The Tramp in American Literature, 1873–1939

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Christine Photinos


This essay surveys changing representations of the tramp in American literature from 1873 to 1939. In the late nineteenth century, tramps were understood by middle- and upper-class Americans in terms of deviancy and criminality; but by World War II the tramp had entered the realm of nostalgia. The primary reasons for tramping did not change; what changed was the social meaning assigned to the tramp.

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How to Cite
Photinos, C. (2008). The Tramp in American Literature, 1873–1939. AmeriQuests, 5(1).
Author Biography

Christine Photinos, National University

Christine Photinos is Assistant Professor in the Department of Arts and Humanities at National University, San Diego, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature.