“Dreamers of the Ghetto”, the 1898 novel by British author Israel Zangwill, is a series of fictionalised biographies of notable Jewish thinkers including Spinoza and Heine. In “Dreamers of the Ghetto”, Zangwill explores the struggles of Jews trying to survive in the ignorant world of European Christian anti-Semitism at the turn of the century.
Zangwill (1864–1926) was a leading figure in cultural Zionism during the 19th century, as well as close friend of father of modern political Zionism, Theodor Herzl. In later life, he renounced the seeking of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. A notable portion of Zangwill’s work concentrated on ghetto life and earned him the nickname “the Dickens of the Ghetto”. Other notable works by this author include: “The Master” (1907), “Ghetto Tragedies” (1899), and “Chosen Peoples” (1910). This classic work is being republished now in a new edition complete with an introductory chapter from “English Humourists of To-Day” by J. A. Hammerton.