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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PHOTINOS, Christine. The Tramp in American Literature, 1873–1939. AmeriQuests, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, feb. 2008. ISSN 1553-4316. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 13 july 2020. doi: