John Bunyan (1628-1688): His Life, Times, and Work

By John Brown; Frank Mott Harrison | Go to book overview

XIV. 'MANSOUL' AND THE BEDFORD CORPORATION.

AFTER the appearance of The Life and Death of Mr. Badman in 1680, we have nothing further from Bunyan's pen for the next two years. During this time, however, he was engaged upon his second greatest work, The Holy War, made by Shaddai upon Diabolus.1 It was published by Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms in the Poultry in 1682, and Macaulay has said of it that it would have been our greatest religious allegory if The Pilgrim's Progress had never been written. Perhaps there would be more discrimination in saying that in the subtlety of its psychological distinctions and the completeness of its details The Holy War is superior to The Pilgrim's Progress, but that, judged by the standard of epic completeness, and by the power of laying hold of the simple instincts of the heart, it is greatly inferior. The characters in the former work are mere abstractions when compared with those of the latter. Captain Credence and Captain Conviction, for example, are shadowy shapes indeed by the side of Mr. Greatheart in his brave humanness, or Old Honest in his sturdy directness. Both. books are alike in this, that while they move in the region of the spiritual and supernatural, they at the same time tread the common earth, their scenes and circumstances being drawn from the writer's actual surroundings.

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1
Holy War, made by Shaddai upon Diabolus for the regaining of the Metropolis of the World; or the Losing and Taking again of the Town of Mansoul. By John Bunyan. London: Printed for Dorman Newman at the Kings Arms in the Poultry and Benjamin Alsop at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682. Den Heyligen Oorlogh... Uyt 't Engels Vertaalt. Amsterdam, 1685. 12mo. Der Heilige Krieg... Ins Hochteutsche übersetzet von Johann Lange. London, 1751. 8vo. Y Rhyfel Ysbrydol. Caerfyrddin, 1812. 12mo. La Sainte Guerre, traduite de l'Anglais. Paris. 1842. Eachdraidh fhirinneach m 'un Chogadh naemh. Eadar-theangaichte gu Gaelig le I. Rose. Duneidin, 1846. The Holy War, in Oriya. Cuttack, 1851. As Guerras da famosa Ciudade de Alumana, 1870. 12mo. The Holy War, in Bengali, N.D. The Holy War, in Canarese, translated from the Tamil version. Bangalore, 1884. The Holy War, in Arabic with 18 cuts, Den hellige Krig (Norsk). Bergen: 1878. Mbuk Edisana Ekön (Efik). 1836.

[The Second Edition appeared in 1684 with an altered title: The Holy War made by Christ upon the Devil for the Regaining of Man: Or, the Losing and Taking Again of the Town of Mansoul. This was also published by Dorman Newman. The next known edition, issued by Nath. Ponder, in London-Yard, in 1696, and all subsequent editions, bear the original title.]

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