Textual travels and transformations: Or, a tale of two lives of The Beginning, Progress and End of Man (1650) | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2042-8022
  • E-ISSN: 2042-8030



Based on archival research, this essay traces the travels and transformations in a little known, religious flap book The Beginning, Progress and End of Man, circulating as both a published and home-produced text for around two hundred years. Composed as a strip with flaps that could be turned up or down either with or against the grain of the narrative, it contains simple rhymes with crude woodcut images. Directed to a wide audience, including children, it was first published in England during the Civil War, and occasionally re-published in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the late eighteenth century it traveled to America, was reworked into a book format and repurposed as a literacy text for a gendered child audience. It continued to be published for another hundred years. In both counties children made their own versions as domestic activities.


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