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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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Young Man Bunyan

Young Man Bunyan

(p.41) Chapter 4 Young Man Bunyan
Trauma and Transformation

Vera J. Camden

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines John Bunyan's role in the national cataclysm of civil war. Drawing upon Erik Erikson's psychobiography of Martin Luther, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History, it analyzes Bunyan's early years and how the regicide resonates with the young Bunyan's “masterless” state. As a young man, Bunyan served in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army during the period when Charles I was captured and beheaded by parliamentary forces. The chapter argues that Bunyan's military service acted ironically as a moratorium from the deviancy of his youth and that the regimentation of army life provided him with the external discipline which enabled him to maintain his psychic structure. It also focuses on Bunyan's young manhood, recognizing the importance of his participation in the English Revolution; his “acting-out,” which he calls his “profligacy,” upon his discharge from the military and his return to Elstow; and the meanings of his various religious adventures and attractions before he met the Bedford women and the Bedford pastor, John Gifford.

Keywords:   John Bunyan, civil war, Erik Erikson, Martin Luther, regicide, military service, women, John Gifford, English Revolution, Charles I

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