Metaphors of Confinement: The Prison in Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy

ISBN : 9780198840909

Monika Fludernik
800 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Metaphors of Confinement: The Prison in Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy offers a historical survey of imaginings of the prison as expressed in carceral metaphors in a range of texts about imprisonment from Antiquity to the present as well as non-penal situations described as confining or restrictive. These imaginings coalesce into a 'carceral imaginary' that determines the way we think about prisons, just as social debates about punishment and criminals feed into the way carceral imaginary develops over time. Examining not only English-language prose fiction but also poetry and drama from the Middle Ages to postcolonial, particularly African, literature, the book juxtaposes literary and non-literary contexts and contrasts fictional and nonfictional representations of (im)prison(ment) and discussions about the prison as institution and experiential reality. It comments on present-day trends of punitivity and foregrounds the ethical dimensions of penal punishment. The main argument concerns the continuity of carceral metaphors through the centuries despite historical developments that included major shifts in policy (such as the invention of the penitentiary). The study looks at selected carceral metaphors, often from two complementary perspectives, such as the home as prison or the prison as home, or the factory as prison and the prison as factory. The case studies present particularly relevant genres and texts that employ these metaphors, often from a historical perspective that analyses development through different periods.


Introduction: Prisons, Images of Confinement and the Carceral Imaginary
1 The Prison as World: The World as Prison: Similitudes and Homologies
2 Poeta in Vinculis I: Textualizations of the Carceral Experience
3 Poeta in Vinculis II: The Twentieth Century
4 Prisons as Homes and Homes as Prisons: From the Happy Prison to Strangulation by Domesticity
5 The Prison as Cage: Abjection and Transcendence
6 The Cancer of Punitivity: Prisons of Slavery and Hell
7 Industry and Idleness: Discipline and Punishment in the Capitalist Prison
8 Enthralment and Bondage: Love as a Prison
9 Prisons of Femininity
10 Conclusions: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Carcerality
Works Cited


Monika Fludernik is Professor of English at the University of Freiburg. Her areas of research are narratology, postcolonial theory, Law and Literature studies, and the eighteenth century. Her teaching covers the whole breadth of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present, including poetry, drama, and narrative prose. Monika Fludernik was the director of the collaborative research centre Identities and Alterities (SFB 541) and is currently the director of a graduate school (GRK 1767) on Factual and Fictional Narration. In addition to her monograph and numerous edited volumes, she has published over one hundred essays, the majority in refereed journals such as Style, Narrative, Poetics Today, Journal of Literary Semantics, Text, Semiotica, Language and Literature, The Journal of Pragmatics, Diacritics, English Literary History, PMLA and The James Joyce Quarterly. She is a member of the Austrian Academy of Science and the Academia Europaea.