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Imitative sequel writing: divine breathings, second part of the Pilgrim's Progress, and the case of T. S. (aka Thomas Sherman)
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During the period between 1640 and 1700, over forty works were produced by authors identifying themselves as “T. S.” In the field of early modern literary studies, one T. S. has been particularly important to scholars because of this author’s imitative version of John Bunyan’s popular allegory titled The Second Part of the Pilgrim’s Progress (1682). This work by T. S., who has become known as Thomas Sherman, achieves minor success and prompts Bunyan to write his own authentic sequel. My research has uncovered an attribution history that identifies four additional texts—Divine Breathings (circa 1671); Youth’s Tragedy (1671); Youth’s Comedy (1680); Divine Breathings, the Second Part (1680)—and credits all of them to a Thomas Sherman. Of the five works attributed to this author, the most impressive printing history belongs to the earliest offering, Divine Breathings, or a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ in a Hundred Pathetical Meditations, which appears in over 60 printings from 1671 to 1883 in England, Scotland, and North America. My research scrutinizes this attribution history and raises questions about identifying this T. S. as Thomas Sherman. Based on internal and external evidence, I argue that T. S. is not the author of Divine Breathings but establishes his authorial identity as an imitative writer who actively participates in the genre of Protestant meditational literature by providing sequels (i.e., Divine Breathings …the Second Part and Second Part of the Pilgrim’s Progress).
17th-Century British Literature
Garrett, Christopher E. (2007). Imitative sequel writing: divine breathings, second part of the Pilgrim's Progress, and the case of T. S. (aka Thomas Sherman). Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from