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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter re-examines the influence that John Bunyan exercised on some major figures of the Romantic period. It argues that while writers like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Sir Walter Scott are rightly remembered for their role in separating theological from realistic content in the reception history of The Pilgrim’s Progress, this should not be viewed as the totality of Romantic response to Bunyan’s work. The chapter examines how the Protestant conversion narrative was developed and altered by writers like Wordsworth and Scott, and the ways in which Blake and Coleridge in particular attended carefully to, and drew imaginative inspiration from, the specific details of soteriology in The Pilgrim’s Progress. The chapter argues that while the Romantic response to Bunyan was revisionary, it was more attentive to his beliefs than some of the commentary of the period—such as Coleridge’s notorious distinction between ‘conventicle’ and ‘Parnassus’—would suggest.

Keywords: John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Coleridge, Scott, soteriology

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