John Bunyan and his Publics

Christopher Hill marks the 300th anniversary of Bunyan 's death with a Portrait of a self-educated radical seen as a subversive by Restoration England’s Establishment

Bernard Shaw thought that John Bunyan was Britain's greatest prose writer. The Pilgrim's Progress, long a popular favourite, is now a secure English literary classic, included in university syllabuses. This would have astonished Bunyan's contemporaries. For most of them he was a tinker, that emblem of vulgarity and drunkenness. Bunyan's father was illiterate, and he himself had little formal education. He probably did not attend a grammar school, certainly not a university. Academically-trained divines sneered at the presumption of a man who did not know how to form a syllogism daring to preach, let alone to publish.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.