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He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Book Reviews

Greaves, Richard L. Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent. Stanford.

American Historical Review: “Greaves has devoted a lifetime to the study of English Puritans and nonconformity, and this ambitious book represents a triumphant culmination and achievement. This is a fine biography that will stand the test of time.” Anglican Theological Review: “Connects Bunyan’s life very effectively with the political and religious history of the age. A solid, judicious, and reliable work built on a thoroughly stunning array of primary and secondary resources.” Utopian Studies: “Overall, I believe that the author falls somewhat short of success in this ambitious project. Greaves masterfully captures the milieu in which Bunyan lived, but fails to clarify the importance of his central figure to the overall path of English dissent in this era. Greaves has a magisterial knowledge of Bunyan’s works, but this very same attention to detail has the effect of overwhelming the reader, seriously slowing down the flow of the narrative. Perhaps the best parts of this book are those dealing with Bunyan’s personal religious struggles and beliefs. The author indulges in too much speculation for this reviewer’s taste. Readers with an intense interest in both the life of John Bunyan and the religious controversies of Post-Restoration England will have their time and effort rewarded with a vast store of information and much learned analysis.” Choice: “Outstanding title. A monumental study. The book could have been shorter. Greaves overdoes his diagnosis of Bunyan’s clinical depression and catalogs more images of light/darkness than necessary. Quibbles aside, every library that owns the multivolume Miscellaneous Works should have this volume.” Catholic Historical Quarterly: “’Magisterial’ is an overworked adjective among reviewers [no kidding!], but in this case it seems justified.” Christianity and Literature: “A virtual encyclopedia of Bunyaniana.”


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10:53 PM  

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