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Lives of John Donne, Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker,

Izaak Walton

Book Overview: 

Walton’s leisurely labors as a biographer seem to have grown out of his devotion to angling. It was probably as an angler that he made the acquaintance of Sir Henry Wotton, but it is clear that Walton had more than a love of fishing and a humorous temper to recommend him to the friendship of the accomplished ambassador. Walton completed and published the life of Donne, much to the satisfaction of the most learned critics, in 1640. Sir Henry Wotton dying in 1639, Walton undertook his life also; it was finished in 1642 and published in 1651. His life of Hooker was published in 1662, that of George Herbert in 1670. All these subjects were endeared to the biographer by a certain gentleness of disposition and cheerful piety; three of them at least—Donne, Wotton and Herbert—were anglers. Their lives were evidently written with loving pains, in the same leisurely fashion as his Angler, and like it are of value less as exact knowledge than as harmonious and complete pictures of character.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .And I have been told, more than forty years past, that either Cardinal Allen,[25] or learned Dr. Stapleton,[26]—both Englishmen, and in Italy about the time when Mr. Hooker's four books were first printed,—meeting with this general fame of them, were desirous to read an author, that both the reformed and the learned of their own Romish Church did so much magnify; and therefore caused them to be sent for to Rome: and after reading them, boasted to the Pope,—which then was Clement the Eighth,—"That though he had lately said, he never met with an English book, whose writer deserved the name of author; yet there now appeared a wonder to them, and it would be so to his Holiness, if it were in Latin: for a poor obscure English Priest had writ four such books of Laws, and Church-polity, and in a style that expressed such a grave and so humble a majesty, with such clear demonstration of reason, that in all their readings they had not met with any that exce. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I have a few versions of this on my shelves from the nicely bound hard back to paper backs I can hand out (you know "loan").

This is (as I'm sure most already know) an allegorical journey depicting the struggles of living the Christian life. John Bunyan was a Baptist imprisoned when it was against...more

Midway upon the journey between my home and work did I open the case of my kindle, and in that case I did there find a kindle. Then, I turned this kindle on and lo! what there did I find? The Pilgrim’s Progress. And so mine eyes began to read the screen. Thus, I did set upon another journey at th...more

simply amazing. There is a reason why many literary critics consider this the best Christian book/read next to the Bible. This book although not a difficult read compared to other literary classics will definitely challenge you with its many allegories and metaphors of the Christian life. For any...more

I read this book during my second deployment to Iraq as well and it took me quite a while to finish it. I had seen this book referenced often and I wanted to read it on my own. The overall consensus is that it is a very compelling book and will pull at your soul's emotional strings with its simpl...more

The Pilgrim's Progress is a wonderful work written by a 17th-century Puritan, John Bunyan, from his prison cell in a time of persecution.

J.C. Ryle wrote of this book, “I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ign...more

In the dawn of the day Reader began his quest for the Great Denoument with a glad heart, his countenance suffused by the Joy of Literature Yet Unread and unburthened by Mercantile Drear. He knew he should soon pass threw Goodreads City which was said to be very Malevolent yet still he feared not...more

So you know when you hear that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever because of how revolutionary it was during its time period, and then you watch it and you realize that the key phrase is "during its time period"? Well, reading Pilgrim's Progress is likely to leave many with the same feeling. No...more

991. The pilgrim's progress, John Bunyan (1628 - 1688)
The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 l...more

Pilgrim's Progress is about two delusional assholes wandering around being dicks to people, so it's basically a takeoff of Don Quixote. But the dreaming narrator seems unconscious of the fact that the pilgrims are both jerks. I suppose it's possible that they're not supposed to be jerks at all, b...more

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