The Self in the Cell: Narrating the Victorian Prisoner, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Self in the Cell

Narrating the Victorian Prisoner, 1st Edition

By Sean C. Grass


303 pages

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Michel Foucault's writing about the Panopticon in Discipline and Punish has dominated discussions of the prison and the novel, and recent literary criticism draws heavily from Foucauldian ideas about surveillance to analyze metaphorical forms of confinement: policing, detection, and public scrutiny and censure. But real Victorian prisons and the novels that portray them have few similarities to the Panopticon. Sean Grass provides a necessary alternative to Foucault by tracing the cultural history of the Victorian prison, and pointing to the tangible relations between Victorian confinement and the narrative production of the self. The Self in the Cell examines the ways in which separate confinement prisons, with their demand for autobiographical production, helped to provide an impetus and a model that guided novelists' explorations of the private self in Victorian fiction.

About the Series

Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh