“How came they here?” Longfellow’s “The Jewish Cemetery at Newport,” Slavery, and Proto-Zionism
This article places Longfellow’s much-anthologised elegy in context, highlighting its engagement with contemporary debates about slavery, racial difference, and the restoration of the Jews to their ancestral homeland. The poem’s complex textual history, reconstructed here for the first time, helps to explain its profoundly ambivalent attitude towards the vanished Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island; their cemetery is both a monument to the shameful history of ‘Christian hate’ which drove them from Europe, and an emblem of the eventual fate of a people obsessed with the impossible dream of reviving the past and entangled in the ongoing horrors of slavery.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Phelan, J. P. (2020) '“How came they here?” Longfellow’s “The Jewish Cemetery at Newport,” Slavery, and Proto-Zionism'. English Literary History, 87 (1), pp. 121-147
ISSN : 0013-8304
Research Group : Centre for Textual Studies (CTS)
Research Institute : Institute of English
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities