Cart

The Pilgrim's Progress: The Powerful, Timeless Story of How to Live on the Way to Heaven (Faith Classics) PDF, ePub eBook


Hot Best Seller
Title: The Pilgrim's Progress: The Powerful, Timeless Story of How to Live on the Way to Heaven (Faith Classics)
Author: John Bunyan
Publisher: Published January 1st 2014 by Barbour Books (first published 1678)
ISBN: null
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

24240969-the-pilgrim-s-progress.pdf

In order to read or download eBook, you need to create FREE account.
eBook available in PDF, ePub, MOBI and Kindle versions


reward
How to download?
FREE registration for 1 month TRIAL Account.
DOWNLOAD as many books as you like (Personal use).
CANCEL the membership at ANY TIME if not satisfied.
Join Over 150.000 Happy Readers.


You’ve heard of The Pilgrim’s Progress—now read it in a lightly updated, abridged form. It’s a story you won’t want to miss! Written in the 1600s, this timeless allegory still speaks to readers, realistically describing the joys and trials of anticipating heaven while living the Christian life on this earth. Bunyan’s immortal characters—Christian, Obstinate, Pliable, and You’ve heard of The Pilgrim’s Progress—now read it in a lightly updated, abridged form. It’s a story you won’t want to miss! Written in the 1600s, this timeless allegory still speaks to readers, realistically describing the joys and trials of anticipating heaven while living the Christian life on this earth. Bunyan’s immortal characters—Christian, Obstinate, Pliable, and Mr. Worldly Wiseman, among others—are placed in compelling settings such as the City of Destruction, the Celestial City, and the Wicket Gate. This edition contains approximately 60 percent of the content of Part I of Bunyan’s original book.  

30 review for The Pilgrim's Progress: The Powerful, Timeless Story of How to Live on the Way to Heaven (Faith Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    In the dawn of the day Reader began his quest for the Great Denoument with a glad heart, his countenance suffused by the Joy of Literature Yet Unread and unburthened by Mercantile Drear. He knew he should soon pass threw Goodreads City which was said to be very Malevolent yet still he feared not and sang out hymns and epithalamions addressed to the Archangels Proust, Joyce and Bolano which should look over him as he ventured. Eftsoons, he met with Mr Worldly Wise, who thrust at him pretty volume In the dawn of the day Reader began his quest for the Great Denoument with a glad heart, his countenance suffused by the Joy of Literature Yet Unread and unburthened by Mercantile Drear. He knew he should soon pass threw Goodreads City which was said to be very Malevolent yet still he feared not and sang out hymns and epithalamions addressed to the Archangels Proust, Joyce and Bolano which should look over him as he ventured. Eftsoons, he met with Mr Worldly Wise, who thrust at him pretty volumes by such a one as Daniel Brown and Michael Crichton, and then an other one, a young fair maid with a sore sorrowful countenance who gave unto him Stephanie Myers and Suzanne Collins. And Reader stopped by a winding road betimes, and read of these, and soon found himself in the Slough of Despond. Haply Evangelist arrived to yank Reader out of the Slough, and bade him follow him to a standing stone whereon he might make his mark for a Sign, and enter the gate of Goodreads City, which he was eager for. They that met him shewed him to the Hostel of Good Taste and told him of the reviews, the stars and the votes. And lo his eyes were opened to these things and taking a pen and paper he wrote mightily through all that night and beyond of the things he had read, the Crichtons and Browns and Meyers and how they tricked him into the Slough where in his soul had near perished. And Reader took sleep then and woke to find a thousand votes heaped up around his cot, and his heart was light. And in the Scroll of Great Reviewers he was yet written as number three and forty. But yet he was foresworn to climb the Hill of Extreme Difficulty to greet the Archangels Wallace and Gaddis, and clothed with his Armour of Interpretation which the citizens of Goodreads had yet given freely to him, he fixed his Two Edged Sword into its scabbard and sallied forth.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    So you know when you hear that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever because of how revolutionary it was during its time period, and then you watch it and you realize that the key phrase is "during its time period"? Well, reading Pilgrim's Progress is likely to leave many with the same feeling. No doubt one of the greatest modern religious texts in terms of what it provided for early Puritans (an easy and concrete representation of their theology and daily living practices), it leaves a little to So you know when you hear that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever because of how revolutionary it was during its time period, and then you watch it and you realize that the key phrase is "during its time period"? Well, reading Pilgrim's Progress is likely to leave many with the same feeling. No doubt one of the greatest modern religious texts in terms of what it provided for early Puritans (an easy and concrete representation of their theology and daily living practices), it leaves a little to be desired for those modern readers who are not steeped in Puritanical literary history. Don't get me wrong, any book where you actually get to challenge your temptations to a sword fight is pretty cool, but the language and pace of the book removed the excitement from even those scenes. Not to mention there are a few failed analogies in this allegory, especially in part II. Apparently Christian women don't have to fight their own battles of faith, you just have to find your own Mr. Great-heart and tag along for the ride (and be prepared to marry off your kids at a moment's notice). Overall, I would recommend this classic work to those who are trained to appreciate this genre and style (not me obviously), but not so much to anyone else.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I read this book during my second deployment to Iraq as well and it took me quite a while to finish it. I had seen this book referenced often and I wanted to read it on my own. The overall consensus is that it is a very compelling book and will pull at your soul's emotional strings with its simplicity and candor. But also there were three major hurdles to finishing this book--for me, at least: It was first published in 1678 so it is not an easy read. The diction is alien to me, but also one does I read this book during my second deployment to Iraq as well and it took me quite a while to finish it. I had seen this book referenced often and I wanted to read it on my own. The overall consensus is that it is a very compelling book and will pull at your soul's emotional strings with its simplicity and candor. But also there were three major hurdles to finishing this book--for me, at least: It was first published in 1678 so it is not an easy read. The diction is alien to me, but also one does not fall into the parlance of Mr. Bunyan's time as easily as even the made-up language of A Clockwork Orange. Here is an example of the text: "Mercy. Then said Mercy, I confess my ignorance: I spake what I understood not: I acknowledge that thou doest all things well." Yikes. Also, the original was not written like a screenplay so it is at times confusing who is speaking to whom. Luckily, the Penguin Classics version marks all dialog with the speaker as a preface in italics. Secondly, the allegory is very simple. The characters names are the likes of: "Mr. Great-Heart, Mr. Timorous, Mr. Feeble-Minded, the Giant Despair," etc. The situations that all the characters face are definitely unique, but not so riveting as a result of surprise. This barrier for me though is acceptable: the stark simplicity of the journey actually increases the voracity of Bunyan's words. The story is not for the sake of story-telling; the allegory actually need not be so imaginative in this case. Finally, and this may seem superficial, but Bunyan's poetry skills are pretty awful. The poem opens with a long bit of rhyming poetry that almost made me quit reading. Ironically, the poem is an apology of Bunyan's allegorical shortcomings. I still didn't enjoy reading the poems. I actually found myself skipping even the shortest attempts at rhyme in the plot by the first 30 pages of the book. I find it interesting that Bunyan's prose can be so powerful that he felt the need to attempt ABAB style poetry in his work. Maybe he felt the need to counter the beautiful epic style of John Milton's Paradise Lost (published first about 12 years before TPP). I don't know, but either way--it is a serious barrier. Bunyan earns most of his Paul Dollars (approximately worth 5 Shrewt bucks or 1000 Stanley Nickles, for you Office fans) in the transcendence of the story into the heart of the Christian reader. I felt Bunyan's soul guiding Christian through his pilgrimage. At the beginning of the story when Christian tells his plans to his family, they chastise him and mock him--after ignoring him of course. As he finally departs alone, his family and neighbors snub him and hurl curses from both sides of the road. This forces Christian to "put his fingers in his ears" and run as quickly as possible away from the City of Destruction. You can't help but be captivated by Christian's steadfast loyalty to his mission: going to Heaven, or the "land beyond the river that has no bridge." Here are some examples of Bunyan's greatest words: "No man can tell what in combat attends us but he that hath been in the battle himself." (Page 113) after he fights the demon Apollyon. In reply to Christan's query, "tell me particularly what effect this [a vision of Christ) had upon your spirit," Hopeful answers with conviction that almost wrought me with tears: "It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance; for there never came thought into mine heart before now that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus. Yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus." (Page 125) Awesome. This book was a good spiritual book for me at this time in my life. I recommend it for anyone who wishes to keep the fire of their faith burning.