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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Bunyan’s reputation as a prose stylist, his conceptions of style, and two important features of his writing—his use of dialogue and his control of pace—through an analysis of Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666) and The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678; 1684). Although Bunyan characterizes his writing as ‘plain and simple’, this chapter argues that he deploys a range of linguistic registers and voices. It analyses his use of speech, showing how he uses dialogue not merely to aid characterization, but also to reveal individual spiritual states. For Bunyan, spiritual discernment requires developing correct responses to style, as Faithful learns in his encounter with Talkative. The chapter also explores the connection between Bunyan’s variations in narrative pace in the trials undergone by the pilgrims, showing how the experience of journeying is enacted in Bunyan’s command of his prose and in our experience of reading it.

Keywords: Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, The Pilgrim’s Progress, style, reputation, speech, dialogue, pace, characterization

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