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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys examples of the use of poststructuralist and postmodernist theory to analyse Bunyan’s work. The primary concerns and general agenda of poststructuralist/postmodernist theory are identified to assess their applicability to Bunyan’s writings (particularly his fiction and spiritual autobiography), focusing on the concepts of difference, différance, discourse, grand and little narratives, and the differend, as outlined in the work of Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault. It is argued that such theories emphasize instability, and that this was a prominent feature of life in later seventeenth-century England: a period of considerable socio-political turmoil in which various ideological narratives were vying for power. Bunyan is seen to be someone constantly struggling against difference, différance, and differends: a factor that renders his writings particularly receptive to poststructuralist/postmodernist readings.

Keywords: différance, difference, differend, discourse, little narratives, postmodernist, poststructuralist

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