The King of Schnorrers: Israel Zangwill’s Radical Romance
Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) was a literary celebrity, a Zionist, and a suffrage activist, and, in his time, possibly the best-known Jewish writer in the Anglophone world. His 1892 novel Children of the Ghetto became a British and American bestseller; in 1908 his play The Melting-Pot argued for the value of immigration and provided future studies of ethnicity with a much-debated metaphor. By the middle of the twentieth century, however, Zangwill’s fame had declined, and his best-known work of fiction was likely The King of Schnorrers (1894), a short novel that solidified his fame as a Jewish humorist. In fact, however, this comedic work that Zangwill published in a volume of “grotesques and fantasies” embeds some of his most trenchant social criticism and satire. Indeed, The King of Schnorrers presents in a subtle and palatable form radical ideas of economic justice that Zangwill always saw as Jewish.
The King of Schnorrers: Israel Zangwill’s Radical Romance
1. At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Israel Zangwill (1864–1926) was a literary celebrity, a political activist, and possibly the best-known Jew in the Anglophone world. He was the author of Children of the Ghetto (1892), a novel about the Jews of London that became a British and American bestseller and was widely translated. In 1908 he wrote the play The Melting-Pot, which argued for the value of immigration to American culture and provided future studies of ethnicity with a much-debated metaphor. Having started his career as a journalist, Zangwill wrote a number of novels and plays, as well as short stories, and not only on Jewish subjects. He advocated for British women’s suffrage and was a leader in, first, Theodor Herzl’s Zionist movement and, later, the Jewish Territorial Organization, which he founded. Zangwill’s writings as well as his activism attest to a strong sense of social justice, while his literary work often nested serious questions in a web of humorous characterization and wordplay. Such an apparently mixed modality often led to mixed reviews; while some critics might have found the humor jarring, others wished Zangwill would stick only to humor. By the middle of the twentieth century, when it was excerpted by Nathan Ausubel in A Treasury of Jewish Folklore and reissued in the United States by Shoe String Press, Zangwill’s best-known work of fiction was probably The King of Schnorrers (1894), a work which solidified Zangwill’s fame as a Jewish humorist. Now that more of Israel Zangwill’s work has been republished, and Zangwill himself has come under more serious study,  it is worth looking at how that masterpiece of humor also embeds some of Israel Zangwill’s most biting social criticism.
2. The King of Schnorrers was first published in six monthly parts in the Idler, a new literary magazine edited by Jerome K. Jerome and Robert Barr. Zangwill became associated with Jerome after publishing short stories and satirical columns in Jewish periodicals, and, in 1890, becoming editor of the comic newspaper Puck, which he renamed Ariel. For the Idler, Zangwill wrote several short stories and an essay for the series My First Book before serializing The King of Schnorrers in Volume Four, from August 1893 to January 1894.  The Idler was, in general, a magazine for light reading by intelligent readers, but with diverse kinds of contributions. Anne Humpherys describes its tone as “liberal, irreverent, and sentimental,”  but makes clear that it did not have any narrow political or moral agenda:
3. The appearance of the entire first chapter of The King in Ausubel’s Treasury of Jewish Folklore suggests that the story was taken from traditional materials and has become part of folklore itself, and, indeed, there is a chicken/egg question surrounding this short novel. Which came first: The King of Schnorrers or the widespread understanding among Ashkenazi Jews of the humor inherent in the Yiddish term of its title? Zangwill acknowledged his debt to tradition in his foreword to the 1894 volume reprint: “I have merely amused myself and attempted to amuse idlers by incarnating the floating tradition of the Jewish Schnorrer, who is as unique among beggars as Israel among nations” (v). Ausubel ascribes this uniqueness to the wit with which the schnorrer  cajoles funds from donors, and the wealth of Judaic learning with which this particular type of beggar abashes the materially wealthy, and Zangwill’s “King”—Manasseh Bueno Barzillai Azevedo da Costa—has wit and Jewish learning in abundance. Bernard Winehouse and Edna Nahshon both credit Zangwill’s novella with promoting the image of this wily character, but acknowledge, as well, that Zangwill was well-versed in the history of the schnorrer figure long before he created Manasseh, and had included schnorrers in earlier writings. Yet Zangwill’s memorable King of Schnorrers—the novella and the character—certainly helped popularize the term, which was, according to the OED, an un-italicized English word as early as 1899. One might well ask whether, when Freud related a “salmon mayonnaise” story in Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, he was thinking of a traditional folkloric example or of Zangwill’s Manasseh justifying his purchase of salmon after receiving the wealthy Grobstock’s charity: “If I do not buy salmon when I have two guineas, . . . when shall I buy salmon?” (King 16).  