"The Pilgrim's Progress," by John Bunyan, is part of the "Barnes & Noble Classics"" "series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of "Barnes & Noble Classics": All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. "Barnes & Noble Classics "pulls together a constellation of influences--biographical, historical, and literary--to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. Faith, Hope, Mercy, Envy, Ignorance, Guilt: These are not abstract concepts, but the names of vividly imagined, sharply drawn human characters encountered by Christian, the hero of "The Pilgrim's Progress." In John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory of the soul's search for salvation, each step along the way becomes a dramatic rendering of an inner state of the human psyche. As Christian journeys from "the wilderness of this world" to the glory of the Celestial City, he confronts a seemingly endless array of temptations, threats, and dangers, including the nearly irresistible allure of material splendor at Vanity Fair; the crushing psychological burden of depression and despair in the Slough of Despond; and the fear and uncertainty that eats away at faith in Doubting Castle.
This edition includes both the first and second parts of "The Pilgrim's Progress," which collectively reflect the feverish intensity of Bunyan's religious beliefs. What remains significant is Bunyan's ability to transform this intensity into an allegory that speaks to people of all faiths and all eras.
David Hawkes is Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. His books include "Idols of the Marketplace" (2001) and "Ideology" (second edition 2003), and he has contributed articles to "The Nation," the "Times Literary Supplement," and the "Journal of the History of Ideas."