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Pilgrim's Progress is about two delusional assholes wandering around being dicks to people, so it's basically a takeoff of Don Quixote. But the dreaming narrator seems unconscious of the fact that the pilgrims are both jerks. I suppose it's possible that they're not supposed to be jerks at all, but...no, that can't be right. They're such jerks. It starts with a guy named Christian abandoning his family to wander off in search of a magical city. "His wife and children...began to cry after him to r Pilgrim's Progress is about two delusional assholes wandering around being dicks to people, so it's basically a takeoff of Don Quixote. But the dreaming narrator seems unconscious of the fact that the pilgrims are both jerks. I suppose it's possible that they're not supposed to be jerks at all, but...no, that can't be right. They're such jerks. It starts with a guy named Christian abandoning his family to wander off in search of a magical city. "His wife and children...began to cry after him to return, but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying Life! Life! Eternal life!" It's pretty funny, in a mean kind of way. So he takes off and immediately falls into the Slough of Despond (translation: "Marsh of Bummers"), and we immediately see that he's not only a dick (see above) but not very bright. He flails away through the mud, and as he's finally struggling out of it, some other guy comes by like what's up, and Christian is all "as I was going thither I fell in here," and the dude is like, "But why did you not look for the steps?" Christian's all, "There were steps?" Womp womp. And then he runs across some virgins. "Come, good Christian, since we have been so loving to you, to receive you in our house this night..." Woohoo, virgins! I guess it was pretty smart after all for him to run out on his family. He picks up his very own Sancho Panza along the way, a dude named Faithful - people have funny names in this book - and they recognize kindred dick spirits in each other; they will have great fun being mean to everyone else they meet for the rest of the book. Right away, for example, they run into a dude named Talkative, and they're just pricks to him for basically no reason. I guess Talkative's name is ironic or something because he actually does very little of the talking, and whenever he does open his mouth they just bag on him mercilessly:Faithful:Some cry out against sin even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it....The proverb is true of you which is said of a whore, to wit, that she is a shame to all women; so are you a shame to all professors. Talkative: Since you are ready...to judge as rashly as you do, I cannot help but conclude that you are some peevish or melancholy man, not fit to be discourse with. Talkative has done nothing to infer that he's a sinner. Christian has heard rumors about him, that's all, and Faithful is like okay, good enough! And then they ditch him. Anyway, so then they pass through Vanity Fair, which has all kinds of stuff for sale, but they're like "We buy the truth!" which doesn't really make any sense but fine, save your money. Unfortunately the merchants are pissed off about that, so they torture and burn Faithful to death, which you're like holy shit, where did that come from? It's pretty gross. Luckily he's replaced by a guy named Hopeful who's exactly the same as Faithful in every way, so...whatever? If Christian's going to never mention Faithful again after watching him get tortured to death, I guess I won't either. So they ditch another guy or two, and sing some shitty songs - their idea of a fun chat is to sing shitty songs - and then Christian is all "Oooh, shortcut!" and of course they're captured by a giant and chained up in his dungeon for like a week, and he's about to kill them when - get this - suddenly Christian is like oh shit, I totally forgot, I have a magic key with me that will open anything. This is another ongoing theme: Christian just forgetting shit. It'll come up again later. So they unlock their chains and amble off, and Christian's like I know the way back, and Hopeful is like you know what, maybe I'll lead the way for a while, homie.Christian: Who could have thought that this path should have led us out of the way? Hopeful: I was afraid on it at the very first, and therefore gave you that gentle caution.They should have named him "Passive Aggressive." They get lost again in no time, and once again they're eventually like oh shit, "They also gave us a note of directions about the way, for our more sure finding thereof, but therein we have also forgotten to read." It's a miracle these two bumbling nincompoops ever make it anywhere at all. And then there's another case of them ditching a perfectly nice guy. His name is Ignorance, of all things, and he's like "I'm a holy pilgrim too!" but Christian is all,Why, or by what, art thou persuaded that thou hast left all for God and heaven? Ignorance: My heart tells me so. Christian: The wise man says, "He that trusts his own heart is a fool." (Prov. 28:26) Ignorance: This is spoken of an evil heart, but mine is a good one...I will never believe that my heart is thus bad. Christian: Therefore thou never hadst one good thought concerning thyself in thy life. Ignorance: That is your faith, but not mine; yet mine, I doubt not, is as good as yours, though I have not in my head so many whimsies as you. Look, here's the thing: it's not this dude's fault his parents named him Ignorance. It was a dick move on their part, and sure, if it was me I might come up with a nickname like Igny or something, but I feel like Christian and Hopeful are judging him more by the name than by the perfectly innocuous things he says. This is an ongoing theme - people with bummer names getting shat on for it - and it just seems hella uncool. Anyway, Christian and Hopeful respond by wandering off while chanting at him, "Well, Ignorance, wilt thou yet foolish be, To slight good counsel, ten times given thee?" Actually chanting at him. It's moments like this that led George Bernard Shaw to describe it as "a consistent attack on morality and respectability, without a word that one can remember against vice and crime." Later on Ignorance will get to the gates of Heaven and it turns out that Christian and Hopeful are right: he totally doesn't get in. He is instead bound and thrown straight into Hell, so that sucks for him, and if you thought that this was going to be a book where Christian and Hopeful learn a valuable lesson at the end about not being dicks to absolutely everyone, this ending isn't going to satisfy you any more than Don Quixote's did. Because it turns out that the God of John Bunyan actually is Christian's God. This is the menacing, Puritan God our American forefathers sailed to America shrieking about - the one Sinners are in the Angry Hands of - and I don't care for Him. He is too much of a dick for me. The book itself has its moments. It's vividly written; there are exciting parts; it's not boring. But it's nowhere near as good as its exact contemporary Paradise Lost, which leads you to wonder about its enduring popularity. Is it just possible that Christians are so fond of it because it's quite a bit simpler than Milton? Because the fact is, Christian is not very bright.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I have a few versions of this on my shelves from the nicely bound hard back to paper backs I can hand out (you know "loan"). This is (as I'm sure most already know) an allegorical journey depicting the struggles of living the Christian life. John Bunyan was a Baptist imprisoned when it was against the law to be a be Baptist. He was imprisoned for (aprox.) twelve years for refusing to convert to Anglicanism (Church of England)...this sort of thing by the way is the reason for the first amendment, I have a few versions of this on my shelves from the nicely bound hard back to paper backs I can hand out (you know "loan"). This is (as I'm sure most already know) an allegorical journey depicting the struggles of living the Christian life. John Bunyan was a Baptist imprisoned when it was against the law to be a be Baptist. He was imprisoned for (aprox.) twelve years for refusing to convert to Anglicanism (Church of England)...this sort of thing by the way is the reason for the first amendment, not a worry that a child would be asked to pray when their parent is an atheist or the fear that "IN God We Trust" might end up on a coin. While he was imprisoned Bunyan wrote this book. Even if you disagree with his doctrine ( I and many other Christians do in some places) this work is well worth reading. Pilgrim lives in the City of Destruction. He's one of the few who realizes that the City of Destruction is actually destined for destruction. He learned this by "reading the book in his hand". Setting out for the Celestial City he must first go to and through the Wicket Gate and to the Cross. There the huge burden that weighs him down, (his sin) falls away and his name is changed to Christian. The book then follows Christian's journey, in allegorical form giving account of his trials, his mistakes and ultimate destination. The book was written in 1678 and sometimes the language may stymy a bit, but it's a wonderful book. Even if the theology may not be spot on for all Christians it is true to the basic teachings. It will encourage Christians and by existing at all endorses freedom of speech.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    991. The pilgrim's progress, John Bunyan (1628 - 1688) The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. It has also been cited as the first novel written in English. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و سوم ماه جولای سال 2003 میلادی عنوان: سیر و سلوک زائر: مقایسه تطبیقی عرفان ‎991. The pilgrim's progress, John Bunyan (1628 - 1688) The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. It has also been cited as the first novel written in English. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و سوم ماه جولای سال 2003 میلادی عنوان: سیر و سلوک زائر: مقایسه تطبیقی عرفان اسلام و مسیحیت؛ نوشته: جان بانی ین؛ ترجمه: گلنار حامدی؛ کشخصات نشر: تهران، مدحت، 1381، در 414 ص؛ فروست: ادیان و عرفان 02؛ شابک: 9649230505، کتابنامه از ص 411 تا 414، عنوان دیگر مقایسه تطبیقی عرفان اسلام و مسیحیت، موضوع : داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن شانزدهم و هفدهم میلادی عنوان دوم: سیر و سلوک سالک؛ نوشته: جان بانیان؛ برگردان: امین راستی بهبهانی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، پیام امروز، 1390، در 215 ص، شابک: 9789645706577، موضوع زیارت مسیحی - داستان، داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 16 و 17 م داستان با یک خواب آغاز می‌شود و آن شخص می‌فهمد که باید از شهری که در آن هست (شهر فنا) سفر کند به شهر آسمانی، که تمام ماجراها که بسیار معنوی و دقیق هستند در این راه برای او رخ می‌دهد. ا. شربیانی