Freud had written to a friend, in 1897, that “for some time past I have been putting together a collection of Jewish anecdotes” (4), and one may speculate on whether his sources included Zangwill’s work. However, given the length to which Zangwill spins out the episode beyond the initial joke—at the end of Chapter One having the embarrassed Grobstock appear to his servant as Manasseh’s food carrier—it is possible that Freud and Zangwill both used traditional sources, with the fiction writer expanding rather than explaining. When, in the film Animal Crackers (1930), Groucho Marx responded to the crowd’s “Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer,” with, “Did someone call me schnorrer?” he assumed that audiences would understand the word—or that, if they didn’t, they should. The OED defines a schnorrer as, originally, a beggar (its basic and least evocative definition), but adds that now it has the connotations of “a scrounger, a freeloader; a layabout, a good-for-nothing.” Merriam-Webster’s more positive definition is closer to Zangwill’s and to Groucho’s: “one who wheedles others into supplying his or her wants.” It is the wheedling that characterizes Zangwill’s schnorrer and that gives the word a taste of bittersweet humor in the mouths of Jews today.
4. In keeping with his desire to maintain a dual persona, when Zangwill published The King of Schnorrers in volume form he added to it a collection of shorter stories, from the Idler and from other periodicals, only a few of which had Jewish content. All were labeled together in a subtitle, Grotesques and Fantasies, which itself suggests a certain ambivalence by Zangwill toward his subject matter. Zangwill’s friend Joseph Leftwich reported (from hearsay) that Zangwill had considered ending the Idler serial halfway through, but Jerome persuaded him to continue (250). However, Leftwich goes on to quote Zangwill as, throughout his life, being gleeful at the success of his unusual protagonist and story. The King of Schnorrers was Zangwill’s next extended work after his bestselling realist novel of Jewish life, Children of the Ghetto (1892),  and he likely enjoyed the freedom of comedy unmixed with sorrow, and romance only barely mixed with realism.
5. The concept of Romanticism in late Victorian literature is not new. In 2013, the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies and the English Faculty of Oxford University held a conference titled "Romanticism at the Fin de Siècle," which “place[d] Romanticism at the core” of that later cultural era (Announcement). One finds echoes of Romanticism in aestheticist theory and Romantic-seeming evocations of past eras in aesthetic poetry, prose, and visual art. For Zangwill, who was not in the aestheticist camp,  romance was a contrast to realism that helped contextualize bitter truths that he often took as his subject matter. The “Proem” to Children of the Ghetto, a novel whose first full chapter is set in a late Victorian soup kitchen, takes place in early nineteenth-century London, its reminiscences of an earlier generation of Jews softened, as at its end, by a veil of nostalgia:
6. The King of Schnorrers begins by lampooning the rivalries between rich and poor, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, reversing expectations by making the wealthy man of German Jewish descent while the pauper/beggar is Iberian. The interethnic rivalry played upon here was part of a “myth of Sephardi superiority,”
7. The language of commerce pervades this novella. Yes, there are comic reversals as the poorly yet fancifully attired schnorrer reminds the wealthy Grobstock and others that by schnorring he allows them to fulfill the commandment of helping the needy. Yes, Manasseh asserts a nobility of learning and religious devotion that places him above the shallow pomposities of Grobstock and the Sephardic Mahamad. But throughout the work a pattern of references makes clear that both rich and poor operate according to the same laws of exchange. When the dim but basically good-natured Grobstock realizes he owes Manasseh an apology, the narrator reports that he “proceeded honestly to pay it, but with a maladroit manner, as one unaccustomed to the currency” (8). When Grobstock offers three guineas for the salmon, while Manasseh has bargained for two, Manasseh reminds him that “this is not an auction” (14). Grobstock accuses Manasseh of theft because “a pauper—a beggar—with a wife and children” should not spend all he has—his charity from Grobstock—“on a mere luxury like salmon” (15–16). From here proceeds Zangwill’s version of the salmon joke, because once the money leaves Grobstock’s hand the salmon is no longer his. It is Manasseh’s property, and he has every right to do with it as he pleases. Similarly, when Grobstock gives Manasseh a trove of his used clothing, expecting Manasseh to wear it to dinner at his home and thus spare him shame before his servants, he is outraged to learn that Manasseh has immediately sold the items to a wealthy used-clothing dealer. When