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Emma Lazarus

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.

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

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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