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution. J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.” The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful allegory of th The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution. J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.” The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful allegory of the beginning, progression, and conclusion of the true Christian life. Rich in Biblical theology, it tells the story of the trials, temptations, and triumphs of a man named Christian in his pilgrimage from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and eternal life. Many of the events we read include universal tales about human struggles through hardship with which anyone can identify. Some of the places through which we follow Christian in his pilgrimage include the Delectable Mountains, Hill of Difficulty, Palace Beautiful (an allegory of the local Christian congregation), Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, Valley of Humiliation, Hill Clear, Vanity Fair, Valley of the Shadow of Death, By-Path Meadow, the dangerous Enchanted Ground, River of Death, etc. Sin makes this world a dry and weary land. The road to the Celestial City is always an ascent (Psalm 24:3). However, the Lord Jesus Christ is a place of shelter and refuge. He is the Shelter from the storm of affliction and rain. The Pilgrim’s Progress encourages me that by God’s grace, albeit whichever valleys through which I may pass, whatever slough into which I may have fallen, whatever rivers to ford, or whichever Hill of Difficulty I may climb in my journey … my Guide is ever watchful, my Deliverer unfailing, and He is indeed faithful in keeping and persevering His people till they arrive home at the Celestial City—that glorious, Heavenly City built not by the hands of man—whose Maker and Builder is God. Every Christian can learn and be encouraged by the Biblical instructions from this story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Midway upon the journey between my home and work did I open the case of my kindle, and in that case I did there find a kindle. Then, I turned this kindle on and lo! what there did I find? The Pilgrim’s Progress. And so mine eyes began to read the screen. Thus, I did set upon another journey at that time, traveling from the beginning of the book to the end. And there I did find many new acquaintances. My first companion I came upon was Mr. Amusement. But he quickly left me, and then did Mr. Boredo Midway upon the journey between my home and work did I open the case of my kindle, and in that case I did there find a kindle. Then, I turned this kindle on and lo! what there did I find? The Pilgrim’s Progress. And so mine eyes began to read the screen. Thus, I did set upon another journey at that time, traveling from the beginning of the book to the end. And there I did find many new acquaintances. My first companion I came upon was Mr. Amusement. But he quickly left me, and then did Mr. Boredom come along. Occasionally Mr. Interest dropped by, as did Mr. Entertainment, but Mr. Boredom was my most faithful companion from beginning to end. When finally I did reach the end, a beautiful man did appear called Mr. Relief, and his good friend Mr. Thank-God-This-Is-Over did appear as well. Yea, and we all fell to laughing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    A Response to Paul Bryant's Review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Mr. Honest Then it came to pass a while after, that there was a post in the town that inquired for Mr. Honest Paul Bryant. So he came to the house where he was, and delivered to his hand these lines: “Thou art commanded to be ready against this day seven-night, to present thyself before thy Lord at his Father’s house. “And for a token that my message is true, all the daughters of music, even the mothers of invention, shall A Response to Paul Bryant's Review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Mr. Honest Then it came to pass a while after, that there was a post in the town that inquired for Mr. Honest Paul Bryant. So he came to the house where he was, and delivered to his hand these lines: “Thou art commanded to be ready against this day seven-night, to present thyself before thy Lord at his Father’s house. “And for a token that my message is true, all the daughters of music, even the mothers of invention, shall be brought low.” Eccles. 12:4. Then Mr. Honest Paul Bryant called for his friends, and said unto them, “I die, but shall make no will. You can have all of my books, even the fat ones that stop the doors. “As for my honesty, it shall go with me; let him that comes after be told of this, that I have lived a long life and read a lot of books, but I have still not read William Gaddis or David Foster Wallace.” When the day that he was to be gone was come, he addressed himself to go over the river. Now the river at that time over-flowed its banks in some places; but Mr. Honest Paul Bryant, in his lifetime, had spoken to one Good-Conscience Manny Rayner to meet him there, the which he also did, and lent him his hand, and so helped him get his leg over, as he had been wont to do. The last words of Mr. Honest Paul Bryant were, “Grace reigns!” So he left the world, and Manny was happy, because he would continue to reign number one on God’s own Earth, most especially in England. Mr. Valiant-for-Truth After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-Truth Ian Graye was taken with a summons by the same post as the other, and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain.” Eccles. 12:6 (or was it Bluebottle?). He did analyse this message greatly and at length (exceeding 20,000 characters) and when he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then said he, “I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, by reading William Gaddis and David Foster Wallace and, yea, even Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. “My sword I give to him or her (but preferably her) that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him or her that can get it. And it shall most likely be a youth called Steve or Stephen, or a damsel called (Jenn)ifer or Jenn(ifer) or some such. “My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder. “ When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Cor. 15:55. GodReads So Mr. Valiant-for-Truth Ian Graye passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side. As did the strumpets who had ended their travails in Heaven. And when he did arrive there and wander around, he did say, “My Lord, there are people here in Heaven who did not read William Gaddis and David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon. Nor have I been able to locate any one of these fine Authors in this Heavenly precinct.” And the Lord did say of Gaddis, “He shall gather no Recognitions in Heaven. For it is said, God is great, not Gaddis.” And of DeLillo, He did say, “He is safely in an Underworld of his own manufacture.” So too did He remark of Pynchon, "I am told he has been distracted by some beings from the planetoid Katspiel." And of Wallace, the Lord did say with considerable gravity, “Alas poor Wallace, I knew him, Lothario, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. But nineteen score and eight end-notes? Ya gotta be kiddin' me, right?” And Mr. Valiant-for-Truth Ian Graye did wonder about the Lord’s Lower East Side accent.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    simply amazing. There is a reason why many literary critics consider this the best Christian book/read next to the Bible. This book although not a difficult read compared to other literary classics will definitely challenge you with its many allegories and metaphors of the Christian life. For anyone who thinks the Christian life is a soft cushy way needs to read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Fascinating allegory about man’s search for salvation. The fact that this was first published in 1678 by John Bunyan (1628-1688) and its message still rings true up to now makes this an appropriate read for those who believe in life after death. The only problem is that if you hate classics, then you will find this a struggle to read. Methinks however, that if you like novels with pilgrimage as theme (Paolo Coelho’s Pilgrimage is a good example) or those even crusade adventures like Lord of the Fascinating allegory about man’s search for salvation. The fact that this was first published in 1678 by John Bunyan (1628-1688) and its message still rings true up to now makes this an appropriate read for those who believe in life after death. The only problem is that if you hate classics, then you will find this a struggle to read. Methinks however, that if you like novels with pilgrimage as theme (Paolo Coelho’s Pilgrimage is a good example) or those even crusade adventures like Lord of the Rings, Sword in a Stone, etc., you might find this interesting. Just substitute Celestial City as the destination instead of Mordor (LOTR) and salvation (instead of excalibur (Sword in a Stone) and they are all just the same banana. The story is divided into 2 parts. The first part has Christian, the father, who dreams one night of a book saying that he will die in pain if he does not find salvation. In that dream, a man called Evangelist has told him that salvation can be found in Celestial City. In the morning, he asks his wife and children if they want to accompany him. They refused. So Christian was joined by two of his neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable but later, the first one goes back. Then soon after experiencing the Slough of Despond, Pliable goes back too to the town where they originate. What follows is the story of Christian’s journey and the people he meets along the way: Help, Worldly Wiseman, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Discretion, Piety, Prudence, Charity, Goodwill, Interpreter, Shining Ones, Apollyon (the devil), Faithful, Talkative, Mr. By-ends, Demas, Giant Despair, Diffidence, Temporary, Ignorance, Flatterer, Atheist, and Hopeful. Since the first part is about the father, the second is about his family taking the same route to Celestial City. Christian’s wife, Christiana and their sons: Matthew, Joseph, Samuel and James, change their minds and follow Christian to the Celestial City. However, maybe not to bore the readers, there is almost a new set of characters and adventures that Christian in Part 1 did not meet or go through: Sagacity, Mercy, Interpreter, Ill-Favored Ones, Reliever, Mr. Great-Heart, Watchful, Grim, Mr. Brisk, Mercy, Matthew, Dr. Skill, Maul, Mr. Brisk, Old Honest, Mr. Fearing, Gaius, Giant Good-Slay, Heedless, Too-Bold, Mr. Feeble-Mind, Mr. Ready-to-Halt, Mr. Mnason, Contrite, Valiant-for-Truth, Standfast, and Madam Bubble, I still remember the board game called Snakes and Ladders. This novel is similar to that. Among the characters listed, there are those who are snakes (Apollyon, Obstinate) and there are those who are ladders (Mr. Great-Heart, Help, Faithful, Helpful). The names are obvious so you can figure for yourself. The use of these terms as names instead of fictional names seems to obviously indicate their roles in the journeys. However, I think it adds to the book’s charm and it makes it an easy read even after 4 decades since its first publication. Being an allegory, however, it hardly elicited any faith-awakening emotion from me. It is more of an adventure or a fable intended for children. It is just fascinating to be exposed to a 17th century work that deals on faith. Then of course, learning that it had strong influences on the succeeding writers like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, E. E. Cummings, Alan Moore makes this a worthwhile read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Classic Christain Allegory from a contemporary of Milton? Or an upbeat adventure fantasy with monster slaying, epic quests, moral quandaries, and much deceit? It's very easy to fall back on this as a tool for moral teaching especially since the lessons being learned are all in the names of the characters, but I am forced to remember that this kind of everyman allegory has a long, long tradition in literature. I'd rather see this as an easy to read upbeat fantasy adventure featuring first The Chri Classic Christain Allegory from a contemporary of Milton? Or an upbeat adventure fantasy with monster slaying, epic quests, moral quandaries, and much deceit? It's very easy to fall back on this as a tool for moral teaching especially since the lessons being learned are all in the names of the characters, but I am forced to remember that this kind of everyman allegory has a long, long tradition in literature. I'd rather see this as an easy to read upbeat fantasy adventure featuring first The Christian who goes on without his family to have adventures and his death AND THEN to have the second half be the rest of his family following down the same path, albeit somewhat differently. The fact is... it's fun. Ignore all the religion stuff for a moment. Read it as a story. It's STILL FUN. Epic quest time! It's also a pretty decent antidote to your normal GrimDark fantasy binge. :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This isn't easy for me to do, but I admit it. I give up. I can't make myself slog through this anymore. I picked this up as part of my ongoing project to read classics I've somehow missed out on in the first 31 years of my life. Also, an old friend listed it as one of her 20 Most Memorable Books on facebook, so I was expecting to be moved. Or instructed. Or touched. Maybe that was part of the problem. But I've had it out from the library for 6 weeks, renewed it once already, the due date is loomi This isn't easy for me to do, but I admit it. I give up. I can't make myself slog through this anymore. I picked this up as part of my ongoing project to read classics I've somehow missed out on in the first 31 years of my life. Also, an old friend listed it as one of her 20 Most Memorable Books on facebook, so I was expecting to be moved. Or instructed. Or touched. Maybe that was part of the problem. But I've had it out from the library for 6 weeks, renewed it once already, the due date is looming ever closer and it's not getting any better. It's an Allegory with a capital "A" and the moralizing is of far more importance than plot or characterization, so it's difficult to find a through story line. Basically, Christian is on a journey and meets with various weakness, temptations, and sins along the way personified as characters. There are interesting insights into human nature and the path to Heaven/The Celestial City, but it's so wordy that the reader has to wade through a whole lot to find those nuggets. I'm sure it's valuable as a Christian text, perhaps similar in its day to C.S. Lewis in ours, but I'm laying it down. For more book reviews, visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nazanin

