Literary works written in prison

A jail cell isn't close to the cliche we imagine about the great books being written by our favourite authors. Check out these masterpieces created in prison cells and works inspired by the solitude found behind bars.
Prison-Break Best-works literature powerful books-written-in-jail
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The Enormous Room

by E. E. Cummings

About the book:  This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

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Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

by Henry David Thoreau

About the book:  Representative sampling of Thoreau's most frequently read and cited essays: "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849), "Life without Principle" (1863), "Slavery in Massachusetts" (1854), "A Plea for Captain John Brown" (1869) and "Walking" (1862).

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Don Quixote

by Miguel De Cervantes

About the book:  Edith Grossman's definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece. Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven't experienced Don Quixote in English until you've read this masterful translation.This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

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The History of the World

by J. M. Roberts,O. A. Westad

About the book:  J.M. Roberts's renowned History of the World is widely considered the finest available one-volume survey of the major events, developments, and personalities of the known past, offering generations of readers a tour of the vast landscape of human history.In this new edition, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Odd Arne Westad has completely revised this landmark work to bring the narrative up to the twenty-first century, including the 9/11 attacks and the wars in the Middle East. Westad utilizes the remarkable gains in scholarship in recent decades to enhance the book's coverage of early human life and vastly improve the treatment of India and China, Central Eurasia, early Islam, and the late Byzantine Empire, as well as the history of science, technology, and economics. The result is a truly remarkable work of compression and synthesis, sweeping through thousands of years of history, weaving the stories of empires, art, religion, economics, and science into a lucid and engaging narrative. Ranging from the early hominids and the emergence of Mesopotamian civilizations and ancient Egypt, the book illuminates such topics as the Roman Empire, the explosive arrival of Islam, the rise and fall of samurai rule in Japan, the medieval kingdoms of sub-Saharan Africa, the Mongol conquests, and the early modern expansion of Europe across the globe; also covered are the struggle for American independence, the French Revolution, the colonial empires, Japan's startling modernization, and the World Wars. With over 90 informative maps, The History of the World remains the finest, most readable survey in print.

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The Best Short Stories of O. Henry

by O. Henry

About the book:  The more than 600 stories written by O. Henry provided an embarrassment of riches for the compilers of this volume. The final selection of the thirty-eight stories in this collection offers for the reader's delight those tales honored almost unanimously by anthologists and those that represent, in variety and balance, the best work of America's favorite storyteller. They are tales in his most mellow, humorous, and ironic moods. They give the full range and flavor of the man born William Sydney Porter but known throughout the world as O. Henry, one of the great masters of the short story. From the Hardcover edition.

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De Profundis and Other Prison Writings

by Oscar Wilde

About the book:  De Profundis and Other Prison Writings is a new selection of Oscar Wilde's prison letters and poetry in Penguin Classics, edited and introduced by Colm Tóibín. At the start of 1895, Oscar Wilde was the toast of London, widely feted for his most recent stage success, An Ideal Husband. But by May of the same year, Wilde was in Reading prison sentenced to hard labour. 'De Profundis' is an epistolic account of Oscar Wilde's spiritual journey while in prison, and describes his new, shocking conviction that 'the supreme vice is shallowness'. This edition also includes further letters to his wife, his friends, the Home Secretary, newspaper editors and his lover Lord Alfred Douglas - Bosie - himself, as well as 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol', the heart-rending poem about a man sentenced to hang for the murder of the woman he loved. This Penguin edition is based on the definitive Complete Letters, edited by Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland. Colm Tóibín's introduction explores Wilde's duality in love, politics and literature. This edition also includes notes on the text and suggested further reading. Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. His three volumes of short fiction, The Happy Prince, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and A House of Pomegranates, together with his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, won him a reputation as a writer with an original talent, a reputation enhanced by the phenomenal success of his society comedies - Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. Colm Tóibín is the author of five novels, including The Blackwater Lightship and The Master, and a collection of stories, Mothers and Sons. His essay collection Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodovar appeared in 2002. He is the editor of The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.

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Tractatus Logico-philosophicus

by Ludwig Wittgenstein

About the book:  Perhaps the most important work of philosophy written in the twentieth century, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was the only philosophical work that Ludwig Wittgenstein published during his lifetime. Written in short, carefully numbered paragraphs of extreme brilliance, it captured the imagination of a generation of philosophers. For Wittgenstein, logic was something we use to conquer a reality which is in itself both elusive and unobtainable. He famously summarized the book in the following words: 'What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.' David Pears and Brian McGuinness received the highest praise for their meticulous translation. The work is prefaced by Bertrand Russell's original introduction to the first English edition.

