Prisons and Prisoners is the autobiography of aristocratic suffragette Constance Lytton. In it, she details her militant actions in the struggle to gain the vote for women, including her masquerade and imprisonment as the working-class “Jane Warton.” As a member of a well-known political family (and grand-daughter of the famous novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton), Lytton’s arrests garnered much attention at the time, but she was treated differently than other suffragettes because of her class—when other suffragettes were forcibly fed while on hunger strikes, she was released. “Jane Warton,” however, was forcibly fed, an act that permanently damaged Lytton’s health, but that also became a singular moment in the history of women’s and prisoner’s rights.
This Broadview edition includes news articles, reviews, and illustrations on women’s suffrage from the periodicals of the time.
“Women’s enfranchisement and prison reform combine powerfully in Prisons and Prisoners, Constance Lytton’s 1914 memoir of brutal incarcerations for her participation in the militant Suffragette movement. The ‘pent-up feelings of indignation and revolt’ in this book first published on the eve of the First World War resonate no less provocatively nearly a century later, as questions of detention, hunger strikes, forcible feeding, and torture underwrite local and everyday challenges to global advocates for human rights and social justice. As Lytton concludes her account, ‘I hear the cry go up from all parts of the country, How long? How long?’” — Barbara Harlow, University of Texas at Austin
“Jason Haslam’s edition of Prisons and Prisoners provides an excellent context for Lytton’s work. The introduction is comprehensive in its discussion of Lytton’s biography, the women's suffrage movement, and the state of penology at the time. Particularly significant is its consideration that Lytton’s goal of giving voice to female inmates raises complex issues of class and privilege. The front matter and appendices are extremely relevant and helpful. The context offered by the readings in the appendices makes the edition very appropriate for both classroom study and serious research. The bibliographies are very thoughtfully planned, offering a wealth of complementary material linking to Prisons and Prisoners from a variety of perspectives.” — Judith Scheffler, West Chester University