The Life and Death of Mr. Badman

Przednia okładka
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 13 sty 2017 - 152
Practically every literate speaker of English has heard of THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS and its author, John Bunyan. Less well-known to readers, however, are Bunyan's other writings, including THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MR. BADMAN PRESENTED TO THE WORLD IN A FAMILIAR DIALOGUE BETWEEN MR. WISEMAN AND MR. ATTENTIVE. There are reasons, of course, for modern neglect of Bunyan's other works. First, there are relatively few readers attracted to the vast bulk of seventeenth century religious writings in our time. Second, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MR. BADMAN, being a didactic work, seems sententious and dull to the modern reader. Third, the moral v In one sense, however, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MR. BADMAN is a companion piece to THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. The latter work shows the Christian, devoted and obedient, winning his way to the rewards of righteousness, while the former illustrates what happens to the sinner who steadfastly refuses to acknowledge his evil ways and insists upon leading a depraved existence throughout a life that can be characterized only as evil, regardless of whether one agrees wholeheartedly with Bunyan's code of ethics in its entirety. The protagonist of the story, as it is related in dialogue, is Mr. Badman. He has all the evil in his heart one could possibly imagine. Unlike the typical hero of picaresque fiction, Mr. Badman has no aspect that can endear him to the reader. Bunyan expected his readers to feel that the sooner Mr. Badman received punishment, the better; there is no need to shed tears over such a character. Bunyan's technique in presenting the story of Mr. Badman is to have Mr. Wiseman, the author's spokesman, relate the story of Badman's life shortly after the sinner's death. Mr. Wiseman's listener, aptly named Mr. Attentive, not only listens carefully but also draws out the details of the narrative when Mr. Wiseman lags. The dialogue form is an old one, used for ages to bring edifying material to the reader and force him into the role of a passive participant.

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John Bunyan was born in Elstow, Bedfordshire, England, in 1628. He learned to read and write at the village school and was prepared to follow his father's trade as a brazier when the English Civil War broke out in 1644 and he was drafted into the Parliamentary army. His military service brought him into contact with Oliver Cromwell's Puritan troops. Beginning in 1648, Bunyan suffered a crisis in religious faith that lasted for several years. He turned to the Nonconformist church in Bedford to sustain him during this period. His first writings were attacks against the Quakers. Then Charles II was restored to the throne and Bunyan was arrested for conducting services not in accordance with the Church of England. He spent 12 years in jail. During this time, he wrote his autobiography, Grace Abounding, in which he described his spiritual struggle and growth. During his last years in prison, Bunyan began his most famous work, The Pilgrim's Progress, a two-part allegorical tale of the character Christian and his journey to salvation. Part I was published in 1678 and Part II in 1684. The second part deals with the spiritual journey of Christian's wife and sons, as they follow in his footsteps. With its elements of the folktale tradition, The Pilgrim's Progress became popular immediately. Well into the nineteenth century it was a book known to almost every reader in England and New England, second in importance only to the Bible. So great was the book's influence that it even plays a major role in Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott. Such expressions as "the slough of despond" and "vanity fair" have become part of the English language. Bunyan's other works include The Life and Death of Mr. Badman and The Holy War. He also wrote A Book for Boys and Girls, verses on religious faith for children. Bunyan died in London on August 31, 1688.

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