1 Apr 2016

Quiz 1- Great works written in Prison.

Jawaharlal Nehru's Toward Freedom, an autobiography; The Discovery of India ; and Glimpses of World History , a series of letters to his daughter, Indira were written while he was in prison and are a pleasure to read. Similarly many works of people like Voltaire, Miguel De Cervantes, Henry David Thoreau, Nelson Mandela and Alexandre Dumas too were written while in prison. So as a tribute to these amazing personalities here we go.

1. This eccentric writer was arrested on charges of homosexuality and imprisoned in Reading jail (48 Km west of London). During his two years of hard labour in prison  he wrote 'De Profundis' ( a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials) and the poem Apologia. The next year he wrote 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' and signed it C.3.3 meaning the prisoner of cell 3, third landing. Which well known author?

2. This English adventurer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, explorer  and writer was once Queen Elizabeth's favorite and was knighted by her. He temporarily fell from the queen's favour when she discovered in 1592 that he had secretly married one of her maids of honor. Elizabeth's successor, James I, disliked him and was accused of plotting against the king and was convicted and sentenced to death. King James, however, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment, and he was sent to the Tower of London where he was confined for 13 years. During his jail term he wrote his best historic work, titled ' The History of the world'  which was Suppressed by King James for "being too saucy in censuring Princes."  Who?

His cell in Tower of London.

3. He was charged with embezzlement of funds from 'The first National bank of Austin', in Texas where he had been a teller. The amount of money was small and might have been an accounting error; however, he chose to flee to Honduras rather than stand trial. Learning that his wife was dying, he returned to Texas in 1897 and, after her death, turned himself in to authorities and was sentenced to five years in a federal prison. He was released in three years three months for good behavior.He began his writing career in his cell and wrote some of his best stories during his time in prison Who?

At the First National Bank, Austin

4.After he returned from his adventures travelling across the known world, he became the commander of a galley in a war between Venice and Genoa. During the battle, fought near the Island of Korcula in Adriatic sea he was captured by the enemy and imprisoned for less than a year. While in prison he dictated his work to a fellow prisoner and scribe from Pisa named Rusticiano ( Rustichello da Pisa) since the stories were written by him and were narrated from memory by the person in question. Who and which book ? (Both required for full points)

A Page from the book. 

5. This failed artist was found guilty of organising an abortive attempt to overtake the government and was sentenced to five years in prison but was released after nine months. During his confinement in the prison at the fortress of Landsberg he dictated the first volume of his best-selling work. "The broad mass of a nation...will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one" This is one of the many memorable line of the work. Who and which book? (Both Required)

His cell in Landsberg prison.

6.After being found guilty of seditious libel, this English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy was jailed indefinitely in May 1703 in Newgate prison, London. While in prison he wrote the poem 'Hymn to the Pillory' which according to legend caused his audience at the pillory to throw flowers instead of the customary harmful and noxious objects and to drink to his health. He however is well know for another novel, and most of you may have read it for sure. Who?

7. Who wrote 'Shrimadh Bhagvad Gita Rahasya' while incarcerated Prison at Mandalay, Burma. The work is the analysis of Karma yoga which finds its source in the Bhagavad Gita. The book was written in pencil and the 400 page script was completed in four months.

8. Most of this classic was written by him in Bedfordshire County jail where he was held for 11 years, for holding Puritan services that were not in accordance with the church of England.While in prison he supported his family by making shoelaces and in prison his library consisted of the Bible and the Book of Martyrs by the theologian John Foxe. He also wrote his spiritual autobiography 'Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners' when in prison. Who and which other classic novel for which he is best known was also written in the same prison? (Both book and author required)

9. His Autobiography, 'The Sixteenth Round' was written in prison and was published in 1975 by Warner Books. The story inspired Bob Dylan to make a song that became his fourth most successful single of the decade. The song had to be written and sung multiple times to meet legal requirements. The biography also inspired a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who plays the person in question and achieved critical acclaim. The movie became the last motion picture of 1990's . Whose prison written autobiography?

10. Which book in the bible was written by St Paul while he was in prison, at Rome, sometime between 55 and 63 AD and is addressed to the Christians of an ancient Phrygian city ?

Ability to read Greek will help you decipher the answer. 

Happy quizzing and have fun. 


  1. sorry delson but these were totally out of my league. will attempt just for the heck of it.
    6. shakespeare
    9, martin luther king

  2. 1. Oscar Wilde
    2. Sir Walter Raleigh
    3. O. Henry
    4. Marco Polo, 'Il Milione'
    5. Adolf Hitler, 'Mein Kampf'
    6. Daniel Defoe
    7. Sri Aurobindo?
    8. John Bunyan, 'Pilgrim's Progress'
    9. "Hurricane" Reuben Carter
    10. Corinthians?
    -- Annie

  3. 1. Oscar Wilde
    2. Francis Bacon
    3. O. Henry
    4. Marco Polo, Travels of Marco Polo
    5. Hitler, Mein Kampf
    9. Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter

  4. 1. Oscar Wilde
    2. Walter Raleigh
    3. O. Henry
    4. Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Christo
    5. Karl Marx, Das Kapital
    7. Sri Aurobindo
    9. Sugar Ray Robinson
    10. Psalms

  5. 1. Oscar Wilde
    2. Sir Thomas ___
    3. Mark Twain
    4. Count of Monte Cristo, Victor Hugo
    5. Joseph Conrad
    7. Vivekananda
    8. Thomas Hardy, Vanity Fair


  6. I am not sure of the answers ... few are guesses... few i know.
    1. Oscar Wilde.
    2.John Roberts
    4.Marco Polo and travels of Marco Polo... (never realized my history assignment would help me..... )
    5. Big lie..
    9. Rubin Carter
    10. Acts of Apostle ???

  7. 1. Oscar Wilde
    2. Francis Bacon
    4. Marco Polo
    5. Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf
    6. Daniel Dafoe
    7. Tilak
    8. John Bunyan - Pilgrims Progress
    9. Rubin Carter "Hurricane"
    10. Book of Revelations

    1. Anil- For question 4, I required both the author and the book. hence I could not give points for Marco Polo.

  8. Scores For Quiz 1 are as follows: (in order received)

    Ameya 2
    Annie 57
    Harman Singh 10
    Rajiv 5
    Gouthami 3
    Mithila P 5
    Anil Rodrigues 15