Lazarus, Emma

born July 22, 1849, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Nov. 19, 1887, New York

U.S. writer.

She was born into a cultured Jewish family and learned languages and the classics at an early age. Her first book (1867) caught the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with whom she corresponded thereafter. She wrote a prose romance and translated Heinrich Heine's poems and ballads. She took up the defense of persecuted Jews с 1881 and began working for the relief of new immigrants to the U.S. The famous closing lines to her poem "The New Colossus" (1883) were inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty (see Statue of Liberty National Monument), dedicated in 1886.

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▪ American poet
born July 22, 1849, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died Nov. 19, 1887, New York City

      American poet and essayist best known for her sonnet “The New Colossus,” written to the Statue of Liberty (Liberty, Statue of).

      Born into a cultured family of Sephardic (Spanish Jewish) stock, Lazarus learned languages and the classics at an early age. She early displayed a talent for poetry, and her first book, Poems and Translations (1867), was praised by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson, Ralph Waldo). She dedicated her next book, Admetus and Other Poems (1871), to him. These and subsequent volumes—the prose Alide: An Episode of Goethe's Life (1874), a verse tragedy, The Spagnoletto (1876), and a fine translation of the Poems and Ballads of Heinrich Heine (1881)—were cosmopolitan in flavour, sometimes technically excellent, but lacking in real distinction.

      About 1881, with the wave of immigration to the United States from European and Russian ghettoes, Lazarus took up the defense of persecuted Jews and of Judaism and began to work for the relief of immigrants. She published numerous essays in the Century and the weekly American Hebrew on the pogroms and persecutions and the often equivocal attitude of the Christian West. She was an early advocate of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1882 she produced Songs of a Semite, which included such powerful pieces as “The Dance to Death,” “The Banner of the Jew,” and “The Crowing of the Red Cock.” Her sonnet “The New Colossus” was chosen to be inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, the monument it celebrates, and it remains a most moving and eloquent expression of an American ideal: “Give me your tired, your poor,” the sonnet concludes, “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

      Lazarus's last book, a series of prose poems published under the title By the Waters of Babylon, appeared in 1887.

Additional Reading
Dan Vogel, Emma Lazarus (1980); and Bette Roth Young, Emma Lazarus in Her World: Life and Letters (1995), are accounts of her life and work.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • LAZARUS, EMMA — (1849–1887), U.S. poet, essayist, and activist. Lazarus was born in New York on July 22, 1849, to Moses Lazarus, a wealthy industrialist of Sephardi heritage, and his wife Esther Nathan Lazarus of Ashkenazi background. Both sides of her family… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lazarus,Emma — Lazarus, Emma. 1849 1887. American writer. Her poem “The New Colossus” is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in Upper New York Bay. * * * …   Universalium

  • Lazarus, Emma — (1849–87)    US poetess. Emma Lazarus is remembered principally as the author of the sonnet ‘The New Colossus’ which is engraved upon the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour. The poem expresses her vision of America as a sanctuary for the… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lazarus, Emma — (1849 87)    American poet. She was born into a New York Sephardi family. She wrote poetry, tragedies and numerous essays, as well as translated the works of medieval Spanish Jewish poets. Her sonnet The New Colossus was inscribed on the Statue… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Lazarus, Emma — (22 jul. 1849, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–19 nov. 1887, Nueva York, N.Y.). Escritora estadounidense. Nació en el seno de una refinada familia judía, circunstancia que le hizo aprender diversos idiomas y conocer los clásicos desde su infancia. Su… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Lazarus, Emma —  (1849–1887) American poet, remembered chiefly for The New Colossus, the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Emma Lazarus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Emma Lazarus Nombre Emma Lazarus Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Emma Lazarus — (* 22. Juli 1849 in New York City; † 19. November 1887 ebenda) war eine jüdische amerikanische Dichterin. Sie ist vor allem für das 1883 verfasste Gedicht The New Colossus bekannt, das in das Podest der New Yorker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Emma Lazarus — en 1872. Activités Écrivain, poétesse, traductrice Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Emma Budge — Emma Ranette Budge, geborene Lazarus (* 17. Februar 1852 in Hamburg; † 14. Februar 1937 ebenda) war eine deutsch amerikanische Kunstsammlerin, Stifterin und Mäzenin. Ihr umfangreiches Vermögen und ihre Villa in Hamburg, das Budge Palais, wurden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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