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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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Bunyart'S Women, Women's Bunyan

Bunyart'S Women, Women's Bunyan

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 5 Bunyart'S Women, Women's Bunyan
Source:
Trauma and Transformation
Author(s):

Margaret J. M. Ezell

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804757850.003.0005

This chapter argues that John Bunyan's relations to women, and theirs to him, are far more historically, artistically, and psychologically complex than most previous critics have suggested. Drawing on seventeenth-century women's literary history, it reexamines Bunyan's place in the gender politics of the early modern landscape and demonstrates that critics have curiously colluded with Bunyan himself in averting their gaze from the powerful feminine figures that populate his writings. The chapter looks at the controversies surrounding a woman named Margaret Pryor, who was accused of witchcraft after having been turned into a bay mare. This reported incident, along with the scandal of church member Agnes Beaumont riding behind him on horseback, illustrates the historical reality of the women found in Bunyan's writings but who are often considered mere footnotes in critical discussions. Bunyan's writings seem to reveal complex characterizations of femininity.

Keywords:   John Bunyan, women, gender politics, Margaret Pryor, witchcraft, Agnes Beaumont, femininity, literary history

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