Where: The Hampton Inn

Cost: $185.00 for 8 session(s) (includes reading packet)

Type: In Person


Instructor: William A. Fry William A. Fry, Ph.D., a founding member of the Learning Curve faculty, taught literature and writing at a Maryland college for more than thirty years.
William A. Fry

Great Literature From Behind Bars

You might remember these lines from Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace (1618-1658) written to his lover while in prison:

“Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage;

Minds innocent and quiet take

That for an hermitage….”

From To Althea from Prison

In The Scarlet Letter (1850), Nathaniel Hawthorne describes Hester’s prison as “the black flower of civilized society.” From Plato’s description of Socrates in his prison cell in Athens to the most recent proteges of Tucson’s own Richard Shelton – Jimmy Santiago Baca and Ken Lamberton to mention only two contemporary award-winning authors – the world’s literature has been enriched with masterpieces written behind bars. Through the centuries, great works of literature have been produced by incarcerated writers around the world: Roman philosopher Boethius, Sir Thomas Malory, Miguel de Cervantes, Thomas More, Sir Walter Raleigh, Richard Lovelace, John Donne, John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, Leigh Hunt, Oscar Wilde, Maxim Gorky, Feodor Dostoyevsky, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Francois Villon, Francois Voltaire, Marquis de Sade, Jean Genet, Ezra Pound, and myriad others.

Join Dr. Bill Fry as we take an arm-chair journey behind bars and survey some of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time. During our 8-week course, we will read and discuss excerpts from the following:

Plato’s Dialogues: “Crito” and “Phaedo” – The Trial and Death of Socrates (399 B.C.)

Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1605-1615)

Richard Lovelace’s To Althea from Prison (1642)

John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678-1684)

George Gordon, Lord Byron’s The Prisoner of Chillon (1816)

Henry David Thoreau on “Civil Disobedience” (1849) – Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s widely-produced play The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1970)

Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898)

O. Henry’s The Cop and the Anthem (1906)

Jack London’s Pinched: A Prison Experience (1907)

Chester Himes’ To What Red Hell? (1934) and Cast the First Stone (1952)

Robert Lowell’s Memories of West Street and Lepke (1959)

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)

Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcom X (1965)

Joyce Carol Oates’ How I Contemplated the World From the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again (1970)

Richard Shelton’s Selections from Walking Rain (1990’s to 2007) and Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer (2007)

Jimmy Santiago Baca’s Past Present and selected poetry from Healing Earthquakes (2001).

Ken Lamberton’s Time of Grace (2007) and selected recent works.

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Register for Freedom of Mind – Tucson Session

Online registration has been closed for this class. Please call (520) 777-5817 for information.