    بالاخره کتاب خوبی که دوستش نداشتم به پایان رسید، ازون دسته کتابها که انگار قصد کرده بود تا آخر دنیا تموم نشه... قبل از اینکه خواندنش را شروع کنم تصور می کردم یکی از لذت بخش ترین تجربه های کتابخوانیم را خواهم داشت مخصوصا که در پیش گفتار هم ذکر شده بود که " یکی ازبهترین و مشهورترین آثار عرفانی مسیحی که مراحل سیر وسلوک و مقامات و منازل طریق سالکان را به نیکی تصویر کرده ..." اما ظاهرا "همیشه اونطوری نمیشه که ما فکر می کنیم" ... تقریبا از همان صفحات ابتدایی، حس کردم متن به دلم جفت و جور نمیشه (یا من ب بالاخره کتاب خوبی که دوستش نداشتم به پایان رسید، ازون دسته کتابها که انگار قصد کرده بود تا آخر دنیا تموم نشه... قبل از اینکه خواندنش را شروع کنم تصور می کردم یکی از لذت بخش ترین تجربه های کتابخوانیم را خواهم داشت مخصوصا که در پیش گفتار هم ذکر شده بود که " یکی ازبهترین و مشهورترین آثار عرفانی مسیحی که مراحل سیر وسلوک و مقامات و منازل طریق سالکان را به نیکی تصویر کرده ..." اما ظاهرا "همیشه اونطوری نمیشه که ما فکر می کنیم" ... تقریبا از همان صفحات ابتدایی، حس کردم متن به دلم جفت و جور نمیشه (یا من باهاش جفت و جور نمیشم!) ... در واقع شیوه روایی برام جذابیتی نداشت. مطلبی که در ادامه می آید برگرفته ازمقدمه اثر است و به نظرم یک دورنمای نسبی را از این کتاب ارائه می کند " کتاب سیرو سلوک زائر اثر جان بانی ین از شاهکارهای عرفانی ادبیات انگلیس است که در قالب کنایات و استعارات و تشبیهات بیان شده و نموداری است از تلاش روح انسان در جدال با زندگی برای عبور از فراز و نشیب های دوران حیات و رسیدن به وادی رستگاری و تقدس و شرح مخاطرات و مخافات ، غم ها و شکست ها و ناامیدیها یا موفقیت هایی که پیش می آید...مطالب جنبه نمادی دارد در این نمادهای عرفانی ، نویسنده اشخاص مختلفی را تجسم می کند. این اثر مانند برخی از آثار عرفای اسلامی مانند منطق الطیر و قصه الغربه الغریبه داستانی تمثیلی است، با این تفاوت که در اثر شیخ عطار،مرغان نماد سالکانی اند که از وادیها می گذرند اما در اثر جان بانی ین وادیها به صورت شهرها و سرزمینها توصیف شده است. مقصد و هدف مانند داستان شیخ شهاب الدین سهروردی همان ،طور سیناست....کتاب نشانگر سعی وتلاش روحی است که در جست و جوی رستگاری برآمده است....این کتاب در زمانِ خودِ نویسنده چندین بار تجدید چاپ شد هزاران نسخه از آن تهیه شد و در بسیاری از خانه ها در کنار کتاب مقدس جای گرفت مانند کتاب مقدس به زبانهای متعدد ترجمه شد و جان بانی ین را به عنوان طبیب روح شناساند ..." جان بانی ین کیست؟ ..." واعظ ،عارف و سخنوری توانا که بسیاری از خطابه هایش به صورت بیانیه های دینی باقی مانده است....او یکی از بزرگترین واعظان مذهب پروتستان و از مخالفان کلیسای سلطنتی انگلستان (قرن هفدهم میلادی) بود"... ص14 کتاب شامل سه فصل اصلی است : سیر و سلوک زائر (که در دو بخش آمده است) زندگی، اندیشه و آثار جان بانی ین جان بانی ین و عرفای اسلامی ماجرای کتاب از این قرار است که روزی نویسنده به خواب میرود ومردی را در خواب می بیند : ..." خواب مرا در ربود، در عالم رویا مردی را دیدم با جامه ژنده که در نقطه ای ایستاده روی برگردانده از دیار، کتابی در دست و باری گران بر پشت...برخود می لرزید با آه و اسف خود را مخاطب قرار داد و گفت :چه کنم؟ چه کنم؟..." ص23 و اینگونه وارد داستان فردی مسیحی می شویم که باری سنگین ( که بعد متوجه می شویم بار گناه است) بر پشت دارد و پریشان خاطر، نمی داند که چه باید کند و کدام سو برود ، به سوی خانواده اش می رود و راز دلش را فاش می کند اما همگی تصور می کنند که او هذیان می گوید ونه تنها از سوی آنها بلکه از سوی همسایگان و آشنایان و اهالی دیارش مورد استهزا و سرزنش قرار میگیرد و تنها و رنجیده به سوی مزارع می رود تا اینکه فردی به نام " بشیر" ( واعظانی که مژده انجیل و صلح می آورند- مترجم) به سوی او می آید و " دروازه نور و بهجت " را به او نشان می دهد و او به آن سمت می دود در این بین خانواده و چند تن از همسایگان با زاری وشیون پی اش می آیند تا منصرفش کنند و دو نفر از همسایگانش به نام های "خودرای" و "نرمخو" با او گفتگو می کنند.... سرانجام نرمخومتقاعد و همراهش می شود و حرکت می کنند اما در همان ابتدای راه به "باتلاق نومیدی" می رسند و هردو سخت در آن گرفتار می شوند....و به این ترتیب، مسیحی به مسیر پر ماجرای خود ادامه می دهد و منزل به منزل در راه رسیدن به دروازه نور (بهشت و دیدار) اتفاقات را یکی بعد از دیگری پشت سر میگذارد یکی از ویژگیهای به نظرم جالب و متفاوت داستان، این هست که شخصیت ها و مکان ها به جای اسم خاص، همگی با صفات و خصایص معرفی می شوند مثلا آقای امیدوار، خانم رحمت ، آقای فرصت طلب ، آقای نرمخو ،باتلاق نا امیدی، قلعه قانون ، دیو تردید و ... ( این رو هم بگم که این مشخصه، اصلا از بار کسالت داستان کم نمی کند) از یک جایی به بعد، داستان مرد مسیحی که همان سالک و قهرمان کتاب و به عقیده مترجم، اصلا خود جان بانی ین هست، تکراری، ملال آور و بی هیچ جذبه و حتی منطق خاصی، به سختی و به کُندی پیش میرود ، شیوه روایی به نظرم به موازات پیامی که کتاب دارد، به دل نمی شیند و هیچ شورو هیجانی برای پیگیری سرنوشت این زائر نمی آفریند ...ماجراها ضرباهنگ یکنواختی دارند، شخصیت های مثبتش، شبیه کاراکترهای خوب اما تخیلی سریال ها پردازش شدند که فقط حوصله آدم رو سر می برند .... این بخش (ماجرای مرد مسیحی) که به انتها می رسد در بخش دوم فصل اول، بانی ین، تازه به سراغ خانواده سالک میرود همسر و چهار پسرش که در اثر اتفاقاتی آنها به اشتباهات خود پی می برند ومصمم می شوند که مسیر پدرشان را پیش بگیرند و البته طبق معمول باز هم از سوی اطرافیان تخطئه می شوند اما با مادرو دوشیزه رحمت! (یکی از همسایه های خوبشون...) سفر رو آغاز می کنند ودوباره نویسنده، قشنگ با حوصله به شرح داستان خانواده سالک میپردازد، دوباره همه همون داستانها و مسایل و افراد خسته کننده و .... راستش اگه عذاب وجدان نمیگرفتم، بر خلاف رسم همیشگی خودم، کتاب رو از نیمه رها می کردم.... شاید بهترین بخش کتاب، فصل پایانی بود که مترجم، این اثر را با سایر نمونه های عرفانی مثل منطق الطیر و آثاری ازسهروردی، هجویری، جنید بغدادی و ... مقایسه می کند، منازل و مقاماتی که عارفان پشت سر میگذارند و حالاتی که در این مسیر تجربه می کنند (البته در همین قسمت هم به نظرم بعضی ازمطالب یک مقدار تکرار می شد) . از همه اینها که بگذریم دیشب بعد از اتمام کتاب ، فکر میکردم که کلا چه فرقی می کند از اشراق به تفکر یا از تفکر به شهود و اشراق رسیدن؟ اصلا چه اهمیتی دارد که وادی اول چیست و وادی دوم و... کدام؟ این همه طول و تفصیل برای چه؟ اصلا چرا باید مراحل طی طریق را بلد بود؟ چه تفاوتی می کند که علا الدوله سمنانی مقامات را هفت مرحله بداند یا ابوسعید ابوالخیر از چهل مقام نام ببرد؟ مگه آدم استشمام عطر گل و بوستان رو مرحله به مرحله می آموزد؟ مگه نگاه کردن به درخت، آداب خاصی داره؟ مگه لذت بردن از نجوای عبور رود و چشمه رو تو مکتب و محضر یاد میدن؟ مگر به غمزه ای، صد مدرس رو مبهوت نکردند؟ مگر آن شبانی که خالصانه در پی خالق بود ، مراحل و مناسکی رو پشت سر گذاشته بود؟ ازسهرودی خبر داشت یا ازعطار و سنت آگوستین و جان بانی ین؟.... به هرحال مقصد یک رنگ و مَرکب به هزار رنگ و نقش، راه یکی و بی راهه بی نهایت واین میان، فاصله خط و خطا، یک الف نحیف .... باز هم نمیدونم ...بگذریم ...من ِ ابجد خوان ِ کُنجی نشین رو چه به دخالت در اقوال و آثار عرفای نامداری که تاریخ به اونها میبالد ؟ شاید اگر قبل ها یا بعدها به این کتاب می رسیدم ، خاطره مطبوع تری ازش تو ذهنم شکل می گرفت ، به نظرم مهمه که آدم در چه زمانی رو به روی چه کتابی قرار بگیره... در این نوبت، برای من چندان دلنشین نبود ، اما شاید وقتی دیگربا حوصله ای تازه شده، برگشتم سراغش...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    The Pilgrim's Progress, or Christianity for Dummies by John Bunyan. So... John Bunyan was a crazy and apparently exceedingly stupid man who wrote one of the most popular books ever in the Western literary tradition. I write of this book, obviously. The book's popularity and even its status as a Historically Important Classic is a harsh reminder of how immensely stupid and crazy humans, generally, are and always were. Because this book's status is such a harsh reminder of that fact, it's basically The Pilgrim's Progress, or Christianity for Dummies by John Bunyan. So... John Bunyan was a crazy and apparently exceedingly stupid man who wrote one of the most popular books ever in the Western literary tradition. I write of this book, obviously. The book's popularity and even its status as a Historically Important Classic is a harsh reminder of how immensely stupid and crazy humans, generally, are and always were. Because this book's status is such a harsh reminder of that fact, it's basically the most depressing thing you could ever read, if you have some level of intelligence. Of course, the book is not a novel really, but an allegory, and it does indeed have Historical Importance, if you're one of those insufferable fucks who think we should give the remotest semblance of a shit about the several hundred year old ramblings of a lunatic. It has Historical Importance because it's part of the English Puritan literature of the time and basically is relevant w/r/t that theology and its various dimensions and how this is, although batshit stupid even for the time, important, maybe, to understanding the progress of the arts and what not at the time, and how this fits into the rise of culture post-Middle Ages etc. Except, you know, allegories had existed for a long-ass time before this thing reared its ugly head, and some of them were complex and balanced and literate and so on, including those in, uh, the Bible. Plus, there was a lot of very good literature before this came out, including in the religious tradition (see Milton, see Donne, and see others), so this thing's brutal awfulness is really inexcusable as "of the time" or whatever. No, it's just bad. I opened this review/rant by calling this Christianity for Dummies, which is basically what it is. True, its explicit Protestant theology was different and what not, and this probably mattered a long time ago. But it reads, and probably has read for a long time, as Christianity for Dummies. You see, Bunyan's allegory can't even be called thinly-veiled. It's basically one insufferable lecture/sermon. I guess on a technicality it qualifies as an allegory, but it has to be the most ham-fisted and ridiculous allegory I've encountered. Here's a list of characters, which aren't really characters as such I suppose, because basically the names cover the whole deal; unlike other allegories, where a character may represent something or quality, here the names are it, there is no actual representation: Christian, Evangelist, Help, Worldly Wiseman, Hypocrisy, Discretion, Piety, Prudence, Charity, The Interpreter, Faithful, Talkative, Mr. By-ends, Hopeful, Giant Despair, Diffidence, Temporary, Mercy, Mr. Great-heart, Old Honest, Mr. Fearing, Mr. Feeble-mind, Valiant-for-truth. "Oh, but it's of the time, Adam. Sure compared to anything written after it that's just hilarious and sad and not even endearing and after ten pages just infuriating, but it's of the time." Shut the fuck up, strawman. Compared to most things written before it, again, including the fucking Bible itself, which most of this is a simplified rehash of with the slight narrative frame of A Man's Journey to Salvation, it's also just totally insanely stupid and infuriating. But besides the fact that this is just terrible when it comes to any formal criteria, it's also just impossible to read if you're a non-believer or even anything resembling a modern Christian. The intensely spelled-out lessons here are either the worst ones you could choose from the Bible, or the product, ironically, of years of stupid Catholic theologians' bullshit, or they are, more rarely, really of the time in that they're newfangled Protestant things that still lie coiled at the heart of the darkest and most unpleasant aspects of contemporary Western culture. But even if I didn't find this whole thing morally disgusting on nearly every level, it's just horrifically bad. It's shit allegory, shit fiction, shit everything. Written in prose bad even for the time, because you know, there was other prose written at the time. Take a look at it. It's not this bad. And get this: nobody needs to read this today. Nobody. You can just, uh, talk about it, if you need to cover it and its content for historical purposes in the study of literature. There is absolutely no reason to actually read the thing because it has absolutely zero literary quality, or relevance, or importance. Here's everything you need to know about The Pilgrim's Progress, or Christianity for Dummies: it's real stupid, anything in it that's remotely interesting is in the Bible, or in books about the Bible, or about Christianity, that are far better than