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Arrogant Beggar 1st Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0822317494
ISBN-10: 0822317494
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This realistic, socially conscious, occasionally overly romantic novel by Yezierska (1880-1970) chronicles the adventures of narrator Adele Lindner, who exposes the hypocrisy of the charitably run Hellman Home for Working Girls (read the Clara de Hirsch Home) after fleeing from the poverty of the Lower East Side. In the seemingly picture-perfect institution, Adele's eyes are opened. She wants to be seen as an equal, but her benefactress instead sees her as a servant girl, someone whose role, she is told later, "consists in serving others." Later, after leaving the home and founding a restaurant, Adele is able to practice philanthropy the way she feels it should be practiced. On its publication in 1927, this book was criticized for its sarcastic attacks on boarding institutions. Though dated and sometimes melodramatic, particularly where Adele's romance with her benefactress's son is concerned, the social commentary about Jewish class and ethnic tensions still rings true. Fast-paced, the book brings to life the teeming activity of the Lower East Side with both passion and careful attention to detail.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

“While Yezierska’s writing stands in sharp contrast to the quantity of fiction by middle- and upper-class white women writers so prevalent in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, what is particularly interesting about Arrogant Beggar is that it focuses more directly on class than do most of her novels. Katherine Stubbs’s introduction is comprehensive, helpful, beautifully written, and convincing—a model of scholarship and insight.”—Linda Wagner-Martin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; 1st edition (February 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822317494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822317494
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anzia Yezierska published her one great novel, Bread Givers, in 1925. It's a seemingly autobiographical account of the struggle for assimilation and for independence from a reactionary father of a Jewish immigrant girl in New York City, and it's quite a piece of work, innovative, fiery, and at times funny, the most powerful novel of urban immigration ever written. This novel, Arrogant Beggar, published in 1927, is also a first-person narrative, but the narrator is an American-born orphan, and the story begins when she is already "formed" and seeking a career.

Let's caution everyone posthaste that Arrogant Beggar is not a literary masterpiece. The writing is modest at best, awkward at times, and awful toward the end. The story is effectively ruined by clumsy inprobabilities and coincidences. The chief male character, Arthur Hellman, is implausible and artificial. There's no suspense and little enough humor. Nevertheless, I recommend it highly for its historical and sociological interest. Adele Lindner, the heroine, makes up for the implausibility of all the other characters by her intensely believable presence. Whether "Adele" is a characterological self-portrait of Anzia Yezierska doesn't much matter. Adele is a stunning revelation of lower-class consciousness in America in the early 20th Century, a spokesperson for the pride of the poor in the face of social condescension. The book was received by contemporaries as a devastating work of social criticism, specifically of Progressive and Social Gospel inspired charities such as the "boardinghouse for poor girls who might aspire to be young ladies but had better recognize their destiny as domestics" where Adele resides for the first half of the narrative. Obviously the reception was hostile.
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By yaya on April 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had too many writing mistakes but other than that good story to read when you have time. Seems almost a fairy tale that turns into a real life story.
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By Lili on February 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good read, I will remember this story for always. I couldn't put the book down. I wanted to know more of what happened next.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book required for a history class. After reading the introduction, I was afraid that it was going to be boring but it was actually not nearly as bad as most books chosen for classes.
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