Israel Zangwill Our Contemporary: Ghetto — Melting Point — Zion
Speaker: Professor Bryan Cheyette (University of Reading)
Chair: Dr Adam Sutcliffe (King's College London)
17.30 Refreshments - Old Committee Room
18.00-19.30 Lecture - Council Room (K2.29)
King's Building, Strand Campus
Israel Zangwill (1864–1926), a founding member of the Society of Maccabaeans, was the most famous Jew in Britain and America during his life-time. Although largely forgotten, he lives on in three main ways. His bestselling fiction, especially Children of the Ghetto (1892), profoundly changed the perception of migrant Jews; his notorious play The Melting Pot (1908) helped characterize modern America; and, as a Jewish territorialist, Zangwill challenged mainstream Zionism by putting "people ahead of land”. My talk will explore the extent to which Zangwill’s preoccupations — ghetto, melting pot and Zion — speak to us today.
Bryan Cheyette is Chair in Modern Literature at the University of Reading. He is the editor or author of ten books, most recently Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing (2014) and volume seven of the Oxford History of the Novel in English (2016). He is currently working on a short introduction to the Ghetto for Oxford University Press and a longer book on Israel Zangwill.