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The Pilgrim's Progress (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – December 18, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

`'This new World's Classics offering is excellent of its kind and for its purposes - easy to recommend and impossible to fault. The Introduction is lucid and engaging...Students, teachers and the general reader will find no better companion. The advanced scholar will also learn a thing or two.'' The Recorder (International John Bunyan Society magazine) spring 2004

About the Author


W. R. Owens's publications include two volumes in the Oxford edition of The Miscellaneous Works of John Bunyan (1994) and a co-edited collection of essays, John Bunyan and his England 1628-88 (1990). He is co-editor, with P. N. Furbank, of The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe (1988), Defoe De-Attributions(1994), and A Critical Bibliography of Daniel Defoe(1998). They are joint editors of The Works of Daniel Defoe (44 vols., in progress).
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised edition (December 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192803611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192803610
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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), published with the First Part ever since.

"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.
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Format: Paperback
I hadn't read this book in a long time, and when I first started it I thought, "Gee, I'm going to have to like it-how can I publish a negative review of the best selling books in history?" Fortunately, my fears were indeed unfounded. Pilgrim's Progress, despite its age, remains a book that makes you think, makes you laugh, makes you love God more.

The book is an allegory: it tells the imaginary story of a man named Pilgrim, from the time he realizes he is in the city of Destruction, and follows his and his companions' journeys through good times and bad to the Celestial City which he seeks. In it are many insights about life as a Christian and life outside of Christ. One of the beauties of the book is that Bunyan draws on so many different themes-fear, dark times, temptation, despair, hope, friendship, slander, greed, mercy, just to name a few-and then shows us the right & wrong way to respond to each of these through the characters and events of the book. Therefore everyone will appreciate the lessons of the book in a unique way, according to what he is experiencing in his own walk with God.

I was most impressed with the passion and singlemindedness of Christian-in the first few pages of the book, once he is convicted of his sin, he starts to run away from the city of Destruction, "but his Wife and Children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the Man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying, "Life! Life! Eternal Life!"" How often I lack the passion to just get up early for prayer, and this man runs, desperately blocking out all else but the one great prize that he knows he must win.

The other theme that most spoke to me was that of the pilgrims' constant focus on their destination, their hope of heaven, which provided them the strength and courage to face any trial. More on the preciousness of our hope tomorrow.
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Format: Paperback
"No other work in English, except the Bible, has been so widely read over such a long period." When I read something like that about this other work, "Pilgrim's Progress", I was curious. I got a copy and paged through it. At first I was disappointed, because I suspected that even if I forced myself to plow through the whole book slowly I probably would not understand the reasons for its popularity. But then I read the excellent 57 page introduction. And that gave me the education about "Pilgrim's Progress" that I was looking for. W.R. Owens's analysis and explanation of John Bunyan's classic satisfied my curiosity completely.
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A must read and great addition to your literary collection. One note of caution though, if you have trouble with the "Old" language, you may get bogged down and not enjoy it as much. There are editions with more modern language, so you might want to go that route.
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This is a timeless and always relevant allegory about our human nature and God's provision. I highly recommend Pilgrim's Progress to all, especially those who may feel they are alone in their struggles. You are never alone. The God of all comfort, mercy, and grace is near.
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I just got done reading Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. Even though it was written in the 1600's, it still has great spiritual insight to our spiritual journey in Christ; the struggles, the fears, success, victories. It explains what it truly means to be a Christian, which beyond the current post-modern understanding of Christianity but back to pre-modern understanding of Christianity. Taking us back to our roots in Christianity that we have forgotten. It reminds us that being a Christian is far deeper than going to church and doing nice things, but it's about following God's Will to end of the Earth. I think every Christian should read this book.
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