In the Preface (“Apology”) to his bestselling book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan (1628-1688) makes the promise: “This Book will make a Traveller of thee.” And it probably already has, in some way, you just don’t realize it.
Despite its author’s unwavering Puritan beliefs, The Pilgrim’s Progress many, regardless of religious persuasion, have traveled from the “City of Destruction” to the “Celestial City.” The list of artists and writers and influencers is long and is not limited to Bunyan’s time.
William Thackeray (1811-1863), a religious skeptic, named his great novel, Vanity Fair, after the city of the same name in The Pilgrim’s Progress. The popular fashion magazine, Vanity Fair also gets its name from Bunyan’s fictional city.
William Blake (1757-1827), a mystic of the Romantic Age, painted watercolors, inspired by various scenes from Christian’s journey. And in 1951, Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958), the son of an Anglican priest and a self-proclaimed agnostic, wrote an opera based on The Pilgrim’s Progress, which was performed at the Royal Opera House in London. In his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) gives Billy, his character that is on a personal journey to enlightenment, the last name “Pilgrim” as a direct reference to The Pilgrim’s Progress.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is not for one time, but for all time. It is part of the group of books that have shaped modern western culture. It is for this reason that Blue Iris Books has decided to publish it.
“The Book will make a Traveller of thee,” too. And all the challenges along the way will only help you see what is the right way to go.
“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
Look for the Blue Iris Books forthcoming edition of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, due out in September 2018.