Sunday, September 16, 2012

BW38: John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress

The 2nd novel in Susan Wise Bauer's Well Educated Mind list of fiction reads is the allegory  The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. He wrote the story in two parts:  the first published in 1678 and the second in 1684.  It was finally combined into one volume in 1728.   The first part is about a man named Christian who carries a heavy burden and in order to rid himself of that burden, decides to travel to the celestial city.  His journey takes him through valley of the shadow of death, vanity fair, the slough of despond and delectable mountain.  The 2nd part is about his wife and children who follow his path a few years later.  


"As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place, where was a den; and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and as I slept I dreamed a dream.  I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.  I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled: and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry; saying, 'What shall I do?'

In this plight, therefore, he went home, and restrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus he began to talk to them: "O, my dear wife," said he, "and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am certainly informed that this our city will be burnt with fire from heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found whereby we may be delivered." 

At this his relations were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning was come, they would know how he did. He told them, "Worse and worse:" he also set to talking to them again; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriage to him; sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time."

The story is available online in numerous places including here as well as in audiobook form.  My challenge to you is to read The Pilgrim's Progress at least once at some point in your life.  I'm not quite ready to pose a readalong because it is just one of those books that you have to read when it is the right time.  It's one of those books I have to digest a few pages at a time, otherwise my brain will explode.  LOL!


 Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


  1. Amazing. Spectacular. Fun. Shocking. Go Read Gone Girl.

  2. A little behind in reporting in. Book #36 "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks (blah); #37 "Rescue" by Anita Shreve (love anything by Anita Shreve); #38 "Heading out to Wonderful" by Robert Goolrick (beautiful writing but horribly sad ending); and #39 "Endearment" by Lavryle Spencer (corny).

  3. Loved reading about my Pennsylvania roots in these books written by a distant cousin. Read all of The Well-Educated Mind fiction books back in 2003-2004. Fun time. They are definitely the easiest to get through. :)

  4. week 38...finished Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Sean Michael today. As you might have guessed, this is a gay military novel, 375 pages, lots of sex, first in a series.

    I was able to pick up The Pilgrim's Progress, Kindle format, for free

    1. also finished Act of Treason by Vince Flynn

      another military novel, 415 pages of lies, backstabbing, explosions and murder

      I've got another VF ready to go!

  5. I tried to read PP a few years ago. Unfortunately the copy I got was in old English -- it was too much like reading the King James version of the Bible and I just could not get into it. May have to try again.


Thank you for your kind comments.