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Pilgrim’s Progress

I am pleased to present John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, in the Similitude of a Dream as Gloucester Bound’s inaugural printed and bound 18th century reproduction!

This  copy is a faithful facsimile of the “Thirty-First Edition. Adorned with a new Set of Cuts” (London, 1760). The text is bound “in the common manner,” with plain end papers, blind tooling, and no title on the spine. The book is full leather-bound with raised cords, hand-sewn endbands, and “Cambridge panels.” The text is reproduced from an original in Goddard Library’s “Bunyan Collection.” Below is a comparison of the original (which was at some point in time rebound in cloth) and the reproduction.

About Pilgrim’s Progress in the 18th Century

Frontspiece
The frontspiece of the 1760 edition after scanning and cleaning the image. Linked to original scan.

As I walked thro’ the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den1, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man cloathed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.2 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?3

Thus opens John Bunyan’s classic. This 17th century allegory became a stable of English religious life—second only to the Bible. Even in the colonies, Bunyan’s work had a significant impact. Benjamin Franklin (who was not known for being a pious man by any means) was particularly fond of Bunyan:

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim’s Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan’s works in separate little volumes. 4

Later in his autobiography Franklin again mentions receiving a handsomely bound Dutch translation of Pilgrim’s Progress. He relates a story from his travels as a 17 year old young man:

In crossing the bay, we met with a squall that tore our rotten sails to pieces, prevented our getting into the Kill and drove us upon Long Island. In our way, a drunken Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell overboard; when he was sinking, I reached through the water to his shock pate, and drew him up, so that we got him in again. His ducking sobered him a little, and he went to sleep, taking first out of his pocket a book, which he desir’d I would dry for him. It proved to be my old favorite author, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in Dutch, finely printed, on good paper, with copper cuts, a dress better than I had ever seen it wear in its own language.

Franklin goes on to explain the volume’s notoriety:

I have since found that it has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible. Honest John was the first that I know of who mix’d narration and dialogue, a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who, in the most interesting parts, finds himself, as it were, brought into the company, and present at the discourse. De Foe, in his Cruso, his Moll Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family Instructor, and other pieces, has imitated it with success, and Richardson has done the same in his Pamela, etc.5

…a new Set of Cuts

The 1760 edition is “Adorned with a new Set of Cuts.” Each cut, as scanned from the original copy, is shown below.

Price and Order Inquiries

As bound above, this facsimile of Pilgrim’s Progress is available for $200 + shipping. Other binding options and prices are available as experience, time, materials, and tools allow. Contact us below with inquiries.