Extensive new volume of work on Bedford’s famous son is donated to town

John Bunyan gifted book - Professor W.R Owens officially donating the book to Nicola Sherhod, Curator of the John Bunyan Museum and Library

A new and extensive volume of work on Bedford’s famous son John Bunyan has been donated to the town.

Professor W.R Owens, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the Open University, and Visiting Professor at the University of Bedfordshire, visited the John Bunyan Museum on Thursday, September 6, to donate a copy of the new publication, The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan.

It joins the extensive library collection of over 3,000 works on and by Bunyan.

With 38 contributors from around the world, The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan is the most extensive volume of original essays ever published on the 17th century Nonconformist preacher and writer.

Its 38 chapters examine Bunyan’s life and works, their religious and historical contexts, and the critical reception of his writings, in particular his allegorical narrative, The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Interdisciplinary and comprehensive, it provides unparalleled scope and expertise, ranging from literary theory to religious history and from theology to post-colonial criticism.

On the donation Professor Owens said: “It gives me great pleasure to donate to the John Bunyan Museum and Library.

“I have had a long association with Bedford since my PhD in 1980; researching Bunyan here (John Bunyan Museum), at Central Library, and County Archives, and I think it marvellous that a copy could go to what is the most important site of Bunyan studies in the world.”

John Bunyan Museum curator Nicola Sherhod added: “We are so grateful for such a wonderful gift to the collection.

“The book is a real testament to John Bunyan’s standing in the world, that academics from Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe have all been involved in its creation.”

Professor Owens was also able to attend a Bunyan Round Table, hosted by Bunyan Meeting’s Basement at Bunyan Gallery, and attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis and High Sheriff Julian Polhill.

There were also representatives of education organisation SACRA, and many Bunyan related locations, organisations and projects in Bedfordshire.

Edited by Michael Davies, senior lecturer in English, University of Liverpool, and Professor Owens, The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan, is released during September and retails at £110.

Visit www.bunyanmeeting.co.uk/museum and https://bunyansbedford.weebly.com

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