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No Fairy Tale: German Zionism and the Politics of Literature

Emerging Scholars Lecture with Joshua Shelly, Carolina-Duke German Program.

Remote event via Zoom. Registration required. Zoom link will be sent to registrants 24 hours prior to the event. Register HERE.

Co-sponsored by the department of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures and Carolina-Duke German studies.

No Fairy Tale: German Zionism and the Politics of Literature

In 1902, the father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, published the German novel Altneuland (The Old-New Land). In the work, he depicted a future, model Jewish society in what was then Ottoman Palestine. Emblazoned on its title page, Herzl declared: “If you wish it, it is no fairy tale!” The phrase would soon become a key motto of the Zionist movement, and a few years later, the Hebrew title of the translated novel — Tel Aviv — would become the name of a newly erected city on the shores of the Mediterranean. Taking these events and their connection to a literary work seriously, this talk examines the vital role of German Jewish literature in early Zionism and the founding of the Jewish State.

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