Visions and Divisions: American Immigration Literature, 1870-1930

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For many years, America cherished its image as a Golden Door for the world's oppressed. But during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, mounting racial hostility along with new national legislation that imposed strict restrictions on immigration began to show the nation in a different light. The literature of this period reflects the controversy and uncertainty that abounded regarding the meaning of "American." Literary output participated in debates about restriction, assimilation, and whether the idea of the "Melting Pot" was worth preserving. Writers advocated-and also challenged-what emerged as a radical new way of understanding the nation's ethnic and racial identity: cultural pluralism.

From these debates came such novels as Willa Cather's My Antonia and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Henry James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Carl Sandburg added to the diversity of viewpoints of native born Americans while equally divergent immigrant perspectives were represented by writers such as Anzia Yezierska, Kahlil Gibran, and Claude McKay. This anthology highlights the variety of ways in which literature participated in shaping the face of American immigration. The volume also includes an introduction, annotations, a timeline, and historical documents that contextualize the literature.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Chronology     ix
Introduction: The Literature of the New Chill     xiii
A Note on the Text     xxi
The Restriction/Open Door Debate     1
Text of the Chinese Exclusion Act     7
The New Colossus   Emma Lazarus     11
Unguarded Gates   Thomas Bailey Aldrich     12
Twelve Hundred More$dAnonymous     14
John Chinaman in New York   Mark Twain     16
Poems of Angel Island: [Instead of remaining a citizen of China], [Being idle in the wooden building], [Four days before the Qiqiao Festival], [The young children do not yet know worry], Crude Poem Inspired by the Landscape, and [For one month I was imprisoned]$dAnonymous     18
Songs of Gold Mountain: [At a moment of tremendous opportunity] and [Spring returns to the continent]$dAnonymous     20
The Biography of a Chinaman   Lee Chew     21
Veronika and the Angelinos   Caspar Day     30
What Is an American? The Suicide of the Anglo-American   Honore Willsie     39
Don't Bite the Hand That's Feeding You   Thomas Hoier   Jimmie Morgan     47
The Promised Land   Lewis E. MacBrayne     49
The Americanization of Roll-Down Joe   James B. Connolly     57
Mother America   Onorio Ruotolo     65
Alma Mater: The Immigrant at Columbia   Ajan Syrian     67
The Assimilation Debate     69
True Americanism   Theodore Roosevelt     75
Ellis Island   C. A. Price     85
The Alien   Henry Blake Fuller     86
Moses   Morris Abel Beer     90
Old China   Morris Abel Beer     91
Songs of Gold Mountain: [Since I left South China]$dAnonymous     92
The Lie   Mary Antin     93
A Great Man   Adriana Spadoni     110
The Wisdom of the New   Sui Sin Far     119
The Foreigner   Amy Lowell     135
America   Claude McKay     138
Dead Are My People   Kahlil Gibran     139
A Simple Act of Piety   Achmed Abdullah     143
I Dreamt I Was a Donkey-Boy Again   Ameen Rihani     158
On Being Black   Eric Walrond     160
A Slavic Oklahoman   Edward A. Steiner     164
The Melting Pot Debate     171
Americanization    Joseph Stybr     177
The Melting Pot   Charlotte Perkins Gilman     180
The Argentines, the Portuguese, and the Greeks   Arthur M. Swanstrom   Carey Morgan     181
Sweet Burning Incense   Jeanette Dailey     183
Salvatore Schneider-A Story of New York   Ernest Poole     190
Uncle Wellington's Wives   Charles W. Chesnutt     199
The Apostate of Chego-Chegg   Abraham Cahan     224
Maggie's Minstrel   Florence Converse     239
The Alien in the Melting Pot   Frederick J. Haskin     250
Chinaman, Laundryman   H. T. Tsiang     251
Rickshaw Boy   H. T. Tsiang     254
A Yellow Man and a White   Elanor Gates     257
The Old Lamp   Catalina Paez     268
Happiness   Carl Sandburg     277
The Cultural Pluralism Debate     279
Democracy Versus the Melting-Pot: A Study of American Nationality   Horace M. Kallen     284
Trans-National America   Randolph Bourne     306
Introduction   Dmytro Zakharchuk     319
Foreign Country   Dmytro Zakharchuk     320
Paderewski   Dorothy Dudley     321
A Polish Girl   Max Michelson     322
The Island of Desire   Robert Haven Schauffler     323
The Greenhorn in America   Maria Moravsky     332
Songs of Gold Mountain: [Husband: his foolishness is second to none], [Husband: so dumb, second to none], [American ways are very extreme]$dAnonymous     340
Unconverted   Bruno Lessing     342
Kalaun, the Elephant Trainer   Margherita Arlina Hamm     346
The Tooth of Antar   Lucille Baldwin Van Slyke     355
H.R.H. The Prince of Hester Street   Myra Kelly     364
Sources     377
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