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Prose and Cons: Essays on Prison Literature in the United States written by D. Quentin Miller

 

Prose and Cons: Essays on Prison Literature in the United States written by D. Quentin Miller

Overview:

As the United States' prison population has exploded over the past 30 years, a rich, provocative and ever-increasing body of literature has emerged, written either by prisoners or by those who have come in close contact with them. Unlike earlier prison writings, contemporary literature moves in directions that are neither uniformly ideological nor uniformly political. It has become increasingly personal, and the obsessive subject is the way identity is shaped, compromised, altered, or obliterated by incarceration.

The 14 essays in this work examine the last 30 years of prison literature from a wide variety of perspectives. The first four essays examine race and ethnicity, the social categories most evident in U.S. prisons. The three essays in the next section explore gender, a prominent subject of prison literature highlighted by the absolute separation of male and female inmates. Section three provides three essays focused on the part ideology plays in prison writings. The four essays in section four consider how aesthetics and language are used, seeking to define the qualities of the literature and to determine some of the reasons it exists.

Synopsis:

With its exploding prison population in the last 30 years, it is not surprising that the US has seen a number of significant works as well as significant changes in prisoner-authors' styles and themes. In this collection of 13 essays, contributors describe how those works and changes came about from the perspectives of race and ethnicity, gender, ideology, aesthetics and language. Specific topics include reactions of white readers of nonwhite prison narratives, critical witnessing in Latino and African American narratives, compulsive masculinity and the convict ethic, dealing with loss through writing and solidarity, writing into the prison-industrial complex, and prison slang, with reviews of the works of bandele, Bunker, Federman, Jackson, Lowell and Mailer. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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Title: Prose and Cons: Essays on Prison Literature in the United States

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