, sharply drawn human characters encountered by Christian, the hero of The Pilgrim’s Progress. In John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century allegory of the soul’s search for salvation, each step along the way becomes a dramatic rendering of an inner state of the human psyche. As Christian journeys from “the wilderness of this world” to the glory of the Celestial City, he confronts a seemingly endless array of temptations, threats, and dangers, including the nearly irresistible allure of material splendor at Vanity Fair; the crushing psychological burden of depression and despair in the Slough of Despond; and the fear and uncertainty that eats away at faith in Doubting Castle.

This edition includes both the first and second parts of The Pilgrim’s Progress, which collectively reflect the feverish intensity of Bunyan’s religious beliefs. What remains significant is Bunyan’s ability to transform this intensity into an allegory that speaks to people of all faiths and all eras.

David Hawkes is Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. His books include Idols of the Marketplace (2001) and Ideology (second edition 2003), and he has contributed articles to The Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Journal of the History of Ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082543
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 06/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 10,755
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

John Bunyan (1628-1688) was an English writer and Baptist preacher best known for his Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. He wrote more than 60 books and tracts in total. Buynan spent many years in prison because of his faith, and it was during this time that he began writing The Pilgrim’s Progress. Part One was published in 1678; Part Two in 1684.

Read an Excerpt

From David Hawkes’s Introduction to The Pilgrim’s Progress

To understand fully The Pilgrim’s Progress, we must remember that it was written in prison. Imprisonment is its major theme, and escape from prison is its primary purpose. Although Bunyan was without a doubt incarcerated in the literal, physical sense while he composed his work, he did not believe that he was truly in jail. He was convinced that, as Richard Lovelace had written in “To Althea, from Prison” (1642), “Stone walls do not a prison make, / Nor iron bars a cage,” and Bunyan echoed the sentiment in his own “Prison Meditations” (1665; quoted from The Works of John Bunyan, edited by George Offor, vol. 1, p. 64; see “For Further Reading”):

I am, indeed, in prison now

In body, but my mind

Is free to study Christ, and how

Unto me he is kind.

For though men keep my outward man

Within their locks and bars,

Yet by the faith of Christ I can

Mount higher than the stars.

As far as Bunyan was concerned, the real prisoners were outside the walls, in the world. The Pilgrim’s Progress aims to establish two deeply counterintuitive propositions: that its author is not in jail, and that its readers are. But while Bunyan argues that the world is the prison of the soul, he also offers us a way to escape from the world. The book’s subtitle, From This World to That Which Is to Come, indicates our ultimate destination, but the world “to come” is to be reached by a way not measurable in space or time. The pilgrim’s progress is not a literal journey along a physical road, but an exercise in semiotics: a reinterpretation of the world. As Stanley Fish puts it, Bunyan’s work teaches us that “the truth about the world is not to be found within its own confines or configurations, but from the vantage point of a perspective that transforms it” (Self-consuming Artifacts, p. 237).

In the course of his journey the hero, named Christian, learns to understand the world as an allegory. He comes to perceive his experience as a series of signs that point toward nonmaterial, spiritual referents, and this constitutes his liberation. But before he can escape from prison, he must become aware that he is in one. The progress toward an allegorical interpretation of reality is simultaneously a process of alienation from the mundane world of experience. The Pilgrim’s Progress shows us a man who becomes a stranger to the world, to the extent of rejecting empirical sense perception, as well as the laws, morality, and behavioral standards of society. The first lesson Christian learns after his conversion is that “Mr. Worldly Wiseman is an alien.”

Allegory has often been described as a suitable mode to represent the alienated, objectified character of worldly experience. This line of reasoning originates with Walter Benjamin’s seminal analysis of the genre in The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1928). Benjamin argues that allegory’s purpose is to teach us that the experiential world—the “carnal” or “fleshly” dimension, in Bunyan’s terms—is fallen into a disharmonious relation with its Creator: “Allegory itself was sown by Christianity. For it was absolutely decisive for this mode of thought that not only transitoriness, but also guilt should seem evidently to have its home in the province of idols and of the flesh” (p. 224). Plato had argued that, because the material world is transitory, it is also illusory, and to take empirical appearances for reality thus constitutes a philosophical error. But Christianity introduced an ethical dimension to this argument. From the Christian perspective, taking appearances for reality is not only erroneous, but also sinful, and in The Pilgrim’s Progress, understanding this fact is the first step on the way to redemption. This is a paradoxical operation, however, for the process of understanding that creation is alienated from the Creator simultaneously involves the recognition of another, spiritual, realm to which the carnal world points the way.

