In Prisons and Prisoners: some personal experiences by Constance Lytton and Jane Warton, Lady Constance Lytton challenges the current thinking of the 20th Century Anti-suffrage politics. Putting herself forward to be a champion of women (Lytton, 1914, p. 10) in the hope that one day women would be on a political equality with men (Lytton, 1909, pp.22-23)
This book is a comprehensive and at times a harrowing personal account of her four prison sentences as a militant suffragette in her pursuit of a purpose in life. It is a compelling insight into the mind of a young woman consumed by a cause which would be instrumental in prison reform and votes for women and would be a contributory factor in her death.
Desperate to find some way of empathising with the other suffragettes, Lady Constance Lytton had a desire to stand beside those who were fighting not as a spare part but as a comrade. Taking on the guise of “Jane Warton” was her way of experiencing the horrors of prison life including force-feeding, without receiving special treatment and privileges as a result of her family connections. Although her health suffered, she showed courage and determination and an undeniable dedication.
Concentrating on political injustice and votes for women, Lady Constance Lytton analyses disparities in punishment depending on social class and gender and the rights of women, developing the notion that the suffragette’s militant actions were political, rather than purely criminal.
Lytton, C. (1909) “No votes for Women”: A reply to some recent Anti-Suffrage Publications. London: A. C. Fiefield
Lytton, C. (1914) Prisons and Prisoners: Some Personal Experiences by Constance Lytton and Jane Warton, Spinster London: William Heinemann