Emma Lazarus: A Question of Liberty

Posted: 22/07/2017 by vequinox in Literature


610eLRdOqTLOn the 22nd of July 1849, poet Emma Lazarus was born in New York City. “No poet bears so monumental a relation to Atlantic liberalism as Emma Lazarus, who is known chiefly as the author of the famous lines of “world-wide welcome” inscribed in bronze within the massive pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Her 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” is one of the most frequently quoted poems of the nineteenth century.” (Max Cavitch, ‘Emma Lazarus and the Golem of Liberty’, American Literary History, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring, 2006). The sonnet was written to raise funds for the pedestal at an auction held by the Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset…

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