HOW TO SURVIVE PRISON AS A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR

Prison Etiquette: The Convict’s Compendium of useful Information [(cover:) by the Inmates] … with a Preface by Christopher Isherwood. 

Bearsville (NY), Retort Press, 1950. 

8vo, pp. [2 (blank)], [18], 138, [2 (blank)]; illustrated throughout; uncut, stapled in printed paper wrappers, spine backed with black cloth as issued, with printed dustjacket; small chip to head of spine of jacket, neat adhesive tape repairs verso, upper wrapper lightly creased, otherwise an excellent copy; 4 pp. printed prospectus loosely inserted.

£275

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First edition of this anthology of conscientious objectors incarcerated during the Second World War, ‘entirely hand-set, hand-bound, and printed on a footpedal press by the editors’ (jacket flap) in an edition of two thousand copies. 

Prison Etiquette is “the convicts’ compendium of useful information”.  We are publishing it neither because we want to reform the Prison System, nor merely to honor the valor and integrity of its contributors who, because of their convictions, spent up to three years in the Federal Penitentiaries of this country… Prison etiquette is a learned art for the radical.  Its technique varies with country, time, and political set-up.  These young men deal with a prison system that is unknown to us.  We must be equipped to evade it, to survive in it if caught, to resist it in the psychologically most economical, and politically effective way.  That is, we must learn to remain sane, to survive physically, and at the same to continue resisting’ (Introduction). 

The contributions, comprising recollections, essays, letters, journal extracts, and poems, are divided into three sections – ‘Resistance in Prison’, ‘The Prison Community’, and ‘Arts and Letters’ – and accompanied by an introduction, a preface by Christopher Isherwood, and a blurb by Aldous Huxley. 

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