Something Short of Redemption:: The Pilgrims of John Updike and Douglas Copeland

Tuesday, 12 Jun 2007

Pilgrimage, biblically speaking, is far more than ascetic renunciation. The letter to the Hebrews employs pilgrimage as a metaphor to underscore the transcience of the present life and as a reminder of our hope in the life to come.
An enduring metaphor in the most popular of Christian devotional literature, from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress to Charles Shelton's In His Steps, is that of pilgrimage. This is to be expected, because Scripture itself enjoins us to imagine the life of faith as a journey: we are traveling toward a destination we have not reached. Can the same observation be made of American fiction, but in this case that it, too, is replete with the metaphor of pilgrimage? In Reflections on America Jacques Maritain observed that "Americans ...

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