Prison Writing in 20th-Century America

ISBN-10: 0140273050
ISBN-13: 9780140273052
Edition: 1998
List price: $18.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: This unique collection which dramatises the history of the modern American prison system and offers a harrowing vision of prison life in America today, includes writers such as Jack Henry Abbott and Malcolm X.

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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.924
Language: English

This unique collection which dramatises the history of the modern American prison system and offers a harrowing vision of prison life in America today, includes writers such as Jack Henry Abbott and Malcolm X.

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was born into a seemingly secure, prosperous world, a descendant of prominent Dutch and English families long established in New York State. That security vanished when first, the family business failed, and then, two years later, in young Melville's thirteenth year, his father died. Without enough money to gain the formal education that professions required, Melville was thrown on his own resources and in 1841 sailed off on a whaling ship bound for the South Seas. His experiences at sea during the next four years were to form in part the basis of his best fiction. Melville's first two books, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), were partly romance and partly autobiographical travel books set in the South Seas. Both were popular successes, particularly Typee, which included a stay among cannibals and a romance with a South Sea maiden. During the next several years, Melville published three more romances that drew upon his experiences at sea: Redburn (1849) and White-Jacket (1850), both fairly realistic accounts of the sailor's life and depicting the loss of innocence of central characters; and Mardi (1849), which, like the other two books, began as a romance of adventure but turned into an allegorical critique of contemporary American civilization. Moby Dick (1851) also began as an adventure story, based on Melville's experiences aboard the whaling ship. However, in the writing of it inspired in part by conversations with his friend and neighbor Hawthorne and partly by his own irrepressible imagination and reading of Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists Melville turned the book into something so strange that, when it appeared in print, many of his readers and critics were dumbfounded, even outraged. By the mid-1850s, Melville's literary reputation was all but destroyed, and he was obliged to live the rest of his life taking whatever jobs he could find and borrowing money from relatives, who fortunately were always in a position to help him. He continued to write, however, and published some marvelous short fiction pieces Benito Cereno" (1855) and "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (1853) are the best. He also published several volumes of poetry, the most important of which was Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), poems of occasionally great power that were written in response to the moral challenge of the Civil War. His posthumously published work, Billy Budd (1924), on which he worked up until the time of his death, became Melville's last significant literary work, a brilliant short novel that movingly describes a young sailor's imprisonment and death. Melville's reputation, however, rests most solidly on his great epic romance, Moby Dick. It is a difficult as well as a brilliant book, and many critics have offered interpretations of its complicated ambiguous symbolism. Darrel Abel briefly summed up Moby Dick as "the story of an attempt to search the unsearchable ways of God," although the book has historical, political, and moral implications as well. Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, at age 72. The doctor listed "cardiac dilation" on the death certificate. He was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York, along with his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville.

Tom Wicker was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on June 18, 1926. He served in the Navy during World War II. He received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1948. Over the next decade, he was an editor and reporter at several newspapers in North Carolina. He started working for The New York Times in 1960 and became the paper's Washington bureau chief and a political columnist for 25 years. He was riding in the presidential motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He wrote 20 books, 10 fiction works and 10 non-fiction works. His fiction works include Facing the Lions, Unto This Hour, Donovan's Wife, and Easter Lilly. His non-fiction works include A Time to Die, Kennedy without Tears: The Man Beneath the Myth, JFK and LBJ: The Influence of Personality Upon Politics, One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream, Tragic Failure: Racial Integration in America, On the Record: An Insider's Guide to Journalism, and Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy. He died of a heart attack on November 25, 2011 at the age of 85.

Acknowledgments
Foreword
Introduction
Autobiography of an Imprisoned Peon (1904)
Songs of the Prison Plantation
"Go Down Old Hannah"
"Midnight Special"
"Easy Rider"
"'Pinched': A Prison Experience" and "The Pen: Long Days in a County Penitentiary" (1907)
from My Life in Prison (1912)
"Cell Mates" (1920)
from Crime and Criminals (1921)
"A California Holiday" (1928)
"Ladies in Durance Vile" (1931)
"To What Red Hell?" (1934)
"El Presidente de Mejico" (1947)
"Memories of West Street and Lepke" (1959)
from The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
from Soledad Brother (1970)
from The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim (1971)
"Formula for Attica Repeats" (1974)
from Seven Long Times (1974)
from In the Belly of the Beast (1981)
from Assata (1987)
from On the Yard (1967)
"The Warden Said to Me the Other Day" (1968)
"Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane" (1968)
"For Freckle-Faced Gerald" (1968)
"Quarry/Rock: A Reality Poem in the Tradition of Genet" (1969)
"Always We Watch Them" (1970)
"Shakedown and More" (1971)
"In Santa Cruz" (1972)
"The Gone One" (1973)
from "Sestina to San Quentin" (1973)
"Poetry" (1973)
"Who's Bitter?" (1973)
"Spring" (1975)
"Confessions of a Jailhouse Lawyer" (1975)
"Lower Court" (1979)
"35 Years a Correctional Officer" (1979)
"On Being Counted" (1979)
"The New Warden" (1979)
"The County Jail" (1979)
"I Applied for the Board" (1982)
"Easy to Kill" (1975)
"The Bus Ride" (1983)
from Little Boy Blue (1981)
from House of Slammers (1983)
"Of Cold Places" (1984)
"Autumn Yard" (1985)
"First Day of Hanukkah" (1986)
"Sing Soft, Sing Loud" (1989)
from Notes from the Country Club (1993)
"Diamond Bob" (1994)
"The Blues Merchant" (1994)
"Nobody's Hoss" (1994)
"Barracuda and Sheryl" (1994)
"Shing-a-Ling and China" (1994)
"Our Skirt" (1997)
"The Call" (1997)
"AIDS: The View from a Prison Cell" (1986)
"A Prescription for Torture" (1990)
"A Mount Everest of Time" (1990)
"B-Block Days and Nightmares" (1990)
"Skeleton Bay" (1993)
"Already Out of the Game" (1994)
"Past Present" (1992)

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