Sentences includes works by nearly fifty authors who wrote from prison, or who recounted their experiences of imprisonment after regaining their freedom, including

  • Boethius
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Angela Davis
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Rosa Luxemburg
  • Malcolm X
  • Wole Soyinka
  • Oscar Wilde

Spanning poetry, fiction, drama, philosophy, history, and autobiography, the prison writings in this exhibition provide a glimpse into how individuals react to their incarceration and powerfully demonstrate some of the socio-political and economic forces that marginalize, disenfranchise, and criminalize people, their communities, and their beliefs.

Curated by Peter X. Accardo, Houghton Librarian for Scholarly and Public Programs.

Planning to visit?

Houghton exhibitions are open to all visitors; face coverings are recommended. Please see Harvard Library's Visitor Access Page for the most up-to-date information about visiting the library.

Join us for a tour!

Join exhibition curator Peter Accardo for a special guided tour of Sentences. This 45-minute tour will include a discussion of the exhibition's themes, highlights of the items on display, and ample time for participant questions. Follow the links below to register in advance.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access may contact Houghton Library's Administrative Coordinator Le Huong Huynh at or at 617-495-2443 at least 48 hours in advance of the tour.