In John Bunyan’s hands, a pious tract is transformed into a work of imaginative literature, The Pilgrim’s Progress, whose influence – both on work that followed and on the English consciousness as a whole – has been immeasurable. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Roger Pooley. John Bunyan began The Pilgrim’s Progress while he was in prison for conducting unauthorised Baptist religious services outside of the Church of England. In this classic allegory, devout everyman Christian abandons his family and the City of Destruction and sets off to find salvation. His path is straight but not easy, and he is beset by trials, including the terrible violence of the destructive Apollyon and the Giant Despair, as he pursues his pilgrimage through the Slough of Despond, the Delectable Mountains and Vanity Fair towards the Celestial City. In the second part of the narrative his wife, Christiana, is escorted by Great-Heart through the same difficult terrain. Written with the urgency of a persecuted faith and a fiery imagination, The Pilgrim’s Progress is a spiritual as well as a literary classic. In his introduction, Roger Pooley discusses Bunyan’s life and theology, as well as the text’s biblical and historical backdrop, its success and critical history. This edition also includes further reading, notes and accompanying seventeenth-century illustrations, a chronology, suggested further reading, notes and an index. John Bunyan (1628-88) was born in Elstow, a village near Bedford. Soon after the Restoration he was arrested for unlicensed preaching and, because he refused to stop, remained in prison in Bedford for twelve years. In 1678 he published the first part of The Pilgrim’s Progress. It became an immediate bestseller, running through twelve editions and being translated into Dutch, French and Welsh during Bunyan’s lifetime; since then it has been translated into more than two hundred languages. If you enjoyed The Pilgrim’s Progress, you might like Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, also available in Penguin Classics.