October 12, 1999 – Bell Gale Chevigny: “Doing Time at Century’s End”

Tuesday, October 12 | Kresge 159 | 4:00 PM

The past twenty-five years have wrought a revolution in U.S. penal policy that has resulted in a tripling of the incarcerated population. Bell Gale Chevigny first taught a college course in prison in the late 1960s, and was greatly impressed with the power of reading, writing, and thinking to transform prisoners’ lives. In 1993, she joined the PEN Prison Writing Committee to help judge writings by U.S. prisoners for PEN’s annual contest. Disturbed by the general public’s ignorance of prisoners’ own experiences, and impressed by the high quality of prize-winning prisoners’ work, she edited and published Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing, a PEN American Center Prize Anthology (Arcade Publishing). Chevigny has taught literature at Sarah Lawrence College and Westchester County Penitentiary, and is recently retired from SUNY Purchase. Her published works include The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller’s Life and Writings (rev. ed., Northeastern University Press, 1994), Reinventing the Americas: Comparative Studies of Literature of the U.S. and Spanish America(Cambridge University Press, 1986), and the novel Chloe and Olivia(Grove Weidenfeld, 1990). She has published on a variety of social issues for journals including The Nation,The Village Voice,and DoubleTake.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Literature and the Center for Cultural Studies.