Abstract

Abstract:

This article reintroduces fifteen uncollected poems by Emma Lazarus. Besides their being largely forgotten, these poems—particularly “Carmela,” “Dolores,” and “Three Friends”—will be of interest to scholars for dealing openly with queer desire. Until now, Lazarus is thought to have written only one explicitly queer poem, “Assurance,” a work that stayed in manuscript until long after her death. These three “new” poems indicate that Lazarus was comfortable with publicly expressing and exploring same-sex attraction, suggesting that it is time to acknowledge Lazarus as a queer poet. More generally, this group of uncollected pieces gives a clearer picture of the middle period of Lazarus’s career—just prior to the moment, in or around 1880, when her poetry begins to engage more directly with Judaic life and culture. Here, Lazarus moves beyond her rather tentative early style to a more assertive, complex, and creative mode of writing. By bringing these uncollected pieces back into critical conversation, I hope to encourage a fuller engagement with Lazarus’s growth toward freer sexual expression and artistic maturity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-7438
Print ISSN
2166-742X
Pages
pp. 419-424
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-18
Open Access
No
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