this, and it's just a hideously boring thing written by a lunatic, though it's popular because some people need to read things like this to dangerously simplify and remove any quality and intelligence from old myths and allegories, and write them anew in a supremely bullshitty manner. To the extent that this is Historically Important, that importance is in knowing about it and what the deal is with it. But you shouldn't actually read it, unless you're a masochist. And really, I'm not the kinda guy who thinks you should never read old books. I just named Milton and Donne as two examples of near-contemporaries of Bunyan who are, uh, good writers, and as such still relevant in a literary sense, and who also are relevant in a historical sense, but much more so than Bunyan. Because this book has no relevance in a study of the history of allegories, in the study of the history of the novel, or poetry, or anything other than the persistent and sad idiocy of human beings, who have taken it upon themselves to translate this thing to more than a hundred languages, and also to still talk about a complete piece of shit like this centuries after it was written, instead of doing something real Christian like helping others, doing something real literary, like reading almost anything else, or doing something better and more important with their basic human existence, like just talking to another person, or just sitting still and doing nothing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    I'd wanted to write this review a while ago. However since I can't write it then I'll have to write it now. The Pilgrim's Progress is one of the most famous examples of allegory and also one of the most popular books ever published. I've heard that at one time it was as common to find this book in a home as a copy of The Bible. This was one of those books I was introduced to as a child. You probably think I was an odd kid, reading books like this at 8 or 9 years old. And you'd probably be right. I'd wanted to write this review a while ago. However since I can't write it then I'll have to write it now. The Pilgrim's Progress is one of the most famous examples of allegory and also one of the most popular books ever published. I've heard that at one time it was as common to find this book in a home as a copy of The Bible. This was one of those books I was introduced to as a child. You probably think I was an odd kid, reading books like this at 8 or 9 years old. And you'd probably be right. Or rather, perhaps I was slightly advanced for my age. I've always been the sort of reader where at the mere suggestion of a book or author I'd go and investigate them. That was why I read Paradise Lost a few years ago. It is also why I've been reading G.K. Chesterton recently. For those not in the know this is a story about one man by the name of Pilgrim and his journey through various locations (each one named for an emotional, physical or spiritual hardship or positive). It is the story of one man leaving a life of apathy and setting out to find the truth. A story so endearing it has lasted hundreds of years. I recommend this. Not just from a sense of nostalgia, but because it is a classic tale. It is a story that has had great consequence historically and has consequence today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I must say that I struggled rather with this book; I continually procrastinated from picking it up, and even when I actually got around to reading it, it was frankly pretty boring. Nonetheless, I'm sure it's a much better book than I give it credit for; context is all, so don't come back to me with essay-length descriptions of the circumstances under which it was written (I already know. I can and do read. Also I possess a brain) I did not like this book and this review explains why. That is all I must say that I struggled rather with this book; I continually procrastinated from picking it up, and even when I actually got around to reading it, it was frankly pretty boring. Nonetheless, I'm sure it's a much better book than I give it credit for; context is all, so don't come back to me with essay-length descriptions of the circumstances under which it was written (I already know. I can and do read. Also I possess a brain) I did not like this book and this review explains why. That is all. I was brought up in the Catholic tradition by a devout but sensible mother; baptised, reconciled, communioned, confirmed. I passed from insincere observance to a vague agnosticism to an indignant atheism to general indifference, but I am still surrounded and informed by the Catholic church and its way of thinking. The thing about institutionalised Catholicism is that it's a rather insincere beast; it's entirely ok with conspicuous wealth (e.g., the Vatican), moral lassitude (e.g., the Vatican) and deliberate and systematic misreadings of the Bible and all its teachings (e.g. the Vatican). What I like about Catholicism, though, is most of the non-Vatican Catholics. God, in their mind, is pretty much ok with non-literal interpretations of the Bible and therefore also with other things that both the Bible and the Vatican is decidedly ambivalent about: evolution, contraception, homosexuality, the female half of the human race, and so on.** My mother is cette espèce de Catholique; without any angst, she comfortably manages to simultaneously be a devout Catholic, an excellent biochemist and a generally tolerant human being. Naturally, the content, philosophy and aesthetic of The Pilgrim's Progress is somewhat at odds with Catholicism, and even more at odds with the mostly liberal-democratic, secular society in which I have lived my entire life. I railed against this book with every fibre of my being for the entirety of its length. This, to me, only vaguely resembles what Christianity or any religion is about. Its Puritanical fire-and-brimstone approach was completely unfamiliar to me and impossible to identify with or distance myself from. Christian leaves his wife and family to languish in the City of Destruction; he blunders his way blindly and stupidly through any number of obvious religious allegories; he unquestioningly laps up the ideology of every character named with a virtuous adjective; he chastises with intolerance and narrow-mindedness anyone who deviates even slightly from his dogmatic beliefs. His obsession with reaching eternal glory in the Celestial City is characterised by a disturbing veneration of objects such as "crowns of gold", the very same objects that whose worship he despises in people not in heaven. This to me is an egregious misreading of religious texts (not that I've read the originals; so shoot me), not to mention blatant hypocrisy. (Maybe, like in the Bible, Bunyan's being metaphorical about the crowns of gold and all that. But I don't think so. Bunyan was the uneducated son of a tinsmith - whatever virtue this book has comes from the power his vivid imagination invested in the tired old idea of pilgrimage, not the sophistication of his intellect. This book is all about taking religious metaphors and making them real, concrete. The crowns of gold are meant literally. Maybe he was just really stupid and/or deluded by faith? I think it's possible.) There is no discussion in this book; every conversation involves either one person proselytising and the other person agreeing vehemently, or one person proselytising and the other disagreeing and then being condemned to Hell (quite literally) with no explanation. Two is the maximum number of people possible in a conversation, even if the third would have to be deaf and blind for this to make sense. Usually characters lay out their confusing and arbitrary-seeming opinions in the form of lists. Names are given according to whichever characteristic Bunyan wants to highlight about a character: ignorance, sloth, avarice, whatever. None of this is makes good literature or profound philosophy; what it makes is a load of crock. Reading criticism was not helpful. Unlike with Don Quixote, the only criticism I found was not of a high standard, and tended to wax lyrical about how great it was without going into any real detail about why. I was totally unable to identify with any conception of this work as a masterpiece of artistic and philosophical exposition. I was also bored and disgusted by George Bernard Shaw's likening of Bunyan to Nietzsche, and his disparagement of Shakespeare in comparison as "a fashionable author who could see nothing in the world but personal aims and the tragedy of their disappointment or the comedy of their incongruity". This, Mr. Shaw, I cannot agree with - Shakespeare writes for always and everyone; Bunyan writes one single narrative expressing a single, narrow view of life. There are good things here, though: mainly his prose, which is excellent in the way the Bible is excellent - possibly because a lot of the best parts are cribbed from the Bible - the valley of the shadow of death, for example. By the waters of Babylon I lay down and wept as I remembered Zion... poetry doesn't get much better than the Bible, especially when set to music (mmmmmm, polyphony). Bunyan's prose is very simple - he uses short words, but they have a fantastic rhythm. This is the opening of the book: As I walked through the wilderness of the world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den [jail], and I laid me down in that place to sleep, and as I slept I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back... LIfe, life, eternal life! There's power here, in these words, and in the very nature of the allegory. The sheer simplicity of making literal all those metaphors! And yet, how striking the result. In small doses. When I consider it carefully. The dramatic and tragic qualities of Christianity are, I believe, one of its redeeming features. Anyone who has, for example, been to the tenebrae mass at a big cathedral will know what I mean, or even a decently-done funeral or memorial service. (I sing in a cathedral choir; I read a book during the sermons and don't take communion or say any of the prayers, but it's educational all the same.) So I suppose in the end I'll give this book three stars, which seems a bit strange, but although I really hated it I also kind of love it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I first heard of this book in Bible college. Today Christianity offers many opposing viewpoints and brings confusion and arguments to many. To those who hunger for and seek truth I understand the difficulty. I had my own journey and had to fail and become desperate before I found the real thing. This book gives clear and concise guidance on the Christian faith and makes it fun and exciting, as we follow a man's dangerous journey to escape the destruction of his own city and journey to the celest I first heard of this book in Bible college. Today Christianity offers many opposing viewpoints and brings confusion and arguments to many. To those who hunger for and seek truth I understand the difficulty. I had my own journey and had to fail and become desperate before I found the real thing. This book gives clear and concise guidance on the Christian faith and makes it fun and exciting, as we follow a man's dangerous journey to escape the destruction of his own city and journey to the celestial fortress.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    DNF Just not for me. It's the writing style and the in-your-face allegories and whatnot. It's just not worth my time as there is the Bible if I want obvious Christianity and fiction which I'll enjoy and don't have to slough-of-despond my way through if I want less obvious Christianity. ;P (I'm not saying it won't be helpful to others; it's not what I need, but it could be what you do!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lise Petrauskas

