The Prison in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Overview - Essay

Victor Brombert (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brombert, Victor. “Introduction: The Prison Dream.” In The Romantic Prison: The French Tradition, pp. 3-17. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.

[In the following essay, Brombert suggests reasons for the historical connection between authors and imprisonment. He finds the precursors for the nineteenth-century fascination with prison imagery in both eighteenth-century Gothic literature and the dramatic fall of the Bastille, which reverberated throughout Europe.]

The prisoner is a great dreamer.

—Dostoevsky

this eternal image of the cell, always...

(The entire section is 5265 words.)

Victor Brombert (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brombert, Victor. “Victor Hugo: The Spaceless Prison.” In The Romantic Prison: The French Tradition, pp. 88-119. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.

[In the following essay, Brombert analyzes the prison imagery in the writings of Victor Hugo, whose novels Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné and Les Misérables were influential for later writers using the prison as a setting or metaphor.]

Where would thought lead if not to jail?

—William Shakespeare

THE NEW VOICE

On voit le soleil!” (One sees the sun!) This cry of the Condemned Man in Hugo's Le Dernier Jour d'un...

(The entire section is 11654 words.)