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Palgrave Macmillan

Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana

ISBN 9781137428677
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana critically examines selected works of writers, from the sixth century to the twenty-first century, who were imprisoned for their beliefs. The collection argues that figures such as Boethius, Sir Thomas Malory, John Lilburne, John Bunyan, Henry David Thoreau, Louise Michel, Alice Paul and members of the National Woman's Party, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Huddie William Ledbetter ('Lead Belly'), Malcolm X, and Mehdi Zana, epitomize the tradition of speaking truth to power and sacrificing physical freedom - even life itself - in the service of that truth. Chapters explore figures' lives, provide close analyses of their works, and offer contextualization of their prison writings.

Philip Edward Phillips is Professor of English and Associate Dean of the University Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University, USA. His recent publications include A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages (2012), The Consolation of Queen Elizabeth I (2009), and New Directions in Boethian Studies (2007).

Introduction; Philip Edward Phillips and John R. Vile
1. Boethius, the Prisoner, and The Consolation of Philosophy; Philip Edward Phillips
2. 'For This was Drawyn by a Knyght Presoner': Sir Thomas Malory and Le Morte Darthur; Amy S. Kaufman
3. The Self-Incriminator: John Lilburne, the Star Chamber, and the English Origins of American Liberty; Robb McDaniel
4. John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, and Nonconformist Prison Literature; Brett Hudson
5. Henry David Thoreau and the Principle of Passive Resistance; Tom Strawman
6. The Radicalization of Louise Michel; Nancy Sloan Goldberg
7. 'From Prison to People': How Women Jailed for Suffrage Inscribed Their Prison Experience upon the American Public; Jane Marcellus
8. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: An Exemplar of Costly Discipleship in Action; John R. Vile
9. 'The Jail House is Full of Blues': Lead Belly's Prison Pleas; Mark Allan Jackson
10. The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the African American Quest for Freedom and Literacy; Laura Dubek
11. Mehdi Zana and the Struggle for Kurdish Ethnic Identity; Kari Neely

Laura Dubek, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Nancy Sloan Goldberg, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Brett A. Hudson, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Mark Allan Jackson, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Amy S. Kaufman, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Jane Marcellus, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Robb A. McDaniel, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Kari Sue Neely, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
Tom Strawman, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
John R. Vile, Middle Tennessee State University, USA


"Philip Edward Phillips has brought together a remarkable collection of perspectives in this sample of extraordinary documents written by people in prison. Some of the most important ideas in human history were hatched in prison and continue to inform our world. Hopefully, this introduction will lead readers to pursue others who did not let prison stifle their thought such as Marco Polo, Jeremiah, Cervantes, Paul, and Martin Luther King, Jr." - Harry Lee Poe, Charles Colson Professor of Faith and Culture, Union University, USA
"Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana encourages readers to educate themselves about very important and relevant topics. This is a unique and timely contribution to the world of letters and the humanities broadly conceived. The roll call of familiar figures, coupled with some less celebrated case studies, reifies and enriches expectations, thereby providing a viable platform for learning more about key incarcerated figures in the Western tradition, as well as about related social and political movements." - William E. Engel, Nick B. Williams Professor of English, Sewanee: The University of the South, USA
"The eleven stimulating biographical essays in this collection are certain to prompt readers to reflect on how the experience of being locked up by society for crimes of conscience can unlock a rich and distinctive array of written reflections on society's most fundamental values. Along with the excellent scholarly insights that the essays offer, their authors have provided the perfect introduction to help readers go on to explore the original writings of their subjects, who range from the 6th through the early 21st centuries." - Donald H. Whitfield, Vice-President, The Great Books Foundation
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