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VINE VOICEon October 31, 2010
I had read Pilgrim's Progress years ago prior to getting this Kindle version. This is an EXCELLENT version because it retains the original unabridged text AND the language thus adding to the beauty and majesty of the work. Sure there are quite a few Thees and Thous but that is what partly makes the book so good. Also this version does not contain his wife's journey.

One caveat. I recommend that you read the book in its original and in the old English version. A few years ago I purchased a hardcopy that touted itself as being in modern English but that diminished the text considerably. I believe this book is of much literary value; so much so that even non-Christians can profit greatly from this book. Don't put off reading this gem because you assume that it's for Christians only. I am waiting for another Kindle version that will link the biblical references to a Bible thus making it feasible to read the verses referenced. But for the cost of this version, FREE, you cannot go wrong. An ABSOLUTE MUST read. Very highly recommended.
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on September 6, 2016
I love this book, it is a classic and well worth the read whether you consider yourself a "christian" or not, so when I saw this version for 99¢, including the audio narration, I was thrilled and purchased it right away. Then I started to read it, in the prologue there is a note from some priest who has taken it upon himself to pare down the book by removing all of the "sermons" that he believes slow the story down. While that is fine for some people who may prefer this pared down version, it should be advertised up front as "abridged", which it is not. Had I known I was getting a much less meaningful version of the book, I would never have purchased it, which is why I rated it as 1 star.
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on September 24, 2013
I reviewed the Oxford World's Classics print version of this book back in 2004. Alas, Amazon (or, probably, its software) not only has not connected the reviews from that paperback to the matching OWC Kindle edition, it has left them high and dry on a duplicate product page, which claims that only used copies of the in-print paperback are available.

I can't do anything about most of the dozen or so reviews left stranded there, some of them excellent (except refer you to them), but I can post a slight revision of my own treatment, concluding with some comments on how the E-book version differs from the print edition (which was the point of my original plan, before I discovered the odd discrepancy).

Fortunately, neither page has (obvious) reviews of other editions in the mix -- a serious problem with some other pages, where in many instances one has little idea of exactly which form of the book is being reviewed. (And there is considerable room for confusion. Both Kobo and Kindle offer sixty-some digital versions -- I haven't bothered to check NOOK or other formats, or count hardcovers and paperbacks, many out of print.)

John Bunyan was an astonishing man, a working-class genius who, while producing the last great medieval-style allegories in English, helped invent the English novel, apparently without intending either. The bulk of his writings fell into the obscurity of most seventeenth century theological tractates, but a few have remained current, and "The Pilgrim's Progress" (1678) has been of outstanding importance, for a variety of reasons. It was an immediate popular success, even appearing in French and Dutch editions within a few years, and being reprinted in Puritan Boston, where Bunyan's Baptist teachings would have been unwelcome. The second (1678) and third (1679) printings contained expansions.

A fraudulent "Second Part" helped motivate Bunyan to produce his own sequel (1684), usually published with the First Part ever since. (There have been separate editions, some currently available in digital form.) This new set of adventures concerns the family which "Christian," the original Pilgrim, left behind in his own journey to the Celestial City. (This being an allegory, he was represented as literally following one of Christ's injunctions -- but readers aware of Bunyan's biography will recall that during his imprisonment he had, rather literally, "abandoned" his real family.)

"The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which is to Come" is, in fact, one of the most widely read works to come out of the era of the English Civil War, Restoration, and Glorious Revolution (which Bunyan did not live quite long enough to see). The number of actual readers, in English and many other languages, certainly exceeds those of Milton, Hobbes, or Locke, possibly all of them together. It is also one of the most misunderstood. In his own time Bunyan (1628-88) was regarded as a dangerous radical; he wrote the first part of "Pilgrim's Progress" while imprisoned for defying authority by refusing to promise to give up preaching. The issue was as much political and social as religious and ecclesiastical; the post-Restoration gentry could fear, but not accept or forgive, the pretensions of a social inferior. (In the age of panic over the "Papist Plot," Bunyan's treatment of the ramshackle "Giant Pope" as nearly harmless is striking: might it be read as an implied attack on the fear-mongering of the Anglican establishment? Perhaps not.)

In the late eighteenth century, William Blake still responded to Bunyan the religious and political Dissenter, and the theologically astute recognized him as expounding a particular doctrine, but distance in time increasingly made him seem not only pious, but even harmless. In the nineteenth century, "The Pilgrim's Progress," long seen as suitable reading for children, was available to the working class in cheap editions, with the approval of their "betters." It found a receptive readership; but it is now clear that many of those readers recognized, as George Bernard Shaw later said, that the sins and failings Bunyan attacked were mainly those of people with money and power. Or, at least, their allegorical representatives always seem to be, or behave like, landowners, merchants, and magistrates, while their victims are working men and women.

