Israel Zangwill was a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism during the 19th century, and was a close associate of Theodor Herzl. He later rejected the search for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and became the prime thinker behind the territorial movement.
Zangwill was born in London on 21 January 1864, in a family of Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire. Zangwill received his early schooling in Plymouth and Bristol. When he was nine years old, Zangwill was enrolled in the Jews' Free School in Spitalfields in east London, a school for Jewish immigrant children.
At this school he excelled and even taught part-time, eventually becoming a full-fledged teacher. While teaching, he studied for his degree from the University of London, earning a BA with triple honours in 1884.
Zangwill published some of his works under the pen-names J. Freeman Bell (for works written in collaboration), Countess von S., and Marshallik.
He had already written a tale entitled The Premier and the Painter in collaboration with Louis Cowen, when he resigned his position as a teacher at the Jews' Free School owing to differences with the school managers and ventured into journalism. He initiated and edited Ariel, The London Puck, and did miscellaneous work for the London press.
Zangwill married Edith Ayrton, a feminist and author who was the daughter of cousins William Edward Ayrton and Matilda Chaplin Ayrton. They lived for many years in East Preston, West Sussex in a House called Far End. The younger of their two sons was the British psychologist, Oliver Zangwill.
Zangwill died in 1926 in Midhurst, West Sussex.
Books by Israel Zangwill
The Big Bow Mystery is an 1892 mystery novel by the British writer Israel Zangwill. It was originally serialised in The Star newspaper in 1891, before being published as a novel the following year. Set in London's East End, it is one of the earliest...
Manasseh da Costa, protagonist of this hilarious novel, is a schnorrer (beggar) who lives on the charitable contributions of the Jews of late 18th-century London. Manasseh is far from being a humble panhandler for, as every schnorrer knows, supportin...
In this 1892 novel of London's Jewish East End, Israel Zangwill sets the apparently irrational and decidedly indecorous religious practices of transplanted eastern European Jews against the forces of assimilation. Zangwill's knowledge of Yiddishkeit...
This plays provides a unique and insightful look into the lives of Jewish immigrants living in the impoverished urban ghettos of Europe during this time period. Through a blend of humor and pathos, Zangwill explores the struggles and joys of life in...
In the heart of New York City, where cultures collide and destinies intertwine, Israel Zangwill's "The Melting Pot" paints a vivid tapestry of love, loss, and the transformative power of human connection. David Quixano, a young Russian Jewish immigr...