John Bunyan


John Bunyan
John Bunyan was a puritan preacher who lived during and after the English Civil Wars who is best known as the author of Pilgrim's Progress, one of the most influential and widely read books every printed in English. It is an allegorical story of a Christian's journey along the "straight and narrow" path as he encounters a great many interesting characters and fends off the snares of the devil. The stories are populated with characters such as "Mr. Worldly-wise", "Wanton", "Talkative", "Mr. Despondency" and "Much Afraid", who are encountered in their travels in and around places such as "Vanity Fair", "Doubting Castle", and "The Celestial City". But the contrived names and locations are just trappings of a highly imaginative and insightful masterpiece, written in beautiful prose.

Bunyan fought on the side of Parliament during the English civil War, but did not become a serious in his Christian faith until several years afterward. In 1655 he began preaching and gained a following during the Commonwealth. After the restoration he was arrested and imprisoned twice for "preaching without a license", and it is thought that be began working on his masterpiece while in prison. He was a contemporary of Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost touching some of the same themes as Pilgrim's Progress. They are together considered the two greatest works of 17th century Christian literature, but of the two, Bunyan's work was by far the more widely read. Almost every English Christian home had a copy, along side the Bible, right up until the twentieth century, and many of the characters, anecdotes and place names have passed into common usage.

Key events during the life of John Bunyan:

Birth of John Bunyan, son of a Tinker.
Served on the side of Parliament during English Civil War.
Became a 'Baptist' preacher with strong Calvinist leanings.
Imprisoned for 'preaching without a licence.
Imprisoned again for 'preaching without a licence.
Publishes Pilgrim's Progress, part I.
Publishes Pilgrim's Progress, part II.
Death of John Bunyan

Book Links
Stories from Pilgrim's Progress Told to the Children  by  Mary Macgregor

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Bunyan, 1628-1688  in  Saints and Heroes Since the Middle Ages  by  George Hodges
Bunyan—'The Pilgrim's Progress'  in  English Literature for Boys and Girls  by  H. E. Marshall
Pilgrim's Progress'  in  The Awakening of Europe  by  M. B. Synge

Image Links

John Bunayn
 in Saints and Heroes Since the Middle Ages

During his imprisonment Bunyan wrote the 'Pilgrim's Progress.'
 in English Literature for Boys and Girls

Short Biography
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
Charles II Restored to the throne after death of Cromwell. Presided over the great fire and plague of London.
John Milton John Milton was friend of Cromwell and a poet. His most famous work was Paradise Lost.