Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pilgrim's Progress

Few books have been so widely read, only to plunge later into (relative) obscurity, as has Pilgrim's Progress. On many lists, it's among the ten best-selling books of all time, and has been translated into more than 200 languages -- and yet, today the most popular edition ranks only as twentieth in the amazon-narrowed category "Christian Classics and Allegory." But despite its fading from familiarity, signs of its influence are not hard to find in literature and pop culture; in the broadest sense, much of vast realm of "fantasy" literature -- one in which the narrator enters a "dream" or alternative world, especially one supplied with maps, owe their genesis to Bunyan's book.

The book, despite its relatively scarce passages of detailed description, has from the very beginning attracted illustrators, painters, and (later) filmmakers. The great English poet and artist William Blake is prominent among these, as are Byam Shaw, the Rheads, and Barry Moser. In 1850, a moving panorama of Pigrim's Progress, known as the Bunyan Tableuax or the "Grand Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress" was painted by Joseph Kyle and Edward Harrison May and displayed in New York; an early copy of this panorama survives and is at the Saco Museum in Maine. Many prominent American artists contributed designs for this panorama, among them Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Cropsey, Henry Courtnay Selous, and Daniel Huntington. You can see scenes from this surviving copy here, or watch a video of the entire panorama here. Like films, panoramas were displayed using two reels -- though since the painting is more than eight feet tall, "changing the reel" is quite an undertaking!

Early film producers also seized upon the subject, beginning with a silent version in 1912; an animated version was produced in 1950, and the year after that it was the subject of an opera by the composer Ralph Vaughn-Williams. A 1978 live action version even featured a very young Liam Neeson in the role of "Evangelist" (he appears at 9:15 -- it's his very first film role)! In 2008, a reasonably well-done live action version featuring a completely contemporary setting is available -- you can watch the trailer here, or the full movie if you dare!

JUST ADDED: Here's a photo of the board game version in use.

21 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this reading. As a practicing Christian, I thought that it was a very valuable piece of literature. I loved the author's use of allegory and fiction to describe and tell a religious story. I feel that this use of fiction actually helped to make the points more clear. This story reminded me of the recent novel "The Shack", written by William Young. "The Shack" also uses fiction to share religious points and I feel that there are a great deal of comparisons between both texts. As Bunyan states in his "apology", the use of fiction is truly beneficial for the understanding of the text and religious ideologies. While "The Pilgrim's Process" is lengthy and full of several characters and names, I believe that the story that is told is very powerful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also enjoyed this reading, it also reminded me of "Wizard of Oz", when Dorothy goes through the haunted forest finding each person along the way,but in reality everything was just a dream. Very fun to read, which made it interesting to read too.- Jaimee Barrett

      Delete
  2. In the beginning of “Pilgrim Progress”, the dream and events tend to start happening quickly. It begins with Christian figuring out how to save his soul. When he finds out what he has to do, he starts to run while looking back and seeing his wife and children cry for him. It's crazy for this character to just be able run away and abandon everything; his whole life just to save his soul. Also, found that the names given in this section were ironic. The person to assist him out of the “Slough of Despond” was a man named “help”, who helps him out. Then he interacts with a man named Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who is a wise man that gives him advice. Christian, then learns about another village where a man who goes by the name of Mr. Legality, who lives in a village where people are honest and follows the laws. These names are a perfect fit to have in a dream. It's ironic that their names all coincide with the actions they do with Christian. - Jaimee Barrett

    ReplyDelete
  3. this was a very interesting read, it had a lot of similarities to past stories but i felt that that helped me understand it a lot more. i was very interested in the different villages and how they all had different stories to go along with them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was interesting to read about Christian's "adventure" in
    Pilgrim Progress". Having religious stories told in fiction gives them a different light, and several symbols to uncover throughout the events Christian goes through. One of which I thought was his certificate. The roll that Christian is given after his losing his burden symbolizes Christians first step or accomplishment towards salvation. Having this symbolized though the certificate invites the reader in, and makes the fiction more appealing.

