Like a Shattered Vase: Russell's 1918 Prison Letters

  • Sheila Turcon McMaster University


Russell’s collected prison correspondence is an editorial challenge. I provide the basis for such a project using the analogy of a shattered vase. All known correspondents are identified as well as their letters. The letters are in various forms—originals, transcriptions, condensed transcriptions, and mimeographs—as well as types—official, smuggled, and messages within letters. I pay special attention to Russell’s love letters to Constance Malleson, describe his prison experience, and show why the prison letters were important to his spiritual wellbeing.