Manasseh replies that he can’t wear such clothes because “I know my station” (48), we suspect a multiple meaning. He knows the value of the clothing and he knows his own worth as a man, as well as a man of business. Once Grobstock gives him the clothes, again, they are Manasseh’s to use as he pleases. If Grobstock chooses to be embarrassed by Manasseh’s usual garb, that is none of Manasseh’s concern. However, since Manasseh will receive Grobstock’s clothing in perpetuity, he reminds the financier not to spill snuff on it or do anything else that might decrease its value. Similarly, when he agrees to sell the salmon back to Grobstock, he insists on three guineas, not two, the larger figure being the value Grobstock had originally assigned to it, along with profit for having been made into a middleman and “compensation for being degraded to fishmongering” as well as for losing the salmon itself (28–29)—even though he had already rebuked the financier for interrupting his original negotiations, saying he could have gotten the salmon for twenty-five shillings had Grobstock not offered the much higher price (18). Manasseh knows that value is equal only to the most that someone will pay for something and does not correspond to any so-called intrinsic worth.
8. Before Manasseh agrees to take Grobstock’s clothing, he makes sure that Grobstock does not already have a “clothes-receiver” (22). Schnorring is a business, like Grobstock’s directorship in the East India Company, and it has its rules and ethics. One does not trespass on a competitor’s territory. Manasseh also insists that the position be permanent, because “it hurts one’s reputation to lose a client” (22). Similarly, one can present part of one’s own schnorring-ground as dowry to a prospective son-in-law (103–04). Yankelé, the Ashkenazi schnorrer to whom Manasseh will marry his daughter, enumerates to his prospective father-in-law what he will bring to the marriage through a combination of schnorring, selling old clothes, and carrying out synagogue and communal duties. Their conversation is filled with Wildean paradox:
9. Writing about the short novel in 1953, less than a decade after the Holocaust ended, Bernard Schilling reminded readers of “the background of sorrow and evil” against which Jewish humor has flourished throughout Jewish history (vii), a context that later critics have not especially emphasized, while all who have written on The King of Schnorrers acknowledge its consonance with Zangwill’s lifelong concern for the poor. Indeed, as his reputation rose and fell in loftier circles even during his lifetime, he remained a hero to the immigrant Jews of the East End. But, as even Schilling points out, “the materials before us are much too funny for inquiry into their sadder implications” (xiv). Manasseh indeed has two professions, schnorrer and Talmud scholar, an explicator of Jewish law for those whose pursuits are wholly material. As he quotes from scripture and rabbinic texts to prevent potential almsgivers from falling into sin (since charity is an essential commandment), his learned conning provides a great deal of the novella’s comedy. Having already taken ownership of the packets of coins in the bag he has taken from Grobstock to carry the salmon, he further asks the financier if he might have left anything in the pockets of his clothes; if so, Manasseh will return to him anything “of no value to anybody but you” (33). He reminds the astounded financier of the biblical laws relating to gleaners:
10. The middle chapters of The King of Schnorrers examine how Yankelé is able to demonstrate his professional prowess to Manasseh by schnorring dinner at the home of a notoriously stingy rabbi. The last two chapters of the six, however, reveal Manasseh appearing before the court of the Mahamad, using his verbal wit to show that Sephardi officialdom is as pompous as any grob German. Manasseh knows the Ascamot (or Laws and Regulations) better than the authorities do, and he knows that nowhere in this document is the marriage between a Sephardi and an Ashkenazi Jew prohibited (117).  They continue to debate on points of tradition versus law, Yahidim (full members of the community) versus schnorrers, and even the position of Deborah, whose marriage to Yankelé her father defends on the ground that “she is not a male . . . ; she is not an active agent, she has not gone out of her way to choose a Tedesco —she has been chosen” (119).  Finally, after the President has threatened him with excommunication, Manasseh threatens to spread word of the Mahamad’s small-minded contumely not only to the Sephardic Yahidim from whom he schnorrs, but also to “that very Ashkenazic community you contemn— . . . a community that waxes daily in wealth and greatness while you sleep in your sloth” (124–25). In the course of this speech Manasseh has managed to occupy the President’s chair, and the effect of the speech and the action leave the President “gasping like a landed cod” (125–26), reminiscent of the bagged salmon in chapter one, and finally having a stroke on the spot. He recovers, but in his absence “Manasseh found scant difficulty in imposing his will on the minor officers” (128) and the wedding between Yankelé and Deborah takes place.
11. However, this is not the King of Schnorrers’ ultimate success. Just as a glassy-eyed fish returns to the narrative, so does Joseph Grobstock. As a new father-in-law, Manasseh takes on the honor of making monetary donations to the congregation, even though his major source of income is schnorring (or more generally taking alms) from the same congregation’s leaders. His logic is impossible to summarize or concisely record, but “every man who yielded to Manasseh’s eloquence was a step to reach the next” and he soon collects a kingly sum for the synagogue’s coffers (140). Deciding to make the gift even greater, he asks Grobstock to invest the money for him. When the East India director suggests that Manasseh go to someone else this time, Manasseh closes the circle of the economic plot:
12. The critique of capitalism in this novella is not strictly Marxian. The financier, after all, is key to the schnorrer’s financial success, and money produced for the most part by commerce and investment is what keeps the religious communities afloat. But so do the machinations of schnorrers, who also have to live, and who use spiritual persuasion while heeding the laws of capitalism. Schnorring may be considered labor in that it takes the place of more conventional kinds of work, but the schnorrer is more accurately an entrepreneur. Work and schnorring are mutually exclusive, as Manasseh makes clear. Audrey Jaffe’s analysis of Conan Doyle’s "The Man with the Twisted Lip" is thus in many ways relevant to The King of Schnorrers. Finding that he can earn more by disguising himself as a disfigured beggar, Doyle’s Neville St. Clair keeps up the pretense of managing financial interests in the City, while actually conducting a very different enterprise. Jaffe points out that “the scenario wherein a beggar is revealed to be a gentleman or nobleman in disguise is a familiar one” in nineteenth-century literature, and in the parallels I have noted between schnorrer and financier, Zangwill’s novella is part of that pattern. For a moment, even Grobstock wonders whether Manasseh might really be a Spanish nobleman playing a role, and questions whether he, himself, has been the “victim of a practical joke, a prank? Did not a natural aristocracy ooze from every pore of this mysterious visitor? Was not every tone, every gesture, that of a man born to rule?” (41). If there is no sure way to distinguish among the aristocrat, the financier, and the beggar, then how can one be reassured by social hierarchies? Moreover, as Jaffe points out, “the figure of the finance capitalist [such as Grobstock in The King of Schnorrers] confounds the attempt . . . to define identity in relation to work” (49), the principle upon which condemnation of the beggar (or schnorrer) rests. Noting that even St. Clair’s wife had no idea of what his business in the City was—not even the business he purported to conduct—Jaffe writes that “the ‘man who does something in the City’ exemplifies the kind of fungible identity that, his contemporaries feared, inhabited a realm of exchange divorced from production” (51). In other words, does it essentially matter whether one deals at the exchange or on the street, so long as the money comes home? To what is considered respectable society it certainly does, and so St. Clair is ordered to abandon his alter-ego, to the extent of not even revealing “Hugh Boone” or his longterm begging to his wife. Yet by revealing the instability of economic and class identities, "The Man with the Twisted Lip" lifts a veil on the unstable underpinnings of nineteenth-century bourgeois society. Writing in a similarly moralistic mid-twentieth-century context, Bernard Schilling anticipates Jaffe’s conclusions, with only slight hesitation:
13. Here is where The King of Schnorrers diverges from "The Man with the Twisted Lip," and also goes beyond the play that Zangwill created from the novella in 1925. Ausubel distinguishes the schnorrer from ordinary Jewish beggars who survived not through wit but through feigning disability (267), much as Hugh Boone sports a cosmetic scar across his lower face. Zangwill goes even further. The crowd of beggars at the synagogue door when the story opens are all described as schnorrers, and the few who present physical afflictions are sincere and discreet:
14. The novella, in its focus on the men of the story, with only a few brief appearances by Grobstock’s and Manasseh’s wives, is in fact uncharacteristic of Zangwill, who throughout his fiction and drama explored the lives and thoughts of female characters both as protagonists and secondary figures. In this novella, however, the nearly all-male cast of characters is effective, as it underscores the interconnectedness of schnorrers and financiers, as well as Ashkenazi and Sephardi pomposities, in what was a male-dominated commercial system. Turning the dandy Beau Belasco (who appears just briefly in the middle of the novella) into, in the play, a full-fledged character seeking the hand of Grobstock’s daughter detracts from the focus on Manasseh and his schemes.
15. The King of Schnorrers as a play—not necessarily a play by Zangwill—seems to have had more success in the United States. Jacob Adler adapted a Yiddish version in 1905 (Nahshon 394), and Judd Woldin’s musical version, first performed in 1979 as Petticoat Lane, has been produced well into the twenty-first century in various adaptations of its own. Petticoat Lane is an effective adaptation in that it focuses closely on a few distinct instances of schnorring, each following logically from the one preceding and staying close to Zangwill’s own witty dialogue. Deborah’s suitor is in this case a cabinet-maker, which allows Manasseh once again to deprecate work as a suitable means for providing for a wife. The setting, however, seems more late-nineteenth century than eighteenth, with Deborah Da Costa a proto-suffragette. The streamlined plot, as well, becomes too streamlined when the central conflict revolves around Manasseh’s disdain for the Ashkenazim, something treated lightly and only briefly at the start of Zangwill’s novella.
16. The title of Woldin’s play when I saw it in 1997 was not Petticoat Lane, but The King of Schnorrers. That restored title alone may account for some of the success of recent productions, as children and grandchildren of Jewish immigrants—not fluent in Yiddish themselves—have seen the word schnorrer and laughed, aware of its only semi-secret (and as we have seen, now English) meaning. Today there is a resurgence of interest in the serious study of Yiddish, a recognition that this was a language in which Jews of Europe wrote poetry, prose, and drama; did business; made love; argued; mourned; bought groceries; and did everything else one uses a language for. But in the middle of the twentieth-century, and even later, a Jewish comedian had only to say a word in Yiddish to get a laugh. In 2015, when Robert Brustein’s The King of Second Avenue (based on The King of Schnorrers) was performed in Boston, the reviewer for the Globe called it, affectionately, “a serving of borscht,” alluding to the comic borscht belt of the Catskills that had its heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s. Brustein—whose high-culture credentials as founder of the Yale and American Repertory Theaters and adapter of classic plays are duly noted—is said to have “the soul of a borscht belt comedian.” Brustein himself agrees: “I’m a burlesque artist at heart” (Brown). But for all its humor and even sight gags (the President of the Mahamad’s apoplexy, for instance), the novella does not seem to fit those pop-culture descriptions, even though Israel Zangwill himself linked it with “grotesques and fantasies.”
