Prison Etiquette: The Convict's Compendium of Useful Information


Of the fifty thousand Americans who declared themselves conscientious objectors during World War II, nearly six thousand went to prison, many serving multiyear sentences in federal lockups. Some conscientious objectors, notably Robert Lowell, William Everson, and William Stafford, went on to become important figures in the literary life of their country, while others were participants and teachers in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Collected by two of these "prisoners of war" and illustrated by a third, Prison Etiquette was first published in a limited edition in 1950, created with donated paper and printing and featuring a preface by Christopher Isherwood and a ringing written endorsement by Aldous Huxley. This edition, with a new foreword by scholar Philip Metres, is produced from one of the few surviving copies of the original and marks the first time this important book has been widely available.

"What are, and what should be, the relations between an individual and his society, between majorities and dissenting minorities? How is the age-old conflict of Man versus the State to be resolved? Which things are to be rendered unto Caesar and which unto God? And why does Caesar so constantly get mistaken for God, why do professional God-servers so constantly hanker to be mistaken for Caesar? These are perennial and ubiquitous questions. The philosophers of politics and religion ask and try to answer them in polysyllabic words and comprehensive generalizations.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Philip Metres
  • Christopher Isherwood
  • Clif Bennett
  • Howard Schoenfeld
  • Lowell Naeve
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 2001


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