Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Stop Progress, 6 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Pilgrim's Progress (Collins Classics) (Paperback)
TPP is often touted as the "first English novel", so on that basis, and critical recommendations, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Although JB was a Protestant, I reckoned as a "collapsed Catholic" I'd understand enough of the scriptural allusions to cope. And so it proved. The narrative is all about saving yourself from the consequences of sin (the key to monotheistic faiths), and devil take the rest (he does). Christian's pilgrimage to the Celestial City is as fraught with danger as you'd imagine, though you never once think he'll fail in his mission as Good here is assailable but never to be conquered. Monsters and giants lurk along the way, but the most dangerous enemies are the personifications of human weakness who try to beguile him with false directions. In this they are the predecessors of "characters" in novels generally, for good and bad. Mr Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, for example, is a direct descendant of some of the rotters here. In Part Two, Christian's wife and children undertake the same journey, though they have a far easier time of it, stopping off along the way for marriages and so forth. The final passages where pilgrims are called across the river (of death) are touching and I suppose the reason the book has endured so long - and sold so well - is that we are all of us on the same journey, even if we believe different things about its meaning and destination. This edition has been stripped of complex doctrinal arguments, which is no bad thing as they are obscure and irrelevant footnotes for the general modern reader. Enjoy the journey - and watch out for that conman The Flatterer.
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