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Mein Kampf

by Adolf Hitler

About the book:  Mein Kampf is perhaps the only notable work written in two volumes by Adolf Hitler, in 1924. Hitler was arrested when he took out a mass demonstration in favour of national unity for the formation of a socialist German state. He was tried by the People’s Court in Munich and subsequently, imprisoned for thirteen months where he wrote the first volume. The second volume was written after he was released. This book will give you an insight into one of the greatest tyrant of this century, his political ideals, beliefs and motivation, and his struggle to consolidate Germany into one great nation.

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Conversations With Myself

by Nelson Mandela

About the book:  "[Nelson Mandela] has done so much to change his country, and the world, that it is hard to imagine the history of the last several decades without him." ―from the foreword by President Barack Obama Foreword by President Barack ObamaNelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of our age. Now, after a lifetime of recording thoughts and events, hardships and victories, he has opened his personal archive, which offers unprecedented insight into his remarkable autobiography.From letters written in the darkest hours of his twenty-seven years of imprisonment to the draft of an unfinished sequel to Long Walk to Freedom, Conversations with Myself gives readers access to the private man behind the public figure. Here he is making notes and even doodling during meetings, or transcribing troubled dreams on the desk calendar in his prison cell on Robben Island; writing journals while on the run during the anti-apartheid struggle in the early 1960s, and conversing with friends in almost seventy hours of recorded conversations. Here he is neither icon nor saint.An intimate journey from the first stirrings of political consciousness to his galvanizing role on the world stage, Conversations with Myself is a rare chance to spend time with Nelson Mandela the man, in his own voice: direct, clear, private.

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Orange Is the New Black

by Piper Kerman

About the book:  With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe over a decade ago. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her; convicted and sentenced to 15 months at an infamous women's prison in Connecticut. From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. Now a major original television series, Piper's story is a fascinating, heartbreaking and often hilarious insight into life on the inside.

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Le Morte D'arthur

by Thomas Malory

About the book:  Description Notice: This Book is published by Historical Books Limited (www.publicdomain.org.uk) as a Public Domain Book, if you have any inquiries, requests or need any help you can just send an email to publications@publicdomain.org.uk This book is found as a public domain and free book based on various online catalogs, if you think there are any problems regard copyright issues please contact us immediately via DMCA@publicdomain.org.uk

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The pilgrim's progress

by John Bunyan

About the book:  Often rated as important as the Bible as a Christian document, this famous story of man's progress through life in search of salvation remains one of the most entertaining allegories of faith ever written. Set against realistic backdrops of town and country, the powerful drama of the pilgrim's trials and temptations follows him in his harrowing journey to the Celestial City.Along a road filled with monsters and spiritual terrors, Christian confronts such emblematic characters as Worldly Wiseman, Giant Despair, Talkative, Ignorance, and the demons of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But he is also joined by Hopeful and Faithful.An enormously influential 17th-century classic, universally known for its simplicity, vigor, and beauty of language, The Pilgrim's Progress remains one of the most widely read books in the English language.

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Letter from the Birmingham Jail

by Martin Luther, Jr. King,Jr. Martin Luther King

About the book:  Martin Luther King, Jr. rarely had time to answer his critics. But on April 16, 1963, he was confined to the Birmingham jail, serving a sentence for participating in civil rights demonstrations. "Alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell", King pondered a letter that fellow clergymen had published urging him to drop his campaign of nonviolent resistance and to leave the battle for racial equality to the courts. In response, King drafted his most extensive and forceful written statement against social injustice - a remarkable essay that focused the world's attention on Birmingham and spurred the famous March on Washington. Bristling with the energy and resonance of his great speeches, Letter from the Birmingham Jail is both a compelling defense of nonviolent demonstration and a rallying cry for an end to social discrimination that is just as powerful today as it was more than twenty years ago.

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Our Lady of the Flowers

by Jean Genet

About the book:  'Our Lady of the Flowers', which is often considered to be Genet's masterpiece, was written entirely in the solitude of a prison cell. the exceptional value of the work lies in its ambiguity.

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In the belly of the beast

by Jack Henry Abbott

About the book:  A visionary book in the repertoire of prison literature. When Normal Mailer was writing The Executioner's Song, he received a letter from Jack Henry Abbott, a convict, in which Abbott offered to educate him in the realities of life in a maximum security prison. This book organizes Abbott's by now classic letters to Mailer, which evoke his infernal vision of the prison nightmare.

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