I Lift My Lamp

Nancy Smiler Levinson, Author, Arnold Ed. Levinson, Author Dutton Books $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-525-67180-0
The parallel stories of Bartholdi's worldly quest and Emma Lazarus's sheltered upbringing work engagingly well together. As a descendant of the first Jews to reach New Amsterdam in 1654, Lazarus was far from an immigrant. Related to Benjamin Cardozo and other luminaries, she grew up in a prominent family and met many of the important figures of the mid-1800s. Nevertheless, she was fragile, overprotectively dominated by her father. Readers may be surprised to learn that ""the New Colossus'' first appeared in a fund-raising portfolio and didn't gain its true significance until after Lazarus's death. The historical times are nicely delineated, particularly Lazarus's inferior treatment as a woman, and the author's deft interspersal of Lazarus's poems clearly shows her unfolding development as a sensitive Jewish spokesperson. Like the statue, this book is stirring. A fine addition to the Jewish biography series. (10-14)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1986
Release date: 06/01/1986
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