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Trauma and TransformationThe Political Progress of John Bunyan$
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Vera J. Camden

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804757850

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804757850.001.0001

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Introduction: The Political Progress of John Bunyan

Introduction: The Political Progress of John Bunyan

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: The Political Progress of John Bunyan
Trauma and Transformation

Vera J. Camden

Stanford University Press

The life and writings of John Bunyan (1628–1688) follow the contours of the Civil War, Restoration, and Glorious Revolution that shaped England during the seventeenth century. When compared to such contemporaries as John Milton, Samuel Pepys, or Andrew Marvell, however, Bunyan is remarkably silent about the events of those tumultuous years. This book examines the question of Bunyan's “political progress” and the tensions that have surrounded him since he first began to preach and write. It looks at T. S. Eliot's theory of the “dissociation of sensibility” as a watershed of the modern experience, linking that experience of dissociation to the oedipal victory enacted by Parliament in its violation of the primal taboo against regicide. The book also challenges the notion that there was a collective trauma suffered by England following the execution of Charles I. Other topics addressed by the book include religious pluralism and intolerance, rebellion against authority, the temptation to tyranny, the gendering of dissent and the dissent from gendered imperatives, and the impact of cultural change on the experience of national subjects.

Keywords:   John Bunyan, regicide, Charles I, England, political progress, Civil War, religious pluralism, T. S. Eliot, dissociation of sensibility, dissent

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