    Oh, Pilgrim's Progress, how glad I am that I have finally read you and that I'll never have to read you again. Thank you for being shorter and easier to read than I was expecting. Little Women (obvious references) and The Lord of the Rings (not so obvious), both books I've loved since childhood, came to mind as having been heavily influenced by you in different ways. The value in this book lies, for me, in the fact that it gives me some insight into the culture and history of the literature that Oh, Pilgrim's Progress, how glad I am that I have finally read you and that I'll never have to read you again. Thank you for being shorter and easier to read than I was expecting. Little Women (obvious references) and The Lord of the Rings (not so obvious), both books I've loved since childhood, came to mind as having been heavily influenced by you in different ways. The value in this book lies, for me, in the fact that it gives me some insight into the culture and history of the literature that came after and in the Christian mind set that has long been almost incomprehensible to me. Not to say that I get it now, but the word "evangelist" has long had a negative connotation, so much so that I was actually surprised that one of the "good guys" was called "evangelist." Some of my favorite books were written about and from eras in which Christianity was the dominant religion, so it is helpful for me to read a text that would have been so common and ubiquitous among authors I admire. Quotes from The Novel: A Biography by Michael E.C. Schmidt about A Pilgrim's Progress: "Bunyan at his best is not only telling a story but building a marvelous structure in which all the parts relate to one another." "Bunyan is at once more medieval (allegorical) and more modern (synthetic) than most." "Bunyan is less homespun than DeFoe, his imagery more complex and resonant than Richardson's." "These and other formal features create a rich impurity and variety of effect." "...it plays constantly between The Bible, allegory, and the living world, it is more complex in conception and consistent in execution than any English prose work that precedes it. It is original without meaning to be; it entertains even the pagan and atheist heart."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Third time through, finally found an audio version we love! My fourth child will start this in the fall. Love it and highly recommend because of the great discussion.

  22. 4 out of 5

    R.A.

    {2nd read} This is a good book!!! The whole book was great, but I've always loved the last bit the best. When Christian and Hopeful read the Celestial City! It's so wonderful and amazing! And that small part when Ignorance arrives - from riding the rowboat across the river - I always smile, because I remember it so well in the movie! Even though he went to Hell in the end, it still made me laugh when he so proudly rowed across that dangerous river! Anyway, a great read. Of course, I had no choice {2nd read} This is a good book!!! The whole book was great, but I've always loved the last bit the best. When Christian and Hopeful read the Celestial City! It's so wonderful and amazing! And that small part when Ignorance arrives - from riding the rowboat across the river - I always smile, because I remember it so well in the movie! Even though he went to Hell in the end, it still made me laugh when he so proudly rowed across that dangerous river! Anyway, a great read. Of course, I had no choice but to read this as it's for my school, but I enjoyed it. :) {Original} I've read this once and although it was sometimes difficult to understand, it was really good! A proper review will come sometime in the future as I think I'm going to read this book for a report in school! :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    7 things you probably knew about Pilgrim's Progress 22 April 2015 Well, I will have to thank the Classics of the Western Canon discussion group for selecting Pilgrim's Progess for this month's read because otherwise it would have continued to sit on my shelf until such a time as I got around to reading it. Okay, I probably don't follow the readings of many of these groups as closely as some do, but they can be good to spur me on to reading a book that I probably wasn't thinking of reading at the 7 things you probably knew about Pilgrim's Progress 22 April 2015 Well, I will have to thank the Classics of the Western Canon discussion group for selecting Pilgrim's Progess for this month's read because otherwise it would have continued to sit on my shelf until such a time as I got around to reading it. Okay, I probably don't follow the readings of many of these groups as closely as some do, but they can be good to spur me on to reading a book that I probably wasn't thinking of reading at the time. The discussions on this book have also been interesting to follow as well, though I do note the comments do tend to come quite thick and fast and I end up getting left behind. It is also been interesting that my evening church has been studying the Book of Hebrews (or at least the last part of the book) because there are connections, and references, in that part of the Bible to Bunyan's work. Mind you, Bunyan draws heavily on the Bible in this book, but the exploration of the struggles of the Christian life is a central theme to this work. Anyway, instead of simply dumping my thoughts onto the page as I normally do, I thought that I might discuss a number of ideas that came to me as I was reading it. Also, since this is probably one of the most well known books in the English Language, I probably don't need to give a synopsis, or a background, and if you want one there is always Wikipedia. Oh, and I should also mention that Pilgrim's Progress is listed as number two on The Guardian's list of 100 best novels of all time. 1) Allegory is dead Okay, there might be some debate about this, but after a couple of comments on the lack of allegory in use today I realised that people simply do not write like this anymore. In a way the last great allegorical novels were Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (as well as the subsequent books in the Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis. Mind you, I'm not really sure if allegory was actually all that big simply because there are very few allegorical novels that come to mind – Piers Plowman and Gulliver's Travels are two more, but other than that I really can't think of any others. The main reason that I suspect that people don't write allegory is simply because it is really hard to read. However there are a couple of reasons why authors occasionally do so: a) The literature is subversive: One of the reasons is because if they were to say what they were saying directly, and the literature fell into the wrong hands, then the author would land up in an awful lot of trouble. This was the case with some of the more difficult books of the Bible, such as the book of Revelation (as well as Gulliver's Travels and Animal Farm). By writing the way that they did the authors were able to challenge the system, or criticise the ruling authorities, without fear of retribution. As with the case of Revelation, John the Baptist was able to continue to promote his religion in an environment that had effectively banned it. b) The concepts are difficult: This is probably the main reason why Bunyan wrote using allegory (and in a way borrows the style from Jesus who used parables for a similar purpose). What Bunyan was trying to do was to paint a picture of the Christian walk, and to simply write like your standard, everyday theologian would have probably put quite a lot of people off and the book would never have become as well known, and as popular, as it did. Thus through the use of allegory Bunyan is able to turn a dry, and somewhat very heavy topic, into a form that is not only accessible, but also quite enjoyable. 2) The text is very theological Sure, Pilgrim's Progress is a story about a man, in fact a person whom is referred to as an 'everyman' (namely a type of character that anybody and everybody can relate to), who leaves his family and goes on a journey to the Celestial City, but that does not mean that there is no actual discussion of Christian theology. In fact there is quite a lot of discussion about the nature of faith and spirituality. As Christian travels on his journey, not only must he overcome obstacles, but he also meets various people, some good, some bad, and enters into conversation with them. Through these conversations we learn about quite a few aspects of the Christian faith and concepts such as grace, the nature of God, and salvation, are all explored. While the book does paint a number of pictures, Bunyan to does resort to simply explaining a number of concepts through the mouths of his characters. 3) You have a lot of time in prison Okay, according to Wikipedia there is a debate as to whether this book was written during his twelve year stint in goal, or the much shorter stint a little later, however it is generally agreed that it was written while he was in prison. Okay, while prison is probably not a place that any of us should ever aspire to spend the rest of our lives, at least what it does give us is a lot of time, which means we can sit down and write stuff without having to be interrupted with work. It is also a place of solitude meaning that you are less likely to be disturbed. Okay, it probably wasn't a prison like this one: or this one: but that does not necessarily mean that it was any better, or any worse. I'm not sure whether he had to wander around wearing orange overalls, or even if he was given three meals a day (if you were in prison back then you were not guaranteed any of the things that prisoners these days are guaranteed – well, yes, a roof over your head, but that didn't necessarily mean that the place was dry), however he did have time to write, which meant that he must have had access to writing materials. One person even suggested that quite a lot of books were written in prison, but once again that is not surprising because, as I mentioned, you do have a lot of time on your hands in there. Mind you, not all of them were good, or even popular, though I must admit that Mark Chopper Read did generate a decent income from his writings (and even boasted about how he, an uneducated illiterate became a best selling author while all of these university types, such as me, can't get a single book published – but then people like books about crime). Which brings me to: 4) Bunyan didn't go to school Well, maybe he did, but apparently he didn't stay there long enough to be considered educated, and he certainly wouldn't have had the education that many of the other great writers of the time would have had, yet much like Chopper Reed, while many of them were writing rubbish, he not only wrote a best seller, he wrote a classic (which sort of outclasses Chopper's efforts in my books). Another reason I mention this is because there has been some suggestions that he was inspired by Dante (hey, another allegory, I forgot that one) but there is one big problem with that – he couldn't read Italian, and it wasn't translated into English until the 19th Century. Sure, Dante goes to sleep and has a dream, as does Bunyan, but that does not necessarily mean that he copied Dante, or was even influenced by him (how could he have been). Rather, what I suspect both authors are doing is bringing the reader on a journey with them, and by placing themselves into the text and then turning it entirely into a dream sequence I suspect gives more credence to what they are trying to say. Anyway, here is a picture from Wikipedia: The other thing that I want to mention are references to classical literature – there aren't any. A lot of writers at the time where returning to many of the texts of the Greek and Roman world and were drawing inspiration from them. However Bunyan wasn't one of them, which is not surprising since he didn't have a classical education. Rather, the only book that he draws upon is the Bible. In fact there are quite a lot of Biblical allusions in the text, many of them being quite obscure. What I suspect Bunyan is doing is drawing upon the parables of Jesus, as well as other Biblical allusions, to paint his picture. For instance there is a section where Pilgrim passes Mount Sinai, which is on fire, while travelling towards Mount Zion. This is taken straight out of Hebrews 12, where Mount Sinai represents the law, and Mount Zion represents grace. What Bunyan is doing here is showing how Christians can be tempted to earn their salvation by being good, however that is not actually how salvation comes about. One cannot be so good as to earn their salvation, and even if they are, there are still deeds that have been done that cannot be wiped out by a few good deeds. It is sort of like me going and robbing a bank and then giving all of the money to a charity. Sure, I did a noble thing by giving it to charity, and sure, the bank may (and probably did) deserve to be robbed due to the fact that the money that it has was no doubt earned through nefarious means – but that does not exonerate me from my act of violence. Even if one could say that the bank itself was bad, there are still innocent people working in the bank (such as the teller in whose face I stuck the shotgun, or the old granny who was cashing in her pension cheque). In the end, the law does not care whether I robbed the bank to give the money to the Salvos (who wouldn't accept it anyway), or that they bank had committed fraud and were laundering money, I still committed a crime, and no act on my behalf will be able to exonerate me from that crime. I have to be punished, and the only way that I can escape that punishment is for somebody else to takes that punishment on my behalf. 5) Bunyan did not live in the 20th Century Yeah, I know, that's a no-brainer, but there is a reason why I have raised that point, namely because there are churches out there that like to try and claim Bunyan as one of their own. The problem is that the Christian sect that Bunyan was a practitioner of, and was eventually gaoled for, no longer exists. The thing is that Bunyan was what was termed as a 'non-conformist', and honestly, that classified an awful lot of people. Milton was a non-conformist as well (though I believe the word puritan is more appropriate to him – another sect that no longer exists). The thing about non-conformists is that they were not Anglicans (Epsicopalian or Church of England). In Bunyan's day the only place you could worship, and the only people that were allowed to preach, were Anglican churches. If you live in England and you were not an Anglican you could get yourself into a lot of trouble, especially if, as Bunyan did, you were holding regular church services. However, the thing about non-conformists is that they were not: a) Baptists; b) Methodists; c) Assemblies of God; or d) Pentacostal either. Okay, those denominations may have eventually emerged from the non-conformist movement, but that does not mean that a non-conformist subscribes to any of those particular denominations – they simply did not exist. 6) Not everybody in Bunyan's day were Christian One of my pet peeves is when Christians talk about how we live in a post-Christian age, yet in many cases that is not really true. You see, if everybody in Bunyan's day were Christians then he wouldn't have needed to write this book, or his others (such as A Journey to Hell. Okay, while the multitude of faiths that we have today (think Hinduism, Buddhism, etc) didn't exist in Europe back then, and the only religion you would find was Christianity (though there were Jews), and everybody went to church, it did not mean that they actually believed it. In fact many of the people who went to church went there because it was expected of them, and even then it was mostly a middle and upper class phenomena. If everybody was Christian then, as I have suggested, you would not have had Bunyan writing his book, or even characters such as the Wesleys going out and preaching to the people of England. Even then, the Anglican church was not necessarily a place that would teach evangelical Christianity, and there were quite a lot of people out there that simply did not like the way the church operated. What Bunyan is showing in his book suggests that even though people would go to church, they were not necessarily saved, and in many cases simply left standing in the City of Destruction. Also, consider the fact that Christian leaves his wife and children suggests that even when one was living in an apparent Christian country, one would still be mocked and ridiculed for their faith. It is interesting that they don't follow him on his journey, in a sense rejecting what he believes. In the end though, what the book does in a way is to challenge an apathetic society into understanding more about the faith to which their nation allegedly adheres.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    We used to sing He who would true valour see at my secondary modern school. In fact it was the only song we'd ever sing in school assemblies. We'd sing it in dire, dirge like manner, deep in the Slough of Despond of that Vanity Fair of adolescent school days and not like the hero who was ready to march through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to take on hobgoblins, hypocrites and the demands of life after the dreaded Eleven Plus. Bunyan was active in the period of the Republic and the Restorati We used to sing He who would true valour see at my secondary modern school. In fact it was the only song we'd ever sing in school assemblies. We'd sing it in dire, dirge like manner, deep in the Slough of Despond of that Vanity Fair of adolescent school days and not like the hero who was ready to march through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to take on hobgoblins, hypocrites and the demands of life after the dreaded Eleven Plus. Bunyan was active in the period of the Republic and the Restoration which saw upheaval both in terms of religion as well as politics as described in The World Turned Upside Down radical ideas during the English Revolution and was inspired to write after a brief spell of imprisonment. It nice to turn to Bunyan after Paradise Lost or even the Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson and to read something written by somebody who was literate, but in comparison hardly educated but no less engaged and swept up by the spirit of their times. The still small voice of a member of a minor religious group of low social status has carried along way through the English language. It is testament too to the power of the Bible in the imagination and how what are really alien and remote narratives can be, have been and no doubt are taken on and continually reused in diverse times and places to explain peoples sense of themselves and their place in the world. This particular edition includes a sequel to The Pilgrim's Progress. Proof is any were needed that the mad passion for sequels has threatened to infect all writers since earliest times. The sequel features Christian's wife and children on their pilgrim. Sadly on account of their being women and children they don't get to fight hobgoblins.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Proença

    A minha fé que este fosse um livro do meu agrado era nula mas - antes de ler um outro livro, que lhe faz algumas alusões - entreguei-me ao sacrifício. A partir do meio, estava estafada. Estas penitências custam-me muito. "O segredo da felicidade. O poder da fé. A força libertadora do amor.", é uma frase aliciante da contracapa (em maiúsculas). A pena é eu não acreditar nestas coisas... Também se lê na contracapa que este "é considerado o livro mais vendido de sempre, depois da Bíblia." (Aquele "c A minha fé que este fosse um livro do meu agrado era nula mas - antes de ler um outro livro, que lhe faz algumas alusões - entreguei-me ao sacrifício. A partir do meio, estava estafada. Estas penitências custam-me muito. "O segredo da felicidade. O poder da fé. A força libertadora do amor.", é uma frase aliciante da contracapa (em maiúsculas). A pena é eu não acreditar nestas coisas... Também se lê na contracapa que este "é considerado o livro mais vendido de sempre, depois da Bíblia." (Aquele "considerado" é esquisito - ou é ou não é) e (outra vez em maiúsculas) "Nº 1 da lista «Os melhores livros de sempre» do The Guardian" (É verdade, mas escritos em língua inglesa.) O assunto é, mais ou menos, este: O Peregrino (Cristão) abandonou mulher e filhos pequenos "porque compreendi que estou condenado a morrer, e que, depois, serei julgado, e nem quero morrer, nem estou preparado para comparecer no julgamento final." Ora, uma ateia convicta e que preserva acima de tudo a família, fica logo desconsolada ao ler isto na terceira página. A partir daqui o Cristão, ao longo da peregrinação, cruza-se com um sem fim de gente e entabula conversas de um aborrecimento total. No entanto, fiquei intrigada com a última frase. A ver se quando ler O Quarto Enorme, de e. e. cummings, fico esclarecida.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Reads like satire, but just... isn't? I feel like it's mocking itself but I really don't think it is? It's just really hard to take this book seriously. It's incredibly dated, mind-numbingly boring, and obscenely moralizing. This book felt like my entire childhood of nuns making me kneel on the hard marble floor for laughing in chapel on Friday mornings. I love allegory as much as your mom, but I do like just a tiny bit of subtlety. In Pilgrim's Progress, Allegory comes over to you and she slaps Reads like satire, but just... isn't? I feel like it's mocking itself but I really don't think it is? It's just really hard to take this book seriously. It's incredibly dated, mind-numbingly boring, and obscenely moralizing. This book felt like my entire childhood of nuns making me kneel on the hard marble floor for laughing in chapel on Friday mornings. I love allegory as much as your mom, but I do like just a tiny bit of subtlety. In Pilgrim's Progress, Allegory comes over to you and she slaps you in the face (see what I did there?). Over and over again. And then she tells you to turn the other cheek. A summary: a guy named Evangelist helps a guy named (wait for it) Christian, who by the way is married to (wait for it twice) Christiana, find Jesus. He gallivants down the road to meet Jesus and makes new friends, like Faithful and Hopeful. They meet some nefarious people- shockingly, named after vices- who (prepare to be shocked again) meet righteously unhappy ends. Later on, Christiana, who got left behind, makes the same journey with the rest of the fam. The End! Did you enjoy that? Me neither. I fuck you not, there are characters named Lord Hate-Good, Mrs. Inconsiderate, and Mr. Feeble-Mind. It's like 17th century Clue. It was Mrs. Inconsiderate, in the Valley of Humiliation, with a candle-stick! (How very inconsiderate of her!) Paradise Lost, it ain't.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    What a powerful book that is still effective today. I loved seeing the details of each character and comparing them to myself. There is power in this story...so much of it includes Scripture and the truths spoke deeply to me. This book I highly recommend and endorse!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shantelle

