First performance of new work based on The Pilgrim’s Progress

Cliff Falling by Simon Rackham

Cliff Falling by Simon Rackham

‘On Sunday 23rd March 2014, members of Bedford School, Bedford Girls’ School and Pilgrim’s Pre-Preparatory School will be joining forces with professional vocal ensemble VOCES8 and the Phoenix Orchestra to present the first performance of a specially commissioned work ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ composed and directed by Harvey Brough.

The work was commissioned with generous support from the Bedford School Trust; with a specially written libretto by James Runcie, it re-tells the classic allegorical story of Bunyan’s hero ‘Christian’ as he makes his journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City’

The first performance of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ will take place on Sunday 23rd March 2014 at 7.30pm in the Great Hall, Bedford School. Tickets, priced £8 (£4 students) are available from the Bedford School Music Box Office Tel : 01234 362254, Email : rielden@bedfordschool.org.uk

For more information download the leaflet here .

BUNYAN STUDIES 17 (2013): FORTHCOMING

By W.R. Owens

WHH portraitThe 2013 number of Bunyan Studies is now in press and will be available in early March. It is a special number marking the one hundredth anniversary of the death of the novelist William Hale White, better known by his literary pseudonym ‘Mark Rutherford’. White was born in Bedford on 22 December 1831, and died in Groombridge in Kent on 14 March 1913. It is appropriate that he is being commemorated in Bunyan Studies, because his parents were prominent members of Bunyan Meeting and White himself attended it every week up until he was about seventeen. Among the last things he wrote was a book-length study of Bunyan, published in 1905. He is best remembered for the six novels he published between 1881 and 1896: The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford (1881); Mark Rutherford’s Deliverance (1885); The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane (1887); Miriam’s Schooling (1890); Catherine Furze (1893); and Clara Hopgood (1896).

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A walking tour…

By Roger Pooley

‘whereas Christian goes on a pilgrimage, Christiana goes on a walking-tour’

This quotation was posted on Facebook by Jameela Lares, with a plea to get the source of it to her before she taught The Pilgrim’s Progress that morning. I’m sorry that it’s taken me rather longer than that, other than a vague memory, but I thought other members of the Society might like to know the results.

It comes from ‘The Identity of the Pseudo-Bunyan’ in Ronald Knox, Essays in Satire (London, 1928: Sheed & Ward), on p.206. The essay is one of a number of satires on biblical source criticism and other ‘modern’ theological ideas of the time – the volume also contains a poem in the manner of Dryden, ‘Absolute and Abitofhell’. The essay itself invents a number of Bunyanesque pseudo-scholars: among them Professor Sack-the-lot, Mr Tithe-mint, and my personal favourite, Canon Obvious, the author of Dear Old Bunyan. The quotation in question is actually ascribed to Mr Muck-rake’s On the Trail of the Pilgrims, as the climax to a whole series of inconsistencies that he has pointed out between Parts One and Two.
The conclusion, after a discussion of the differences between the two parts which (ironies aside) is still worth attending to, is too magnificent not to quote at length. He draws attention to Great-heart’s ‘panegyric upon women’ where:
‘he traces the influence of women in the Gospels with the avowed object of showing that they were ahead of the other sex from end to end of the story. It is my own belief, though one which I offer with all due reserve to the public, that this is the true reading of the problem. The fortunes of Christiana, strange as it may seem, were foisted upon the world by a woman, jealous for the credit of her own sex, and an Anglican, equally jealous for the reputation of a much-maligned and recently persecuted Church.’ (p.219)

Season Greetings

At the end of 2013, there is much to celebrate for the IJBS.

The 7th Triennial Conference in Princeton will be remembered as a major event in the life of the Society. Our listserv is now in place, the Greaves Committee has been appointed thanks to a new set of regulations and procedures, and our website has grown into a major source of information on Bunyan’s life and works, with a chronology and bibliography provided, respectively, by Bob Owens and Galen Johnson. We have had over 2,000 views in the past few months, a more than honourable figure for the young website of a learned society!

IJBS 2013 Greetings

There remains much to be done in 2014: to rethink the electronic Recorder, to upgrade the website to a better, more professional solution that will allow us to set up a credit card form to renew online, to redact the new statutes and by-laws, and to set up regional meetings between triennial conferences. The Executive Committee is looking forward to these new challenges and to help you get the best of your membership of the IJBS. In the meantime, may we wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Anne Page, Aix-Marseille Université

Richard L. Greaves Prize: 2016 Committee

The Executive Committee of the IJBS is delighted to announce that the selection Committee of the 2016 Richard L. Greaves Prize has been appointed (see corresponding page on this website). The jury will examine works published between 2013 and 2015 and present the Prize at the 2016 8th Triennial conference in Aix-en-Provence (France).

You can download the Prize’s regulations and procedures here.

Chairman

N. H. Keeble is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling. His research interests lie in English cultural history of the period 1500-1700, in particular: (i) the Puritan tradition (Baxter, Bunyan, Cromwell, Fox, Marvell, Milton); (ii) prose (fictional and non-fictional); (iii) the Civil War and English Revolution; (iv) constructions of woman and writing by women; (v) the Restoration; (v) early modern print culture. His publications include Richard Baxter: Puritan Man of Letters (1982), The Literary Culture of Nonconformity in later seventeenth-century England (1987), The Restoration: England in the 1660s (2002). He has edited John Bunyan, Conventicle and Parnassus (1988) and John Bunyan: Reading Dissenting Writing (2003), as well as The Pilgrim’s Progress in the Oxford World’s Classics (1998). He is currently leading a team preparing a scholarly edition of Reliquiae Baxterianae for Oxford University Press. More about Neil Keeble on his institutional website, http://rms.stir.ac.uk/converis-stirling/person/11778.

Judges

Ann Hughes is from February 2014 Senior Research Fellow and Professor Emerita at Keele University, where she was Professor of Early Modern History between 1995 and 2014. She specialises in the history of early modern England with particular interests in the culture, religion and politics of the English civil war or English Revolution. In recent years she has worked on religious debate and polemic, print culture, gender and radicalism. Her publications include Gangraena and the Struggle for the English Revolution (2004), Gender and the English Revolution (2011) and, edited with Thomas Corns and David Loewenstein, The Complete Works of Gerrard Winstanley (2009). Her work has benefited from the influence of literary scholars and she is committed to inter-disciplinary approaches. Current projects include a book on preaching during the Revolution, and work on financial accounts and memorialisation during the civil war.More about Ann Hugues on her institutional website,      http://www.keele.ac.uk/hss/facultycontacts/annhughes/.

Cynthia Wall is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Virginia and a specialist of Restoration and eighteenth-century literature. She is the author of The Literary and Cultural Spaces of Restoration London (1998) and The Prose of Things (2006) and we owe her the Norton Edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress (2008). She has edited The Concise Companion to the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (Blackwell, 2005) and Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms (2001, with Dennis Todd), as well as the Penguin Edition of A Journal of the Plague Year (2003). Her Norton Critical Edition of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama is forthcoming in 2014. More about Cynthia Wall on her institutional website, http://www.engl.virginia.edu/people/cw5p.

Nathalie Collé-Bak as new editor of The Recorder

This November has seen a change in the IJBS’s Executive Committee. Our long-standing editor of The Recorder, Chris Garrett, has decided to step down after two terms on the IJBS’s board, and Nathalie Collé-Bak (Université de Lorraine, France) has agreed to replace him. A very warm welcome to Nathalie, and our deepest thanks to Chris for looking so well after our newsletter, a vital link between the IJBS and its members throughout the world. Nathalie will edit her first Recorder next spring (2014), and we wish her the very best in her new task.

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May I take this opportunity to remind all our members that they have premium access to The Recorder as soon as it  is published. The latest issue is then made available to all on this site with a six-month delay.

All enquiries/submissions to The Recorder should now be forwarded to the address especially created for editorial correspondence: IJBSrecordereditor@yahoo.com.

