The Harbor

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Overview

This early twentieth century socialistic novel didn't win the Pulitzer Prize, that honor would go to Ernest Poole's next novel, "His Family," which relates the struggles of a middle-class family in New York City in the 1910s. It has been conjectured though that the prize committee was actually honoring "The Harbor," which they had to pass over two years before since the award for fiction did not exist yet. Like "His Family," Poole's "The Harbor" also relates the struggles of class in New York City; in this case ...
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The Harbor

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Overview

This early twentieth century socialistic novel didn't win the Pulitzer Prize, that honor would go to Ernest Poole's next novel, "His Family," which relates the struggles of a middle-class family in New York City in the 1910s. It has been conjectured though that the prize committee was actually honoring "The Harbor," which they had to pass over two years before since the award for fiction did not exist yet. Like "His Family," Poole's "The Harbor" also relates the struggles of class in New York City; in this case it's the lower classes that inhabit the industrial Brooklyn waterfront. The story is narrated by its central character, Billy, a recent college graduate who returns to the harbor where his father owns a profitable warehousing business. Set in an age of increasing industrialization, Billy's idealized view of the harbor would soon be challenged when his old college classmate Joe Kramer forces him to see the social injustice just beyond his doorstep.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century, this seminal work by Poole (1880–1950), the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, is a Künstlerroman chronicling socialist awakening. The teeming harbor of Billy’s childhood is ominous and fascinating, both drawing him out to cause trouble with scrappy harbor boys and repelling him back to his mother, a lover of art and justice. At college he meets intellectually ravenous Joe Kramer, and again in Paris, where Billy pursues writing and Joe covers the Russian revolution for a newspaper. Following his mother’s death, Billy returns home to find that his father has lost their fortune trading goods on the dock he ran at the harbor. Forced to find work, Billy abandons literary idealism, winning a newspaper job and, in time, the heart of childhood friend Eleanor Dillon. Billy adopts Eleanor’s powerful father’s faith in Wall Street and “big men” just as the increasingly radical Joe begins to haunt the harbor as a labor organizer. Billy and Eleanor are soon embroiled in a strike that gives harbor workers their first taste of collective power and instills in Billy a purpose that had been missing in his earlier literary efforts. One hundred years later, this precursor to works like The Jungle raises still relevant questions about the distribution of wealth, the prevalence of corruption, and the complicated interplay between family, livelihood, and political conviction. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781148751542
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2010
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 9.69 (w) x 7.44 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest Poole (1880-1950) was born in Chicago and educated at Princeton. In 1902 he began his writing career as a muckraking journalist, living in a settlement house in the New York slums to further his research into the causes and conditions of poverty. He published twenty-four books, including works of fiction, history, and journalism.
Patrick Chura is an associate professor of English at the University of Akron, Ohio.
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