Influence of the King James Bible:
17 - 19th Centuries
The King James Bible was an outstanding publishing success. The text has remained in print for 400 years, and has appeared in many different editions. Poets John Donne and John Milton, composer Friderick Handel, artist William Blake, and novelists Emily Brontë and Herman Melville have all made use of the text in creative and memorable ways.
One of the earliest writers to embrace the King James Bible was a Dean of St Paul’s cathedral, the poet John Donne.The language of the King James Bible could be heard in his sermons.
Composed in 1741-42, Handel's oratorio The Messiah has proved to be an immensely successful musical setting of the King James Bible text. It is still widely perfomed today.
John Milton was inspired by the text of the King James Bible and reflected it in both his preaching and in his great epic poem, Paradise Lost. Another work of the Puritan period, John Bunyan's The Pligrim Progress is considered one of the most influential religious books ever published in English, second only to the King James Bible.
The King James Bible first arrived in America in 1630 with John Winthrop, later Governor of Massachusetts. It provided both a blueprint and a vision for the new colony and by the 19th century was deeply influential upon with work of writers such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Herman Melville.