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date: 26 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

At the centre of the local world of The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680) is an alehouse whose keeper’s son is modelled on the young Bunyan’s intimate friend in Bedford. A focus on the representation of ‘alehouse culture’ in this work leads to a consideration of the social implications of blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, and domestic violence in Bunyan’s local community. Badman not only breaks the Sabbath himself but prevents his first godly wife from keeping it, leading to conflict in the household, and to domestic violence. The Life and Death of Mr. Badman thus tells the story—through its narrators, Attentive and Wiseman and their digressive, eye-witnessed tales of providence and judgement—of a damnable life in the making: the journey, not of a pilgrim to heaven, but of an unrepentant, blasphemous, and violent sinner to hell.

Keywords: The Life and Death of Mr. Badman, alehouse culture, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, domestic violence, Bedford

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