Image of Israel Zangwill


Lifetime: 1864 - 1926 Passed: ≈ 97 years ago


British Author


United Kingdom

Israel Zangwill

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 Cover image

The Big Bow Mystery

Fiction Novel
Detective Mystery

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...

The King of Schnorrers  Cover image

The King of Schnorrers

Humour Non-Fiction
Humorous Fiction England Wealth General Fiction Jewish

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...

Children of the Ghetto Cover image

Children of the Ghetto

19th century Culture Heritage Religious London Perception Jewish

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...

Ghetto Comedies Cover image

Ghetto Comedies

Short Story Comics Humorous Fiction Experiences Jewish

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...

The Melting Pot Cover image

The Melting Pot

Fiction Drama
Religion Romance Prejudice Act Society Life America United States Unity Diversity

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...

Old Maids' Club Cover image

Old Maids' Club

Mathematics vs. poetry: Brainy and beautiful 17-year-old Lillie, determined to never marry, begins an Old Maids' Club, while patient young Lord Silverdale advises, observes, and writes appropriate poetry. Candidates for membership must be young, beau...

Stories by English Authors: London Cover image

Stories by English Authors: London

This book collects seven short stories by some of England's best turn-of-the-(last)-century's writers. The collection begins with the humor of J. M. Barrie, of Peter Pan fame. A later and equally humorous story is by Israel Zangwill, also widely know...

Bachelors' Club Cover image

Bachelors' Club

The Bachelors' Club is a sanctuary for an elite group of London's unmarried men to gather. To qualify as a Bachelor, each had to undergo a strict background check to ensure that they were not only unmarried, but a zealot in the movement that held mar...

My Religion Cover image

My Religion

This 1926 collection of sixteen essays on religion by well-known people (mostly authors) in the early 20th century brings together articles written originally in the popular press of the time (The London Daily Express): Arnold Bennett, Hugh Walpole,...