On sabbatical from teaching literature to undergraduates, and wanting to educate a different kind of student, Mikita Brottman starts a book club with a group of convicts from the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. She assigns them ten dark, challenging classics -- including Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe’s story “The Black Cat,” and Nabokov’s Lolita -- books that don’t flinch from evoking the isolation of the human struggle, the pain of conflict, and the cost of transgression.
Though The Maximum Security Book Club never loses sight of the moral issues raised in the selected reading, it refuses to back away from the unexpected insights offered by the company of these complex, difficult men. It is a compelling, thoughtful analysis of literature -- and prison life -- like nothing you’ve ever read before.
Mikita Brottman, professor in the Department of Humanistic Studies and the MA Program in Critical Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), is an author and psychoanalyst with particular interests in true crime, forensics, psychoanalysis, animals, abjection, and the unexplained. She has a Ph.D in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, in which she focused on contemporary critical theory. She is the author of numerous academic books, including High Theory, Low Culture, The Solitary Vice, and Hyena, as well as commercial books like The Great Grisby. She also teaches prisoners with the Jessup Correctional Institute Prison Scholars Program.
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