Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In a 1945 letter to the British Medical Journal, D. W. Winnicott protests unethical impositions upon mental patients in which surgeons are ‘cutting brains about’. He remarks, ‘what happens if these physical therapy methods spread to the treatment of criminals? What guarantee have we that a Bunyan in prison will be allowed to keep his brain intact and his imagination free?’ Bunyan, whose resistance to the repressive authorities of his day fostered his genius, in fact flourished in prison, keeping his brain intact, his imagination free. During his long confinement, the prison walls become the scene of his dream of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). Drawing upon psychoanalytic theories of guilt, punishment, and creativity, this chapter offers the case of Bunyan as a Nietzschean ‘pale criminal’ whose lonely confinement quells his conscience and consolidates his identity as pastor, poet, and pilgrim.

Keywords: The Pilgrim’s Progress, D. W. Winnicott, creativity, prison, conscience, imagination, punishment

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.