1001 Reads

Regularly updated blog charting the most important novels of the last 2000 and something years

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

11. John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress (1678)

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Francisco: I feel nothing but contempt for this book as a work of fiction. Really. Firstly although I am an atheist myself I was brought up in a Catholic environment in a Catholic country and some of the values espoused in Progress are simply aberrant to me. As an example the whole diatribe in favour of faith and against "good works" makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Particularly as the argument goes that good works will make you "proud". As if the main characters and the author himself weren't self-righteous arrogant assholes.

I really cannot empathise with a book where all the people that I am supposed to take as examples elicit nothing but contempt in me and those that I am supposed to condemn I sympathise with. I just fucking hated it. I also hated the whole obviousness of the allegories, particularly calling people by obvious names like the main character in the first book is called Christian and other characters are Evangelist, Honest, Pliable, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Mistrustful, Watchful etc.. ad nauseum. I know this is very puritanical, but also moronic.

For a country which later produced such great novels England seems to have produced nothing but crap until the 18th century. Fortunately the next book is French. My one phrase description of Progress? A book by retards for retards.

Vanda: Well, that was awful. Simplistic, annoying, literal and dense while being too simplistic (I know, but I can find no other way to describe it.) I pity the poor children (and indigenous populations) that had this piece of tripe shoved down their throats for centuries. It's the 17th century equivalent of a Jack Chick tract. No, it's even worse, since at least those you can read through in 20 seconds.

Seriously, there are much better things to do with your time. Paint some walls! Watch them dry! Seriously.

Final Grade

Francisco: 1/10
Vanda: 1/10


Simplistic pig swill.


Because of the widespread longtime popularity of this classic, Christian's hazards (the "Slough of Despond," the "Hill Difficulty," the "Valley of the Shadow of Death," "Doubting Castle," and the "Enchanted Ground"), his temptations (the wares of "Vanity Fair" and the pleasantness of "By-Path Meadow"), his foes ("Apollyon" and "Giant Despair"), and the helpful stopping places he visits (the "House of the Interpreter," the "House Beautiful," the "Delectable Mountains," and the "Land of Beulah") as phrases have become proverbial in English. For example, "One has one's own Slough of Despond to trudge through."


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