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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not Dante's Inferno, July 21, 2001
This review is from: The Pilgrim's Progress (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
In contrast to Dante, Bunyan fills his allegory with real people, not just stereotypes - or even archetypes. Though his characters have names like "Honest," "Feeble-mind," and "Ignorance," they come across as real people given a nickname. The names apply to some extent, of course, but not to the point of making caricatures out of the characters.
This volume contains parts I and II of Pilgrim's progress. The first part concerns the journey of a pilgrim named "Christian," while the second describes the journey of his wife, Christiana. Both start from the City of Destruction and both encounter many of the same obstacles - the Slough of Despond, the Vanity Fair, the Castle Doubt - before reaching the gates of the Celestial City. Other than that, their journeys are rather different, for Christian travels on his own, with a bit of help here and there, and with one or another traveling companion, but his progress is almost entirely his own. Christiana, by contrast, travels as part of an ever growing company, who support one another and who are defended by one or two powerful champions.
You never lose sight of the allegory, but this work is not a mere tract. The story itself and the characters entertain - even today.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 13, 2012 8:13:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 8:33:50 PM PST
Nobody says:
.....Farinata, Paolo and Francesca da Rimini, Beatrice, of course, Archbishop Ruggieri, Count Ugolino, Fucci, Montefeltro, even a couple still among the living at the time, Fra Alberigo and Branca d'Oria.... and a Pope. Real People.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2014 4:44:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2014 4:47:05 AM PST
i'm fairly certain that the reviewer is referring to Bunyan's more humble status in society compared to Dante. The use of the term "real" in this case means that the life depicted is closer to the common plight. Bunyan is essentially the first ordinary man to write and have published a fiction any stature. Dante was a nobleman, and the world he depicts is populated with famed people who seemed a bit unreal to commoners. It must be said also in regard to this that Dante comments favorably on his own status as a poet beloved by his character of Virgil. It's a certain kind of preening which is the concern of privilege, and notably absent in Bunyan.
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