    - Crystal Agyemang

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really enjoyed the “Pilgrims Process”, I found it an extremely interesting read. As someone who was raised as a Christian, I thought this story depicted religion accurately. Everyone is given a path, and throughout life we have the choice to either stay on that path or drift off. Christian decided to get back on his path to save is should, it is a story of redemption and religious vales. He had to overcome many challenges, leave his family behind, all to save himself. This read was fun and the characters names helped to guide the story along. Each name left room for no interpretation their purpose, each named for how they help Christian along in his journey. ~Samantha Wellington

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed this reading as well because it was very interesting. I like how the different villages had different stories to go along with them. The stories were told in fiction, made it more understandable knowing it’s coming from a different view.

      Delete
  6. I found the "Pilgrim Process" interesting because to me it showed that you must sacrifice to gain. Christian gave you the comfort of his home and left his family to find true peace else where and although his friends thought he was crazy for doing so he knew he had to do it go gain something more. He had the burden of sin and needed to get rid of it and he could not do that by staying in the city of destruction and like stated before, who wants to stay in a place that's literally called the city of destruction?

    ReplyDelete
  7. After investigating "Pilgrim's Progress" and sitting in today's class, I learned that the basis of the story is still accurate to this day. There are still plenty of movies out there that depict their own version of Christianity and the right paths we ought to follow. "Pilgrim's Progress" is no different than those, plus it has the same message. It teaches us that there is always a certain path you must take in life that will lead you to your ultimate outcome. And there are hardships in that path because life isn't easy. "Pilgrim's Progess" is a definite must-see and must-read.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I thought this reading was a very strong persuasive piece of literature. “The Pilgrims Progress” had many characters, the length was a little long and fast moving. It was nice to read religious stories that were fiction, it helped the reading be very clear compared to past stories. I feel like there was a lot of comparisons and symbols between the texts.
    -Emma Guglielmi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also really enjoyed this reading. I liked the names of all the characters. I felt that if the names of the characters were different, the story wouldn't hold the same effect. It makes the story easier to relate to. -Becca Clark

      Delete
  9. I thought "The Pilgrims Progress," was detailed and provided a lot of information. It was not easy to read but I learned the different beliefs within certain religions. Authority roles, such as a man guiding his family in a spiritual way, while women pick and choose what their children learn/do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. In “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” the setting of a dream or fantasy provides a different outlook on young readers like ourselves who aren’t completely enthused about reading about religion. As a Christian myself I have heard many of the same stories with the same characters told in different ways whether it’s told as a dream or reality. I feel stories or poems being told this way keeps someone engaged, and this poem definitely kept me engaged even though some parts were tough to get through.
    Jenna Cipriano

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love when a story has multiple translations and depictions like "the Pilgrim's Progress", with multiple films and stories that are influenced by the original. If I had more time I would have enjoyed going through each piece of work and film and done a contrast between each. Maybe for my final paper. The story overall takes uses a dream plot to get its theme across. This story is a very influential religious work that has been translated in over 200 different languages and that is astonishing to me. It was a little hard to get through reading, but what fun is doing something without a challenge. The story teaches us that everyone has their own path they need to take to reach a point in their life with they reach peace and happiness and that all paths are different and challenging.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very interting story to read. The last few readings help me understand this better and made it a far more enjoyable read then i expected.
    Richard young

    ReplyDelete
  14. "The Pilgrim's Progress" gives a great view on the Christian lifestyle. The multiple translations and looks on it shows how everyone is given a different path throughout their life. The path you chose to take will lead you to a certain outcome, so called your "fate" in life. This was a great read, it went a little fast and got right into it. But over all I enjoyed the look an how Christianity was wonderfully shown.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I found this to be a very interesting read and I think it tells a great story about faith, and the faith that it takes to be a Christian. As a Christian, I really enjoyed Pilgrims Progress and the story it told.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ����������wow .
    What a wonderful writing

    ReplyDelete