Lazarus, Emma

Lazarus, Emma,

1849–87, American poet and essayist, b. New York City. Her early verse includes Admetus and Other Poems (1871) and The Spagnoletto (1876), a poetic drama. Enraged by the Russian pogroms of the 1880s, she became an impassioned spokeswoman for Judaism, writing many essays and the book of poems, Songs of a Semite (1882), which contains her best work. Her sonnet about the Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus," was engraved on the statue's pedestal. Her other work includes translations of Heine.

Bibliography

See biographies by C. Angoff (1979) and E. Schor (2006).

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Lazarus, Emma

(1849–87) poet, writer; born in New York City. Educated privately, she lived in New York City. She translated the poetry of Heinrich Heine (1881), wrote a prose romance, and composed poetry including Songs of a Semite (1882), an impassioned indictment of Jewish persecution during the Russian pogroms of 1879–83. She remains best known for her sonnet, "The New Colossus" (1883), which is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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