Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Israel Zangwill is better known for his novels and short stories than for his plays. His novel Children of the Ghetto: Being Pictures of a Peculiar People (1892) was an immediate critical and popular success. Its detailed portrayal of social and economic life in London’s Jewish quarter presented believable characters, often torn between the traditional world of Eastern European Jewry and the new science and theology of the nineteenth century. Recent critics praise this novel, as well as the short stories in Dreamers of the Ghetto (1898) and The King of Schnorrers: Grotesques and Fantasies (1894), a series of comic vignettes, describing the adventures of a Sephardic Jew in eighteenth century London, whose wit and intelligence make him the king of beggars, or schnorrers. Essays in newspapers and journals, some collected into books, expressed Zangwill’s ardent support for Zionism, women’s suffrage, and pacifism.