W. W. Norton & Company, Paperback, 9780393925890, 281pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2007
It is canonical as a cultural text, rather than a purely literary one, as this Norton Critical Edition reflects. An extensive Contexts section includes maps, photographs, and documents showing how and why Alger used the backdrop of New York City to highlight problems of urban poverty, immigration, and child labor in mid-nineteenth century America. Criticism is thematically organized around contemporary reviews and responses, the heated public debate about whether Alger should be available in American public libraries, parodies of and related responses to Alger, and four recent critical essays by Mary Wroth Walsh, Glenn Hendler, Michael Moon, and Hildegard Hoeller.