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Bunyan, John


(British, 1628–88)

Bunyan was a brazier's son, taking up his father's trade until he was drafted into the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War. In 1660 he was arrested for preaching without a licence and many of his books were written in jail. The Pilgrim's Progress (1684) has remained a classic of popular Christianity for over three hundred years: phrases such as ‘the slough of despond’ have entered our language. In the book Bunyan transforms spiritual trials into an adventure story, where vices and virtues come alive as vivid characters, emotions as places. We identify with the hero, Christian, and root for him as he grapples with such foes as Giant Despair. The book turns theology into an action novel, and is still a great read.

C. S. Lewis, Susan Howatch, Jonathan Swift  EC

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