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Evans, W.N. (1943). Notes on the Conversion of John Bunyan: A Study in English Puritanism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 24:176-185.

(1943). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 24:176-185

Notes on the Conversion of John Bunyan: A Study in English Puritanism

W. N. Evans

As I passed through the wilderness of this world I lighted on a place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept I dreamed a dream, I dreamed and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags and standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked and saw him open the book and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he broke out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?

These are the opening words of Pilgrim's Progress. The man of course is John Bunyan, and in that picture of the terrified sinner, fleeing from the City of Destruction in a desperate effort to save his soul, the Puritans of seventeenth-century England recognized their own plight and bewilderment.

The importance of Bunyan as an object of study is to be found in the fact that he is representative of the most repressive religious movement in history. That movement is known as Puritanism and it was during the seventeenth century that it grew and triumphed, leaving an indelible stamp on the English character. As R. H. Tawney (1926) has pointed out, it was Puritanism and not the Tudor secession from Rome that was the true English Reformation, and it is in that struggle against the old order that an England unmistak ably modern emerges. The triumphs of the Puritan spirit in Church and State, its fight for civil and religious liberty both in the old world and the new, have been a constant theme for historians.

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