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The Pilgrim's Regress Paperback – January 10, 1992
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From Library Journal
In 1933, not long after he became a Christian, Lewis published this third work and his first novel, a portrayal of this spiritual journey. Begun as a poem, Pilgrim's Regress thankfully ended up as an allegory that obviously takes its cue from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Every bit as effective as its predecessor, Lewis's book describes the quest of John to reach the enchanted island and describes and satirizes many of the popular philosophies of the author's time, many of which also have more than a little influence in our day. Eloquent, erudite, and often witty, this tale is superbly narrated by Robert Whitfield. No stranger to the writings of Lewis, Whitfield has a well-modulated voice that easily portrays the numerous characters and gives the narrative sections a steady and consistent tempo. There are a number of Latin epigraphs, which are not translated. Public, religious/theological, and academic libraries should at least consider this audio. Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-- Chicago Tribune
"An excellent book. In its sharp imagery, its clever inferences, its suspense, its characterization, and its occasional grotesque humor, it stands favorable comparison with its great model by John Bunyan."
-- New York Times
"The allegorical characters are not just abstractions. They are, in every instance, people objectively real and subjectively true to the inner meaning. The language throughout is plain, straightforward and leanly significant. To many it will seem like a fresh wind blowing across arid wastes."
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Top customer reviews
This is C. S. Lewis' journey in allegory form. His creative form allows you to quickly see the difficulties, the starts and stops, he had along the way. If you are familiar with his biography, you can easily insert them as you go. However, in seeing his journey in this way, he also helps you to see your journey. The elements of this story, neutral as they are, can also represent the real events of your life as they happened. This story can act as a mirror to look at yourself and your own life. It certainly has recognizable religious undertones, not unlike The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) and others from the Narnia series, or religion presented with the wit and satire of The Screwtape Letters.
This is Lewis' genius at work. He makes this something almost everyone can enjoy, or derive benefits from it.
The book is partly autobiographical, documenting Lewis's own faith journey but Lewis said it was not entirely so. He used the book in part to engage the ideas prevalent at the time it was written around 1932. I very much enjoy this book but it isn't what you're looking for if ideas are not your thing. It is a book filled with ideas and how they contrast to one another.
We read this for my book club with mixed results. A few readers loved it, and most others found it too difficult and dry to be very enjoyable or thought-provoking. We had a difficult time even having a discussion about it, and no questions were available anywhere online. I believe that I got much more out of the Pilgrim's Progress, ancient as it may be, than The Pilgrim's Regress. I would probably not recommend this book.
Most of the time, I was quite unclear about the images and symbols Lewis was using in the book, so I was happy to learn that later in life, he regretted the "needless obscurity" with which he wrote this book (p. 200). As a result, I really appreciated the little "summary statements" which are found at the top of each page to explain what is going on. Without these, I would have been hopelessly lost. Lewis said he added these later to compensate for how difficult the plot and images are to follow.
Of course, not all is negative. Lewis does write with keen insight and clear logic, and shows that much of what modern people chase after in religion, politics, society, and philosophy, is empty and pointless. That alone makes this book worth reading.