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Levy, Amy

SUSAN DAVID BERNSTEIN


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Amy Levy (1861–89) was a late-Victorian poet and a novelist whose writing explores Victorian feminism and sexuality as well as Anglo-Jewish identity. As a poet, she experimented with the dramatic monologue form with “Xantippe” (1880), “Magdalen” (1884), and “A Minor Poet” (1884). Her shorter lyric poems, especially in her final collection A London Plane-Tree and Other Verse (1889), develop a modern persona that has been read as queer, feminist, or an otherwise “minor” voice. Levy's two full-length novels, Reuben Sachs (1889), about London middle-class Jewish life, and The Romance of a Shop (1888), about four sisters with a photography business in London, likewise exemplify her contributions to Anglo-Jewish realism and New Woman fiction. Although she was part of the London literary scene of the 1880s along with Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee, and Olive Schreiner, only in recent decades has interest in her poetry and fiction grown. In addition to her collected writings (poetry, fiction, and essays), new editions of her novels, and the frequent inclusion of her poems in anthologies within the last twenty-five years, scholars explore her experiments with form and queer sexuality, her depictions of women in late Victorian London, and her controversial portrayals of Anglo-Jewry. Amy Levy was born in London into a middle-class Jewish home; her ancestors came to England from Eastern Europe ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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