In his commentary on the Pilgrim’s Progress, Barry E. Horner writes:
“…the assessment of The Pilgrim’s Progress for the future by Cambridge scholar George Sampson ought to be seriously pondered and optimistically embraced:
‘There is no need to say anything about the book by way of criticism; for its characters, its scenes and its phrases have become a common possession. Of course in every age there has been, and there always will be, the kind of superior person who disdains it. Such people are naught. The Pilgrim’s Progress goes on forever. Creeds may change and faith may be wrecked; but the life of man is still a pilgrimage, and in its painful course he must encounter the friends and the foes, the dangers and the despairs that Bunyan’s inspired simplicity has drawn so faithfully that even children know them at once for truth’
(George Sampson, The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1941), p. 375.
Sampson’s argument, put to rhyme, is that:
There is no need to speak haughtily and to criticize;
For Bunyan’s book has been commonly “possessified.”
Those who disdain popular consumption as “quite inedible.”
Are duly marginalized as those who are “simply. not. credible.”
Unregenerate ones are desirous of Chef Bunyan’s delicacies – the impression is indelible.
Regenerate ones discerning deceitful-dainties set before them are simply not compel-able.