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Immigrant Literature

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Many members of the Penn Community are familiar with the immigrant experience in one of its various forms.  Some arrive with student visas, others as refugees or undocumented immigrants.  Given the unique experiences of immigrants and the too-frequent lack of understanding by others, immigrant fiction can play an important role in speaking to and legitimizing the experiences of some, and in informing and enlightening others.  Immigrant and refugee literature is well represented in the Penn Libraries' collection.

  • As an immigrant country, the United States has a long history of immigrant fiction.  Early authors include Willa Cather, Upton Sinclair and Henry Roth.  However, immigrant fiction boomed in the late 20th century as authors representing a wide range of races and cultures were published more frequently and widely.  The Libraries' collection likewise grew dramatically, both because of greater availability but also because of a growing interest in genre fiction, growing academic interest in multicultural issues, and because of increased awareness that the Libraries' collection should better represent the experiences of the students and staff of the University. 

    In using the catalog results linked to below, use the "Subject" facet to narrow the results so that your can browse items that most interest you.  Also try adding terms to the beginning of the search, before the "(".  For example: Russia AND (note "AND" must be all caps), illegal AND, family AND.

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