The Pilgrim's Progress  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come by John Bunyan (published, February, 1678) is a Christian allegory. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of English literature, and has been translated into more than 100 languages.

References in literature

Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (1838) is subtitled 'The Parish Boy's Progress'.

In 1847 William Makepeace Thackeray entitled his work Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero with the Vanity Fair of Pilgrim's Progress in mind.

Mark Twain gave his 1869 travelogue, The Innocents Abroad, the alternate title The New Pilgrims' Progress. In Twain's later work Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry Finn mentions The Pilgrim's Progress as he describes the works of literature in the Grangerfords' library. Twain uses this to satirize the Protestant southern aristocracy.

E. E. Cummings also makes numerous references to it in his prose work, The Enormous Room.

"The Celestial Rail-road", a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, recreates Christian's journey in Hawthorne's time. Progressive thinkers have replaced the footpath by a railroad, and pilgrims may now travel under steam power. The journey is considerably faster, but somewhat more questionable...

John Buchan was an admirer of Bunyan, and Pilgrim's Progress features significantly in his third Richard Hannay novel, Mr Standfast, which also takes its title from one of Bunyan's characters.

Alan Moore in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen enlists The Pilgrim's Progress protagonist, Christian, as a member of the earliest version of this group, Prospero's Men, having become wayward on his journey during his visit in Vanity Fair, stepping down an alleyway and found himself in London in the 1670s, and unable to return to his homeland. This group disbanded in 1690 after Prospero vanished into the Blazing World; however, some parts of the text seem to imply that Christian resigned from Prospero's league before its disbanding and that Christian traveled to the Blazing World before Prospero himself. The apparent implication is that; within the context of the League stories; the Celestial City Christian seeks and the Blazing World may in fact be one and the same.Template:Citation needed

In Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, whose protagonist Jo reads it at the outset of the novel, and tries to follow the good example of Bunyan's Christian.

The cartoonist Winsor McCay drew an allegorical comic strip entitled "A Pilgrim's Progress" in the New York Evening Telegram. The strip ran from 26 June 1905 to 18 December 1910. In it, the protagonist Mr. Bunion is constantly frustrated in his attempts to improve his life by ridding himself of his burdonsome valise, "Dull Care".

C. S. Lewis wrote a book inspired by The Pilgrim's Progress called The Pilgrim's Regress, in which a character named John follows a vision to escape from The Landlord, a less friendly version of The Owner in Pilgrim's Regress. It is an allegory of C. S. Lewis' own journey from a religious childhood to a pagan adulthood in which he rediscovers his Christian God.

Henry Williamson's The Patriot's Progress references the title of The Pilgrim's Progress and the symbolic nature of John Bunyan's work. The protagonist of the semi-autobiographical novel is John Bullock, the quintessential English soldier during World War I.

The character of Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-5: The Children's Crusade, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a clear homage to a similar journey to enlightenment experienced by Christian, although Billy's journey leads him to an existential acceptance of life and of a fatalist human condition. Vonnegut's parallel to The Pilgrim's Progress is deliberate and evident in Billy's surname.

Charlotte Brontë refers to Pilgrim's Progress in most of her novels, including Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Villette. Her alterations to the quest-narrative have led to much critical interest, particular with the ending of Jane Eyre.

A classic science fiction fan novelette, The Enchanted Duplicator by Walt Willis and Bob Shaw, is explicitly modeled on The Pilgrim's Progress; it has been repeatedly reprinted over the decades since its first appearance in 1954: in professional publications, in fanzines and as a monograph.

Enid Blyton wrote The Land of Far Beyond as a children's version of Pilgrim's Progress. First published in 1942 by Methuen.

The book is briefly referenced in the David Foster Wallace novel Infinite Jest, when it is compared to the Eschaton vademecum that is written by Hal Incandenza.

Lois McMasters Bujold quotes Pilgrim's Progress in her short story "Borders of Infinity" set in her science fiction Vorkosigan Saga.

John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath mentions The Pilgrim's Progress as one of an (anonymous) character's favorite books. Steinbeck's novel was itself an allegorical spiritual journey by Tom Joad through America during the Great Depression, and often made Christian allusions to sacrifice and redemption in a world of social injustice.

Christopher Nicholson's character Tom Page in The Elephant Keeper identifies Pilgrim's Progress as being one of two books he has read; the other being Gulliver's Travels.

Sarah Orne Jewett's novel The Country of the Pointed Firs describes the progressing of carriages towards a family reunion as a "Pilgrim's Progress".

The book was commonly referenced in African American slave narratives, such as "Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom" by Ellen and William Craft, where it would serve to emphasize the moral and religious implications of slavery.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Pilgrim's Progress" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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