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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Bunyan had a profound if largely accidental influence on English children’s literature. He wrote a collection of poems for children, but it was The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678; 1684) that became a staple of the nursery shelf, adopted by children who seem to have read it more for the adventure than for the theology. Editions aimed specifically for that audience followed, and these often radically adapted Bunyan’s language, theology, and subject matter. So ubiquitous was The Pilgrim’s Progress that children’s writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Francis Hodgson Burnett, and L. M. Montgomery could assume that their readers would know Bunyan’s allegory and so could use it as a significant subtext for their own novels. While the variety and number of books for children in the twentieth century means that The Pilgrim’s Progress was read less often, there are still many versions for young readers, including pop-up books and graphic novels.

Keywords: Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, children’s literature, Louisa May Alcott, L. M. Montgomery, Francis Hodgson Burnett

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