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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan. It reflects upon Bunyan’s ‘presence’ as a religious and historical figure and an author of major significance for literature, culture, and politics, both in the past and the present, in Britain and across the world. It contests the oft-alleged myth that Bunyan’s relevance has waned dramatically since the Second World War, being popular now, we are often told, only within academia and among evangelicals. By contrast, this chapter considers the living ‘resonance’ of Bunyan’s writings and of his legacy both in and for art, literature, and popular culture now in the broader terms of human rights and civil liberties, on the one hand, and a ‘memorial dynamics’ and the ‘portability’ of his works on the other. This chapter addresses the rationale behind this volume, explains its structure, summarizes its contents, and reflects too upon some future directions for ‘Bunyan studies’.

Keywords: John Bunyan, human rights, portability, resonance, Bunyan studies

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