    This great classic, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, was actually different than I expected. After reading the "children's version" for school when I was younger, I was picturing something decidedly more lighthearted and adventurous. But nonetheless, this was a good read! In this book, John Bunyan describes his dream, where he sees a man named Christian living in the City of Destruction, with a great burden on his back. The poor man must figure out how to escape doom and find the way to the This great classic, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, was actually different than I expected. After reading the "children's version" for school when I was younger, I was picturing something decidedly more lighthearted and adventurous. But nonetheless, this was a good read! In this book, John Bunyan describes his dream, where he sees a man named Christian living in the City of Destruction, with a great burden on his back. The poor man must figure out how to escape doom and find the way to the Celestial City. He meets various people among the way, some helping, and some hindering his progress; and encounters many a trial and tribulation. I love the idea, this allegorical picture of the Christian's life. In The Pilgrim's Progress, we see symbolic pictures of facing temptation; being led away from the Bible's truth by worldly knowledge; falling into depression and despair; and also getting revived by godly fellowship; and being released from our burden of sin by accepting the forgiveness Jesus Christ grants. It's quite profound. I especially loved the chapter where the man Christian walks through "the valley of the shadow of death", facing all sorts of goblins and demons. It's fearful, and Christian is bombarded by all manner of darkness; but it has a certain beauty ... knowing we walk not alone in the darkness, and God will bring us through. I also loved the ending, where inside the Celestial City is glimpsed and what life will be like there spoken of briefly. How glorious! I felt it was a wonderful picture of heaven. Things I didn't like as much. Compared the shorter versions I read before, this one was a bit too dark and even depressing at times. There wasn't any humor or lightheartedness. And sometimes it felt a bit like a "fire and brimstone" sermon; be very, very careful, lest you fall! It gave this feeling like you could loose you salvation if you make a mistake. But our actions, good or bad, don't save us. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, that He died to save us from our sins, is our salvation! And I don't think that you can just slip away. You're in God's hands now. And nothing can snatch you from them. When we make mistakes or go astray, I believe God leads us back to Him. Gently. Firmly. Rebukingly even. But He doesn't forsake us. And each day, as we seek Him, we learn to love Him more, and come nearer and nearer to Him. Also, the feeling that life is horrid and we must be weary travelers until we die and reach heaven. To a certain extent, that is true! But life is also a gift. We can choose joy and choose to see beauty each day. There are lovely things like family, and friends, and marriage, and new life, and doing the things we're passionate about. God put us here for a reason and gave us a gifts and people for a reason. But it is truly the suffering, and trials, and temptations, and persecution will come if we are wholeheartedly following Christ. Because the Enemy is against us. I don't know if it was at all John Bunyan's intention for some of the story to come across that way, but it just felt like it here and there. But so you know, I do believe the theology and overall message is Biblical. It's just that certain times, things could come across a bit "doom and dismay". In the end, The Pilgrim's Progress is a profound picture, showing the spiritual battle in a fantastical way. There were some scenarios I especially connected with, like: "Wow! What an interesting way to put that!" It almost helps you see your struggles more clearly - in a new way. A hopeful way even. To see that there is a way out. That the road can be hard, but that is to be expected, and God knows and He's there! And to realize that Satan often attacks those that are drawing nearer to God. You are not alone. You are not falling. Simply seek the face of the Lord and follow His way! ^_^ Oh, a sadness, this version of The Pilgrim's Progress didn't have Christiania's story! It ends with the character Ignorant being taken away from the gates of the Celestial City; and says nothing of Christian's wife or children. When I was younger, that was my favorite part of the story! Christian's family joining him in heaven! Is that actually part of John Bunyan's original work, or just something someone added on?? Anyway, overall, it was a thoughtful read! I enjoyed it, especially since this version had lovely illustrations! *smiles* A good book for Christians to read and discuss!

  29. 5 out of 5

    El

    (I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.) It took me from Aug 6 to today to read the first half of the book. And then I read the second half of the book in one sitting. Here's the thing - this is not a good bedside table book. Aside from its soporific quality (because it's boring), it really needs to be read in big gulps at a time instead of small sips ov (I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.) It took me from Aug 6 to today to read the first half of the book. And then I read the second half of the book in one sitting. Here's the thing - this is not a good bedside table book. Aside from its soporific quality (because it's boring), it really needs to be read in big gulps at a time instead of small sips over long periods of time. There are no breaks really along the way, so you put it down for a while and pick it up and you're on a page that starts with Talkative saying... something... and there's a period of disorientation. What's happening? Where are we? Are they dead yet? It's a slog. This book is referenced so often in the world that I figured I should read it eventually; most popularly it comes up quite frequently in Little Women, a book I read when I was like 12 or 13 years old. It made an impression on me at the time as far as I can remember it now this many years later. It meant a lot to those March girls, didn't it, and it sort of opened up a whole new world for me - a world where people have a lot of faith and interest in spiritual/religious readings. That was not a world I grew up in. But then I also didn't grow up in a world wherein I was easily at risk for contracting scarlet fever. The first book was printed in 1678, exactly 300 years before I was born. That's pretty trippy when you think about it. The story involves Christian (hello, hit me over the head one more time with your crazy allegory, Bunyan) and his pilgrimage. Yes. It's pretty straight forward. As an allegory goes it seriously couldn't be less subtle. He encounters a lot of folk along the way and they have irritatingly allegoric names like Talkative, Good Will (not Hunting), Interpreter, Faithful, Hopeful, and a slew of others. They all have long, drawn-out conversations about this and that other thing, and holy shit, it is boring. The second book was printed in 1684 and this story involves Christian's wife (whom he left behind when he was all "Pilgrimage!" before) and their four sons. I just want to point out first of all that Christian's wife's name is unimaginatively Christiana. I mean, really. Bunyan. Buddy. WTF. Christiana is basically like "Hmm, pilgrimage? Okay, let's do it" because it really worked out well for her husband. She goes off on a similar adventure, and she and the boys meet a bunch of other people along their way like Great-Heart, Honest, Feeble-mind, Bat-Eyes, and Ready-to-Halt. They also have some conversations about some things, the boys all marry a variety of ladies will equally ridiculous allegorical names, and then the story is over. I suppose I could say I'm happy to have read this because of all of the references in other literature I will now totally understand (...no, I won't... unless I happen to run into someone named Mnason in the real world), but I didn't enjoy one moment of reading this. There are some okay pieces of the story, and these were the parts where I would pretend I was reading Lord of the Rings and not some insanely stupid allegory. Honestly, I thought more about LOST throughout reading this, because Jack's dad was named Christian. And LOST was a lot more fun to experience than this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    I first read Bunyan's masterpiece in college. It was lost on my youth. Being groomed by some thoughtful literature professors who had an allergic reaction to allegory I found the book dull on every level. I thought it was trite, preachy, simplistic, and didn't connect with it on an emotional level. I picked up the book again because of a nagging suspicion that it was me, not Bunyan that failed in our first meeting. I'm so glad I did. As much as any book, Bunyan's story impacts the way one should I first read Bunyan's masterpiece in college. It was lost on my youth. Being groomed by some thoughtful literature professors who had an allergic reaction to allegory I found the book dull on every level. I thought it was trite, preachy, simplistic, and didn't connect with it on an emotional level. I picked up the book again because of a nagging suspicion that it was me, not Bunyan that failed in our first meeting. I'm so glad I did. As much as any book, Bunyan's story impacts the way one should read PP. Born in 1628, receiving only a simple education and trained in his father's profession as a tinkerer, Bunyan lived a reckless youth as a soldier until he came to faith by hearing what he felt was the voice of God calling him to abandon his life of sin for a life with Christ. Earnest in his faith, Bunyan became a powerful Puritan preacher who within ten years was imprisoned by the government for the threat he posed to the state-sponsored Anglicanism. It was in a prison cell the Bunyan penned what would become one of the most widely read books ever printed. Back to the book itself: one of the keys to appreciating this book well is to appreciate what Bunyan is and isn't doing with the allegory. He's not creating complex, multi-layered modern characters. The plot of the book is likewise thin and not something that is going to stir a great amount of interest or attachment. What Bunyan is doing is creating a cast of allegorical characters who, if you allow them, pull back the layers of your heart and challenge you to consider the work of Christ (at times with surprising and tremendous theological depth and precision), the purpose God has for us in this life, and who we are called to be. Bunyan's plot serves the same purpose. The situations illuminate seasons of life and trials every mature Christian can resonate with. I found the book tremendously incisive, convicting, and hopeful. And beyond the style and language, the characters actually feel quite contemporary and timely. I would heartily recommend the book to any Christian-- especially those who have walked with Christ for some length of time. I hope Bunyan is as encouraging to you as he was to me.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In order to read or download eBook, you need to create FREE account.
eBook available in PDF, ePub, MOBI and Kindle versions



Loading...