Religion in the Age of Enlightenment


Religion in the Age of Enlightenment, review, John Bunyan


In these papers from the Third Triennial Conference of the International John Bunyan Society, the life and writings of John Bunyan assume a less tidy shape than appears in standard biographies. Bunyan braved the consequences of defying the Act of Uniformity of 1662, yet Trauma and Transformation does not view the Dissenting author as possessing an identity galvanized by persecution. Nor, on the other hand, do the essays reduce Bunyan's religious sensitivity to a psychological disorder. Rather, the contributors to this collection work to excavate the gaps in the existing record of Bunyan's life. Notably, they address Bunyan's silence concerning the execution of Charles I in 1649, directing attention to his vexed relation with royalism. Along the way, Trauma and Transformation also reconsiders Bunyan's connection to libertinism, gender, Puritan selfhood, and his youthful transgressions, revealing a writer more closely tied to the literary and political culture from which he sought to distance himself.