Literary Precedents for A Bad Man

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A Bad Man can be located within a long and distinguished tradition of prison literature. Dostoevski's Crime and Punishment (1866) and Dreiser's An American Tragedy (1925) studied the effects of incarceration on a criminal, and in each the process of suffering has been a movement toward self-discovery. More directly, A Bad Man can be situated in the recent tradition of existentialist prison literature, especially Franz Kafka's The Trial (1925) and Albert Camus's The Stranger (1942), books in which the hero is imprisoned for something he does not regard as a crime, but society does, and novels in which the hero's defiance of authority is a defining and admirable gesture.

Two novels of the decade also share concerns and techniques with this novel. Bernard Malamud's The Fixer (1966), which Elkin reviewed unenthusiastically, studies the effects of political imprisonment on a Russian Jew, and the eerie atmosphere of the prison and the sadistic tortures by...

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This section contains 272 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the A Bad Man Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
A Bad Man from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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