Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Robert Gaucher & Sylvie Frigon
Prison literature is an established literary genre that spans the age of written text. It takes a multiplicity of forms, styles, and intents, and includes biography, fiction, poetry, drama, sociopolitical commentary, and analysis. From classical Greek and Roman literature through biblically inspired narratives and their antithesis to the philosophers, radical thinkers, and avant-garde of the 19th and 20th centuries, writers in prison have had a major impact on world literature. The prison has served as an important symbol and metaphor throughout the recorded history (i.e., text) of Western thought, and its material realities have formed the immediate context and crucible for an influential and celebrated group of writers and intellectuals. According to Davies (1990), “It is arguable that it is impossible to understand Occidental thought without recognizing the central significance of prison and banishment in its theoretical and literary composition” (p. 3). As a long-term prisoner, administrators can offer few ...