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The Pilgrim's Progress 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Beasliffe More than 1 year ago
The book is excellent, but the folks at B&N should be embarrassed to offer this badly scanned nook book edition. Notes and marginal comments appear in-line in the same font as the text and interrupt the flow of reading. Words are sometimes split randomly or shift in their middle between plain and italic. Words that should be bolded aren't. Poetry is set as prose at random. Apostrophes are mis-scanned as question marks. Apparently no one bothered to proofread the scan results. The editorial notes also detract from the text on which they are supposed to comment. since they are often trivial and sometimes plain wrong. This is truly a sorry transfer from text to ebook and unworthy of Bunyan's masterpiece.
Jess_MacCallum More than 1 year ago
There is a reason this book has not been out of print since it was first published in the late 1670s. It remains relevant. One of the most insightful and honest descriptions of the Christian Life, far better than modern writers can even come close. It is the quintessential Christian allegory, ahead even of Chronicles of Narnia. Brilliant insights, life-changing.
John McAllister More than 1 year ago
Though an exhilirating tale of adventure and grandiose excitement if epic proportions it is still so much more than that. NEVER a substitute for the Word of God, but a wonderful contemporary study guide piece that every christian should read and will enjoy when presented with the opportunity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems a lot of the footnotes, etc., get jumbled in with the text. It's frustrating to navigate.
BigBobHev More than 1 year ago
This is a great read of an allegory about a man's travelling the path of life being akin to a man's attempt at travelling the path to religious redemption. The writing style is, of course, heroic-epic; and, the author does an admirable job at staying true to the character and the plot. I recommend it to anyone whom appreciates epic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book contains a very detailed table of contents, and a different formatting of the inline references (which makes it easier to read than most other versions of this book that I've seen). Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wrong book here! This is some other kind of allegory or story--not anything Bunyan would have liked.   Seems a Catholic kind of tale.  It is a scam, as it is NOT Pilgrim's Progress on the inside.   Please correct the title and description of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful allegory of our Christian walk. It is so wonderfully written, despite the fact that John Bunyan only had an eigth grade education. I love how Scripture is continually intertwined with the characters' dialouge. I also enjoyed the story of Christiana who later falls in her husband's footsteps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is inspirational and makes me think about my relationship with Christ, but it is a very long, drawn out book and, as a ninth grader, is difficult to always understand. The book is about Christian, as he travels along the narrow road to the Celestial City. It applies all that is said in the Bible about how we should act as we live life and face struggles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book get 5 stars right off the back. the only set back is reading the old english. basically this book is about Christian going on an adventure to the celestial city, and runs into fearsome dangers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very touching and inspirational. The trials of life can be challenging however, faith, hope, and love can lead us towards the kingdom of God to heaven. A wonderful book.
Anonymous 3 months ago
it was eye-opening
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read, for every new Christian coming to Christ...
MommyWithLittles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hard to actually read but the audio dramatizations are WONDERFUL! We tried it as a "read aloud" with one person reading but always had to say who is speaking. Maybe good for a family to read like a play (have multiple copies) and discuss as you go along. Wonderful alleghory! For younger readers, there are children's versions available to help with understanding.
Edmundane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I love Christian Allegory, but I felt this was a diluted rip off of the Everyman moral play. I was looking forward to a provocative tale but this came up short with blatant imagery pulled together with the smallest bit of finesse. Sorry to be so scathing Mr. Bunyan. I get that it was to be accessible to the common man, but this is more a pamphlet than a serious piece of literature.The only reason I think I'll keep reading it is so that I know the references and allusions people take from it. It's an easy enough read.
Kerygma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If there is any one theological fiction that Christians should read today, this book would be it! Classic, powerful, imaginative, and provocative. Well worth reading, and not full of theological blunders like books that currently line many peoples shelves.
estellen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'll be brutally honest. I didn't understand this book at all. It seems to be the symbolic journey of a Christian, who meets various challenges and emotions in human form. A lot of people loved it, I didn't get it. The language put me off - it's written in a sort of King James English, which I didn't have the energy to follow.
jchancel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have heard horror stories about this book my whole life from people who were required to read this in school and subsequently forced to write tedious and life-draining essays about it. However, out of sheer tenacity I decided to read this book of my own free will. And then I couldn't put it down. It took me about five pages to acclimate to Bunyan's voice, but once I got used to the book's style I was intrigued. Following Christian through his battles, and meeting his various acquaintances was interesting enough. Plus, I found myself comparing different characters to different people in my life. I challenge anyone to be unable to relate to at least one of the characters in the book. A lot of atheists will berate this book simply because it is Christian and they are not, but they are too clouded by their own convictions to see the beauty of the book by itself. The book's similarities to mythological works should make it interesting to people of all beliefs or lack thereof.
quoddy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first was a whole heap of fun, but the second was a little tedious. I'm sure it's a perfectly good book if you are a puritan Christian, but as I am neither of the two, I found it quite mediocre.
devandecicco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a reason why this is the most widely published Christian book outside of the Bible. Bunyan, with seriousness and at times with humor, dissects the human condition. I recommend this both to Christians and non-Christians, as it reveals the subtle deceit of many paradigms that we encounter in our lifetime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no doubt that all who read this book will have knowledge of Christ's saving grace by the shedding of his blood to justify those who believe in his name.
SarahJo4110 More than 1 year ago
TeamDowager More than 1 year ago
I'm currently reading the Barnes and Noble classic edition of The Pilgrim's Progress and I'm really enjoying it. This edition is very helpful to the modern reader because of its extensive use of footnotes which help readers like myself understand the text more fully. The footnotes provide context into the author's meaning. The English language has changed somewhat since the publication of The Pilgrim's Progress. Yet, the novel is still incredibly fresh and insightful to the readers of today, especially those like myself who are of the Christian faith. So many modern sayings have come from this book. I can fully understand how it is one of the most read books in the English language second only to the Bible. Happy reading!