Bunyan was indeed mostly concerned with problems of salvation (by faith) and predestination (of which you can never be certain), but the allegorical universe Bunyan presents is solidly grounded in material and social reality. Each soul must seek salvation -- the message of self-help, which the proper Victorians loved. But the little community of believers, the congregation of the true faithful, carried another message for the working class -- Organize!

This Bunyan has yet to be fully digested by popular culture. There are still a multitude of complacent editions, variously inexpensive, lavish, abridged, retold, glossed theologically or linguistically, or otherwise brought into line with some perceived need, and marketed for (mainly Protestant) Christians in search of edification. (It has found many Catholic, and apparently, some Muslim readers, as well, which is another story.)

Those who need a full critical text of this famous work will consult Roger Sharrock's 1960 edition in the Oxford English Texts series, preferably in its revised printing of 1975, and probably in a library (so far as I can tell it is out of print). It was intended as a revision of a 1928 edition by J.B. Wharey, but it broke new ground in Bunyan studies, by returning to the earliest editions of the two parts whenever possible. This was extremely important in restoring the integrity of the text, for reasons I described years ago in a separate (now somewhat buried) review of Sharrock's very lightly modernized "popular version" for the Penguin Classics (1986, with revisions, 1987), originally in the Penguin English Library series (1965). Briefly, Sharrock restored Bunyan's speaking (or, more exactly, perhaps, *preaching*) style to a text which had been worked over in the interest of "proper grammar," sometimes without much regard for what Bunyan was saying in the seventeenth-century vernacular.

Those serious readers or students who wanted a reliable edition, but didn't need the full apparatus, used to have available another, closely related, edition: N.H. Keeble's adaptation of Sharrock's Oxford text for the World's Classics series (published by Oxford University Press; reissued under the Oxford World's Classics imprint). This was replaced in 2003 with the present edition by W.R. Owen, which replaces it in the Oxford World's Classics line, and is likewise based on Sharrock's work.

These Oxford popular editions follow Sharrock's critical text, in fact rather more closely than Sharrock's own Penguin edition -- Owens even with some additional reversions to first edition readings, where he finds them comprehensible without emendation. They offer introductions, chronologies, notes, and glossaries directed more to the common reader or student, explaining seventeenth-century history and theology, as well as explicating Bunyan's language. All three were admirable examples of scholarly editions adapted for the ordinary reader, which is helpful, because Sharrock's main edition seems to be out of print. Keeble's edition seemed to be available for through Amazon when Owens' first appeared, but Oxford, unlike Penguin, doesn't seem to keep multiple versions of a title in print in its "Classics" line. (From time to time it may show up second-hand -- possibly confused with its successor.)

[Note, February 2015: Thanks in part to Amazon's lumping together different editions, it slipped my notice that Penguin Classics released a new edition of "Pilgrim's Progress" in 2008. This one was edited by Roger Pooley.]

Since I then had copies of both the Penguin and the old World's Classics editions, I originally hesitated over acquiring Owen's new version. It offered an expansion of Keeble's chronology and notes, and a new introduction, with a bibliography consisting mainly of recent studies (from 1980 on). Definitely an improvement, although not a blockbuster. The big difference, however, is that Owens provides the only illustrations published with the text in Bunyan's lifetime, and the verse captions he provided to them. This is not only interesting; it provides some explicit statements about the text by the author, not otherwise readily available. The illustrations themselves are not impressive -- hardly in a class with those by Blake and Cruikshank, among many others of varying degrees of skill and insight. But they reflect a real, not imaginary, seventeenth-century environment, and are a worthwhile addition to the available evidence.

When I noticed the Kindle version of this edition, I wondered how one of the problems posed by "Pilgrim's Progress" had been handled. The book as originally published had two sets of marginal notes, one set made up of abbreviated Biblical references identifying Bunyan's more literal Biblical quotations and allusions, the other a set of comments on the narrative, some identifying allegorical figures, others serving as the equivalent of chapter-headings (often to very short "chapters"). These are usually presented in italics.

The Penguin Classics edition maintains the second set of marginal comments, but the Biblical citations, when included, appear as back-of-the book end-notes.

Owen's OWC edition, (like Keeble's edition before it), maintained both sets in their original positions. This arrangement is not readily compatible with Kindle single-column format (and isn't much used in print editions these days, either). Hyperlinking them (as was done to Owen's end-notes) was going to be an unmitigated distraction for the reader.

