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Emma Lazarus (review)

Emma Lazarus (review) Emma Lazarus, by Esther Schor. New York: Nextbook/Schocken, 2006. 350 pp. $21.95. In this fifth volume from Shocken and Nextbook's Jewish Encounters series, Esther Schor, a poet and English professor at Princeton, provides a compelling interpretation of the life and work of the greatest American Jewish writer of the nineteenth century. Emma Lazarus is, of course, quite famous for one poem, her Statue of Liberty sonnet. In "The New Colossus," the silent monument tells the world, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" (p. 189), and these lines have become a part of the fabric of American identity and mythology. Lazarus's humanitarian work on behalf of immigrants fleeing violence and persecution in Eastern Europe added to this fame, making her a heroic icon who had the courage to remind us, "Until we are all free, none of us is free" (p. 160). Yet her poetry was not much read or studied during the twentieth century, and few people are familiar with the life of this gifted and ambitious but rather private author. In this fascinating and well-written biography, Schor attempts to move us beyond the icon to provide finally "a being, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Purdue University
ISSN
1534-5165
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Emma Lazarus, by Esther Schor. New York: Nextbook/Schocken, 2006. 350 pp. $21.95. In this fifth volume from Shocken and Nextbook's Jewish Encounters series, Esther Schor, a poet and English professor at Princeton, provides a compelling interpretation of the life and work of the greatest American Jewish writer of the nineteenth century. Emma Lazarus is, of course, quite famous for one poem, her Statue of Liberty sonnet. In "The New Colossus," the silent monument tells the world, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" (p. 189), and these lines have become a part of the fabric of American identity and mythology. Lazarus's humanitarian work on behalf of immigrants fleeing violence and persecution in Eastern Europe added to this fame, making her a heroic icon who had the courage to remind us, "Until we are all free, none of us is free" (p. 160). Yet her poetry was not much read or studied during the twentieth century, and few people are familiar with the life of this gifted and ambitious but rather private author. In this fascinating and well-written biography, Schor attempts to move us beyond the icon to provide finally "a being,

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Feb 13, 2009

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