ABSTRACT

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners occupies a unique position within the traditionally agreed canon of texts by John Bunyan. In a literary criticism which takes as its supreme object of knowledge the individual human consciousness, any text which can be read as autobiographical is assured of a double significance. It may be read as itself offering the most immediate access to the originating consciousness of the author, whilst providing an authoritative source of legitimation for other more overtly fictional, less apparently personal, texts. A succinct formulation of this approach within Bunyan studies is provided by one of its earliest advocates, George Offor: 'The Grace Abounding, or Life of Bunyan, is a key to all the mysteries of The Pilgrim's Progress, and Holy War.' 1