The compromise reached was to break up the text, with the citations and comments printed below them. This is not a perfect solution -- some sections run longer than a single Kindle "page" -- but I find it easy to get used to. One small problem is that the comments appear in roman, not italic, type, so the reader has to be careful not to confuse them (or the captions to the illustrations) with the main body of the text.
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on October 25, 2010
I decided to go ahead and get this version of Pilgrims Progress in spite of...nay even because of the unfavorable reviews. I noticed that those who revere the antiquated English of the original version wrote their reviews in modern English, and I would guess that they also speak in modern English. Therefore why must one labor through a book written in an antiquated language when a more readable version...written in language closer to that which you use everyday...is available? Put it this way...if you enjoy reading your Bible in the King James version then by all means stick with the original Pilgrims Progress. If you prefer to read your Bible in one of the more modern English formats, then you will enjoy this version. I think you will find it delightful, inspiring and thought provoking. Don't let the lit snobs guilt you into buying what you may not like and therefore won't read. This has nothing to do with dumbing down or lack of reading comprehension or anything like that. It is simply personal preference.
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on March 12, 2007
My wife had been bugging me for months to buy the Pilgrim's Progress on CD, so that we could listen to it during the weeks that our Sunday School class was studying the book. I had heard dramatizations like this before, and I thought they always sounded a little corny. I couldn't imagine listening to a bunch of silly voices read the story.

I was very much in the wrong. This is an excellent dramatization of the book. The voices are distinct and meaningful, and their presentation of the material is so good that I don't think I would have understood as much had I just read it. The music and sound effects enhance the story and make it come alive. The older English in the book can sometimes be difficult to overcome, but it doesn't seem so bad when you hear it spoken so effortlessly. My wife and I have enjoyed having this set.
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on May 1, 2011
"Pilgrim's Progress in Today's English" is a good introduction to Bunyan's famous allegory, particularly for anyone who's unwilling or unable to work through the 17th-century English of the original. This updated version, first published in 1964, is a polished effort, with contemporary but dignified language. It includes both Parts of "Pilgrim's Progress" -- the stories of Christian and Christiana -- and footnotes referring to the Bible passages that Bunyan cited. This version is broken up into chapters with informative titles, along the lines of a modern novel.

My only reservation about this "Pilgrim's Progress" is that it's not merely a retelling in modern English. It's actually a retelling *and a condensation.* All of Bunyan's poetry has been removed, and many episodes have been streamlined. To give just one example of the latter, when Christiana and her companions are on their way to the Interpreter's House, in the original they encounter two "ill-favored ones" (demons, presumably) who try to persuade Christiana to grant a "request." Christiana and the demons have words back and forth before the Reliever comes to Christiana's aid. In the "Today's English" version, this entire episode is boiled down to two sentences, with no dialog. (If you are interested in a modern English edition with no condensation, I recommend The Modern English Edition of Pilgrim's Progress.)

This kind of condensation is fine as long as the reader knows what he's getting. Unfortunately, the product description and cover blurb for this volume do not make it clear.

The Kindle version is well produced, with a linked table of contents and linked footnotes.
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on June 24, 2016
This classic allegory by John Bunyan is well worth reading with the original spelling, and Scriptures in the margins. Modern editions tend to omit the Biblical citations originally written by Bunyan in the margins, by which you lose a lot of spiritual nourishment, and of course, updating the spelling never doeth any favours.

A true classic, second only of course to The Holy Bible. Christian and Christiana's journeys make you ponder the meaning of the Scriptures, and if thou hast a willing spirit, to give thy life unto the only begotten Son of God. Only by accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour canst thou be saved from eternal damnation in the fires of Hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

'For God so loveth the world, that He hath given His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.'-The Holy Gospel Of Jesus Christ According To Seint John 3:16.
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on July 23, 2012
A very unique and classic edition with features for a new generation. I was surprised to learn that this book has augmented the story of Prilgrim's Progress by adding bible passages to various portions of the story and also has given the story in sections not unlike chapters. There are also numerious b & w illustrations which are quite beautiful in themselves. All in all a very intertaining and readable book. The original story written in old style language is still used here but the reader will find a dictionary in the back to help with the understanding of same.
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on March 14, 2017
As I walk on my own pilgrimage I can se that I have encountered many as described along the way. I know there will be many more challenges until I reach the celestial city, but I can trust that He will always be with me. Eventhough this book was written before the country I live in was an independent nation (USA). The Truth highlighted in metaphor and allegory is unchanged and timeless. I believe that all will be fulfilled in Jesus, and this book gave me hope as well as well as entertainment. There is no wonder it has never been out of print in over 300 years. Truth, in whatever form, never goes out of style.
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on March 3, 2017
Best copy of The Pilgrim's Progress in modern English. The others are large books that are too expensive. I got one copy for me and one for my teenage daughter. We read it together with pauses in between in order to teach her about the Faith.
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