“Lost Books” is a weekly series highlighting forgotten books through the prism of Tablet Magazine’s and Nextbook.org’s archives. So blow the dust off the cover, and begin!
In 1830, a 25-year-old writer traveled to Jerusalem. The writer was Benjamin Disraeli, and in 1833 he published a novel, The Wondrous Tale of Alroy, that was an early meditation on his own Jewishness and the state of European Jewry. According to lead critic Adam Kirsch, author of a book on Disraeli, this novel is a proto-Zionist text, as much a political writing as it is an exploration of Disraeli’s thoughts on the still far-from-nascent notion of a Jewish state. All this from one trip to Jerusalem!
“But for Disraeli, a journey to Jerusalem had more than literary significance. Although he had been baptized at the age of twelve into the Church of England, Disraeli’s very name made clear that he was a Jew, and the experience of visiting the Jewish homeland was to transform the way he thought about himself, his ancestors, and politics in general,” Kirsch explained. “Almost fifty years later, when he was Prime Minister of England, it would be his destiny to redraw the maps of the countries he visited as a young man.”
Read The Road Not Taken, by Adam Kirsch
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.