Old New Land

The first publication of Old New Land in 1902 forever altered the world’s perception of the Middle East. The book was a nineteenth-century utopian blueprint for a modern state of Israel. There were Jewish settlers in Palestine, and zionist ideas had existed in Eastern Europe before Herzl, but Herzl made zionism into a cultural and political movement acceptable to Western governments and intellectuals. His prophecy at the end of this book became reality: “If you will it, it is not a fable.” The author, founder of the zionist movement, considered this utopian story his best literary work: an expression of his art, with a political message.

Herzl’s biographer, Amos Elon, placed Old New Land “in the mainstream of fin-de-siècle art. Its pursuit of arcadian bliss within a mystic community and its haunted preoccupation with dreams recall Gustav Mahler’s music.”

Illustrated with photos of old Vienna and its Jewish population as well as photos of nineteenth-century Palestine, this edition of Old New Land emphasizes its artistic and cultural-historical value.

Theodor Herzl, author (1860-1904) lived most of his life in Vienna as a star journalist and successful author. The Dreyfus Affair and the new Austrian anti-Semitism made him into a political activist.

Jacques Kornberg, editor is a professor of history at the University of Toronto.