A hundred years ago Bunyan's position among the great writers was incontestable. His major work, The Pilgrim's Progress, was translated, illustrated, adapted, parodied (see for example, Hawthorne's The Celestial Railroad) and distributed widely. The unwavering Christian basis of his work meant that he was one of the few imaginative authors read without suspicion by those who didn't buy the Arnoldian idea that art was taking over the role of religion in people's lives. Some of his key motifs – the Slough of Despond, or Vanity Fair, for example – were referred to as confidently as quotations from Hamlet. Nowadays he is less central to general culture, although critics and historians alike still find him of …
Pooley, Roger. "John Bunyan". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 31 July 2002; last revised 30 November -1.
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