A Lutheran, a Methodist, and a Salvationist all walk into a bar...

... and John Bunyan, in dreaming persona, asks them if they are merely for talking at the ale-bench, or if their lives conform to holiness as in heart holiness, family-holiness, and conversation-holiness in the world (as Faithful asked Talkative, anyway). I'm working on a presentation on holiness in PP right now, as well as the marginal comments of the above denominational trio. The Lutheran is Byron Langenfeld, who takes detailed notes in his copy of PP, and who inspires the title of this post by being a professional comics gag-writer in the mid-twentieth century (notably for Dennis the Menace (US, not UK)). The Methodist is Milton Pierpointe, whose book copy I blogged about a while ago. The Salvationist (Salvation Army) is anonymous to me, but loves the gospel of salvation, loves emotive exclamations of prayer, and loves quoting favorite hymns.


Tracking marginal comments and what readers choose to underline allows some insight into other perspectives than one's own on the text - even if a lot of the analysis must remain conjectural.


I don't know for sure when the comments were written: Pierpointe's hand is childish, and shows evidence of handwriting practice improving his script, so I can date that active ownership from his own dates more or less - evidence of reading cannot be ascertained. For Langenfeld, his signature and printed upper case comments throughout his copy match the signature and hand writing in the archive of his comics gag production curated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, but the book edition is undated, with an 1896 copyright. The book is in tight and tidy condition with no signs of another owner or any leaves missing. Langenfeld's adult dates don't narrow the annotations down a whole lot.



My Salvationist reader (example annotated page above) abruptly stops heavily annotating just before Faithful's matyrdom, and the rest of the book copy, including PP Part II, is so tightly bound that it may not have been read at all. The book edition dates from possibly 1864 if it is this edition: Bunyan, John, Henry Courtney Selous, M. Paolo Priolo, and D. H Friston. The Pilgrim's Progress, from This World to That Which Is to Come. Edited by Robert Maguire. London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, 1864. The dates and publisher work but my copy does not have any mention of D.H Friston as a third illustrator. (Rev Robert Maguire's lectures / notes on PP seem to be first published in 1834, then re-issued in 1859; William Brock's 'Life of Bunyan' first appears in an edition of The Holy War in 1863 (edited by Maguire); frontispiece Bunyan portrait illlustrator W. J. Linton is said to have worked on his lithographs throughout his active life, but may have produced this before his move from England to America in 1867, which fit the dates. Of course the 1864 date may be of the edition but it could have been coming off the press in subsequent years. Certainly the Salvation Army is founded by William and Catherine Booth 1865, but not reorganized and renamed from the East London Christian Mission until 1878. So our Salvationist reader must be annotating after 1878 irrespective of the book copy's age because there is explicit underlined marginal reference to 'The Salvation Army'. So far the hymns quoted that I've looked up indicate that they are popular in hymn books throughout the nineteenth century, but some are waining from publication in the twentieth, so that could indicate an approximately 20 year window from 1878-1900, although we should bear in mind that hymn lyrics will linger in the mind for decades even after last sung congregationally, especially if formative in youth.


All in all, I reckon I have a 90 year window for these marginal notations across three book copies, roughly 1880-1970

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