Books, Reading
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Teaser Tuesdays – The Pilgrim’s Progress

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

the pilgrims progressThe book my sentences come from is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. One of the oldest books in publication, it has never been out of print since its first publication in 1678, and is considered one of the most important works of English religious literature ever written. Essentially it follows the journey of the main protagonist, Christian, on his journey from this world, The City of Destruction, to the next life, Heaven. The story is peppered with references to and quotations from the Bible, and the book is sending a very clear message throughout – follow the righteous path and when your day of judgment comes, you will be allowed entry to Heaven.

Now, I know not everyone is into religion, I myself am not. The reason I picked this book up is because it was mentioned during a lecture in my university class as a text that is frequently used as a comparative text to Robinson Crusoe (which we were studying at the time), so I decided I’d give it a read to make my own comparisons. It’s very interesting to see the difference in form in the forty-ish years between the publication of each, Robinson Crusoe having been published in 1719. So even if religion is not your thing, I would recommend this book purely to see how the thing that many of us love so much – books, and the novel as a form – have changed over the centuries, especially if you are studying literature. Anyway, enough of the babbling. Here are my two sentences from The Pilgrim’s Progress.

“In this light therefore he came to the end of the Valley. Now I saw in my dream, that at the end of this Valley lay blood, bones, ashes and mingled bodies of men, even of pilgrims, that had gone this way formerly: and while I was musing what to what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave, where two giants, Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old time, by whose Power and Tyranny the Men whose bones, blood, Ashes, &c. lay there, were cruelly put to death.”

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7 Comments

  1. Ahhh how interesting! I have heard about this book but did not know of the comparisons! But yeah, I love reading older literature and seeing how much language and structure have changed.

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    • It’s a bit of a struggle to get through if I’m perfectly honest, and my eyes glaze over a lot when I’m reading. I probably wouldn’t read it again unless I had to.
      Plot and character wise it’s not really anything like ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – it’s more the fact that each text could be seen as a spiritual autobiography and as ‘Crusoe’ is considered one of the first texts that could be called a novel, I guess they’re compared to show why ‘Crusoe’ is a novel and ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ isn’t so much. While ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ is only focused on the spiritual side of things, ‘Crusoe’ also touches on things like race and imperialism, so it’s more like the novels we know today.

      While I may not read ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ again, it has been interesting to compare it to ‘Crusoe’ and then again to compare that to modern novels. They’ve come a long way!

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      • Yeah, I get the feeling it’s the sort of book I would read once and never again, too. It is something I often wonder though – when you read these older books you can see the novel transform so dramatically over the decades and centuries. People today often speak of the death of the novel, which I think is nonsense – it has never been more alive – but I do think we need a few more writers to be more daring and actually be novel with their ideas. The novel, as a concept, was such a changing and shifting structure. I think those older writers would be very sad to see how boxed in most writers are these days by conventions…
        Wow…I sound like one of my old lecturers or something hahaha.

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        • I completely agree. I really enjoy reading from just about every genre, but it seems like once a book in a certain genre becomes super popular, all the books that follow in that genre are really similar.
          The more I read lately, the less inclined I am to pick up something really new. I’m finding that I enjoy reading stuff that was published decades ago, as the writers don’t seem like they were writing for the public – they were writing what they wanted to.

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  2. As was often her habit, Jordan walked past the living room on her way outside to enjoy her morning cup of coffee on the front porch. Glancing into the room, she came to an abrupt halt. Startled to see the ladder guarding the front window, along with the butter color now splashed across the white part of the walls, she drew in a breath at the sight of Nick slumped on the floor. Oh, my God, was the man breathing? Had he fallen off the ladder and broken his neck?

    McKeehan, Vickie (2011-12-04). Promise Cove (A Pelican Pointe Novel Book 1) (Kindle Locations 602-606). Beachdevils Press. Kindle Edition.

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