Faith, Hope, Mercy, Envy, Ignorance, Guilt: These are not abstract concepts, but the names of vividly imagined, sharply drawn human characters encountered by Christian, the hero ofThe Pilgrim's Progress. In John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory of the soul's search for salvation, each step along the way becomes a dramatic rendering of an inner state of the human psyche. As Christian journeys from the wilderness of this world" to the glory of the Celestial City, he confronts a seemingly endless array of temptations, threats, and dangers, including the nearly irresistible allure of material splendor at Vanity Fair; the crushing psychological burden of depression and despair in the Slough of Despond; and the fear and uncertainty that eats away at faith in Doubting Castle.
This edition includes both the first and second parts of The Pilgrim's Progress, which collectively reflect the feverish intensity of Bunyan's religious beliefs. What remains significant is Bunyan's ability to transform this intensity into an allegory that speaks to people of all faiths and all eras.
David Hawkes is Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. His books includeIdols of the Marketplace (2001) and Ideology (second edition 2003), and he has contributed articles toThe Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Journal of the History of Ideas.