Representation of Immigrants in Literature Criticism: Immigrants In America - Essay

Louis Harap (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Harap, Louis. “American Journeys of the Wandering Jew.” In The Image of the Jew in American Literature: From Early Republic to Mass Immigration, pp. 239-55. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974.

[In the following essay, Harap traces the origins of the concept of the “wandering Jew” from Biblical interpretations to the mid-century novel by Eugène Sue, Wandering Jew, and American versions of the legend.]

In retrospect there is a certain inevitability to the legend of the Wandering Jew. Did not the Christian world believe for centuries—as many still do—that, in Longfellow's words, “the Jews, the tribe accursed, /...

(The entire section is 7498 words.)

David M. Fine (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fine, David M. “Reformers, Americanizers, and Cosmopolitans: The Case for the Immigrant.” In The City, The Immigrant, and American Fiction, pp. 16-37. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1977.

[In the following essay, Fine analyzes the writings of those who sought to assimilate rather than exclude American immigrants. Focusing on “tenement tales” of the late nineteenth century, Fine explores the development of the “melting pot” ideal in which some immigrants would be indoctrinated into American values.]

To the urban reformers of the eighties and nineties the tenement house, the slum environment, and the sweatshop were the factors most directly...

(The entire section is 8959 words.)

Holger Kersten (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kersten, Holger. “Using the Immigrant's Voice: Humor and Pathos in Nineteenth Century ‘Dutch’ Dialect Texts.” MELUS 21, no. 4 (winter 1996): 3-17.

[In the following essay, Kersten details the use of the German immigrant character in nineteenth-century humor and proposes that the humorous immigrant provided a safe medium for satiric observations on American culture.]

The nineteenth century, and particularly its second half, was a period in American literature in which enormous interest in linguistic variation was displayed. Writers experimented with language and used just about every form of expression that fell into their hands. In a sense, they were...

(The entire section is 6369 words.)