Anne Page, Aix-Marseille Université, November 2013

Pilgrim’s Progress begins 100-part list of best novels

Capture d’écran 2013-11-22 à 09.50.07

The Pilgrim’s Progress begins The Observer‘s 100-part list of best novels written in English. Robert Mc Crum explains his enduring popularity: “The Pilgrim’s Progress is the ultimate English classic, a book that has been continuously in print, from its first publication to the present day, in an extraordinary number of editions.

There’s no book in English, apart from the Bible, to equal Bunyan’s masterpiece for the range of its readership, or its influence on writers as diverse as William Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, Mark Twain, CS Lewis, John Steinbeck and even Enid Blyton”.

View the complete article on The Observer’s website: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/23/100-best-novels-pilgrims-progress

Harlington Manor

Capture d’écran 2013-11-18 à 15.15.01Harlington Manor (previously Harlington House) is arguably the last standing domestic building where John Bunyan is known to have been. Bunyan was interrogated there, probably in the Hall or the great parlour, after his arrest at Lower Samsell (Bedfordshire) in November 1660, by the magistrate who had issued the warrant, Sir Francis Wingate. Tradition has it that Bunyan might have spent the night after his interrogation in a room in Harlington House that was still known as ‘Bunyan’s cell’ in the nineteenth century, but there is no mention of this in Bunyan’s own account of his interrogation. Wingate was joined in the interrogation by the vicar of the nearby Harlington parish Church, William Lindall, who was referred to by Bunyan as ‘an old enemy to the truth’. Ironically, Wingate’s eldest son, also named Francis, married Lady Anne Annesley, the fourth daughter of Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey, and cousin to Samuel Annesley, the Presbyterian minister. When Francis died in 1690, Anne might have shown sympathies towards the Nonconformists and three of their children, Frances, Anna Letitia and Rachel, became members of Bunyan’s former congregation in Bedford. Anna Letitia became the second wife of John Jennings, the tutor of the Dissenting Academy at Kibworth Harcourt (Leicestershire), where Philip Doddridge studied. We’d be glad to hear from any member of the Society who has more information about the episode of Bunyan’s arrest and interrogation at Harlington.

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 Harlington Manor is now in private hands, and its owners provide accommodation and tours for the public. If you happen to be in Bedfordshire, it is well worth a visit, http://harlingtonmanor.com.

room67Further reading: John Bunyan, A Relation of my Imprisonment, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, ed. Roger Sharrock (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962); John Brown, John Bunyan (1628-1688): His Life, Times, and Work, tercentenary ed., rev. by Frank Mott Harrison (London, Glasgow, Birmingham: The Hulbert Publishing Company, 1928), p. 125-150; Beth Lynch, John Bunyan and the Language of Conviction (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004), p. 23-33; Richard Greaves’s Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent (Stanford University Press, 2002), p. 130-145; Clergy of England Database, http://theclergydatabase.org.uk, Dissenting Academy Online, http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/portal.html; David L. Wykes, ‘Jennings, John (1687/8–1723)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/14759, accessed 18 Nov 2013]; Newton E. Key, ‘Annesley, Samuel (bap. 1620, d. 1696)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2013 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/566, accessed 18 Nov 2013]. Of related interest: Harlington Church, http://www.harlingtonchurch.org.uk

The IJBS at Dr Williams’s Library

If you happen to be in London on Saturday 9 November 2013, join us for a one-day conference on dissenting experience, co-convened by Michael Davies, Anne Dunan-Page, and Joel Halcomb, in partnership with the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies. There are distinguished members of IJBS among the speakers (Michael Davies, N. H. Keeble and Kathleen Lynch), and acting Secretary Bob Owens and UK treasurer David Walker will also be in attendance; check the accompanying blog for further details http://dissent.hypotheses.org, and download the full programme here.

© Trustees of Dr Williams's Library

© Trustees of Dr Williams’s Library

Michael Davies (scroll down for a presentation of his forthcoming edition of the Bedford Church Book) will be talking about the Bunyan Church in a paper entitled  ‘Life after Bunyan: Ebenezer Chandler and the Pastorship of the Bedford congregation’. There will be three of these conferences (2013, 2014, 2015), each on a different theme, and we hope that they will also serve as stepping stones to the IJBS 2016 triennial gathering.