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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks closely at John Bunyan’s first major narrative, his conversion account Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666), exploring interwoven qualities of intense religious confession, especially the deep sense of sinful guilt; metaphorical vitality drawn from Bunyan’s local experience in Bedfordshire; animated, personified, medicinal citation of the Bible (and other pious books); modes of social abjection; and pursuit of the authority to speak. Grace Abounding was composed when Bunyan was in prison under the terms of the 1664 Conventicle Act, and hence he was using the conversion narrative as a kind of published sermon. Later revisions reduced or erased traces of his earlier religious radicalism, and demonstrated his growing competence as minister and writer, but sometimes compromised authentically remembered spontaneous experience.

Keywords: John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, conversion narrative, experience, Bible, abjection

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