Chichester Cathedral Lectures
‘From my Prison Cell – Reflections in captivity on life, faith and death’
Four lectures given by Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor,
Canon Dr Anthony Cane
Thursdays 23 & 30 April, 14 & 21 May at 6.30pm
(with the exception of 14 May which will start at 6.45pm)
In the Cathedral Nave. Free entry. All welcome.
This fascinating series of lectures given by Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor, Canon Dr Anthony Cane, will show how prison writing provides a moving and thought-provoking witness to the dignity of humankind in difficult circumstances, and how mental and spiritual freedom can survive and even flourish in situations of harsh physical captivity. The lectures are free and open to all.
These lectures were originally inspired by the life, death and correspondence of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose writings during two years imprisonment in the Second World War have now become a literary and theological classic. The 9th April 2015 saw the seventieth anniversary of the death of Bonhoeffer in Flossenberg Concentration camp. His final words included a message to George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, who later described Bonhoeffer as representing ‘the resistance of the believing soul, in the name of God, to the assault of evil’.
These lectures will not focus solely on Bonhoeffer, however, but will explore the whole genre of prison writing, with examples from (amongst a number of others) Brian Keenan, Simone Weil, John Bunyan, Oscar Wilde, Anne Frank, Thomas More, and Antonio Gramsci, right up to more recent examples such as the Guantanamo diary of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and a letter from Syria sent by the kidnapped aid worker Kayla Muella.
Anthony Cane explains: ‘Prison writing is authenticated by experience, carrying a sense of individuals who have learnt from their suffering, and whose incarceration has distilled their sense of what really matters. Such writing has many motivations – to defend ideas and values against a domineering power; to bear witness, and appeal to the wider world; to focus willpower and resistance; to sustain and comfort the writer, and sometimes their families, friends and colleagues.’
A ‘Question and Answer’ session will follow the lectures on Tuesday 26th May in the Vicars’ Hall at 6.30pm.