17. I saw the retitled Woldin musical at the Florida Jewish Theatre, where it was directed by Russell Kaplan. In his Director’s Note in the program, Kaplan referred to Zangwill as “one of the greatest writers of Yiddish fiction of the 19th century,” repeating an error that would have exasperated Zangwill, who wrote in English, not Yiddish, and who saw himself as working within both British and Jewish cultures, connecting the two. Perhaps Kaplan assumed that a play about a schnorrer—using that “funny” word—must be entirely frivolous and originally Yiddish. Manasseh has schnorred in many languages; on a trip to France in the 1990s I saw a placard listing plays to be performed that summer, including Le Roi Des Schnorrers, par Israel Zangwill.  And although Zangwill objected to the “low comedy” of Jacob Adler’s operetta (Nahshon 394), one might expect to find other Yiddish adaptations. However, after searching a number of comprehensive databases, the closest I could come was a Hebrew edition, published in 1900.  Dreamers of the Ghetto (1898)—one of Zangwill’s more serious and historically-based works—seems to be the only work of his that can readily be found today in a Yiddish edition. Perhaps Zangwill’s ambivalence about the language left him ambivalent about authorizing translations, or perhaps they had only limited circulation. The Hebrew translation, in fact, at a time when modern Hebrew was being developed and encouraged, used a Hebrew word in place of schnorrer in its title, even though that word—kabtsn or kamtsn—has the significantly different meaning of cheapskate or stingy person. 
18. The King of Schnorrers was neither Zangwill’s first nor his last treatment of economic justice in fiction. For example, in Children of the Ghetto an admired and idealistic character asserts that Moses “was the first Socialist” (265), citing the laws of the Torah to which Manasseh, also, would refer. In the widely reprinted Dreamers of the Ghetto, which compiles slightly fictionalized stories of failed idealists, the German-Jewish socialist Ferdinand Lassalle receives a chapter. Zangwill often, too, contributed to causes promoted by trade unionists and socialists.  The King of Schnorrers presents in a subtle and palatable form radical ideas of economic justice that Zangwill always saw as Jewish. Indeed, The King of Schnorrers may have yet appeared in Yiddish, even if only through informal publication. One would think that the Yiddish-literate workers of his day, despite Manasseh Da Costa’s disparagement of labor, would have cheered Zangwill’s clever and effective means of upholding their rights and sticking it to the bosses.
Adams, Elsie Bonita. Israel Zangwill. Twayne, 1971.
Announcement. "Romanticism at the Fin de Siècle: An international conference on collecting, editing, performing, producing, reading, and reviving Romanticism at the Fin de Siècle." Trinity College Oxford, 14–15 June 2013, www.bbk.ac.uk/english/our-research/research_cncs/our-events/past-events/romanticism-at-the-fin-de-siecle. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.
Ausubel, Nathan, editor. A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. Crown, 1948.
Brown, Joel. "A Serving of Borscht in Brustein’s ‘King of Second Avenue.’" Boston Globe, 31 January 2015, www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-dance/2015/01/31/serving-borscht-brustein-musical-comedy-king-second-avenue/6k5WwZTHuTtdz9tELNaFbM/story.html. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.
Endelman, Todd M. "Benjamin Disraeli and the Myth of Sephardi Superiority." Broadening Jewish History: Towards a Social History of Ordinary Jews. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2011, pp. 225–38.
Freud, Sigmund. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. 1905. Translated and edited by James Strachey. Norton, 1960.
Humpherys, Anne. "Putting Women in the Boat in The Idler (1892–1898) and TO-DAY (1893–1897)." 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, 2005, pp. 1–22,
Jaffe, Audrey. "Detecting the Beggar: Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry Mayhew, and the Construction of Social Identity." Scenes of Sympathy: Identity and Representation in Victorian Fiction. Cornell UP, 2000, pp. 47–73.
Kaplan, Russell. "Director’s Note." The King of Schnorrers. Program, Florida Jewish Theatre, 1996–97 Season.
Leftwich, Joseph. Israel Zangwill. James Clarke, 1957.
Nahshon, Edna. From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill’s Jewish Plays. Wayne State UP, 2006.
Rochelson, Meri-Jane. A Jew in the Public Arena: The Career of Israel Zangwill. Wayne State UP, 2008.
Schilling, Bernard N. "On Jewish Humor." The King of Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill, 1864–1926. Shoe String Press, 1953.
“Schnorrer.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schnorrer.
———. Oxford English Dictionary Online, Oxford UP, 2020.
Udelson, Joseph H. Dreamer of the Ghetto: The Life and Works of Israel Zangwill. U of Alabama P, 1990.
Weinreich, Uriel. Modern English-Yiddish/Yiddish-English Dictionary. Schocken, 1977.
Winehouse, Bernard. "Israel Zangwill’s The King of Schnorrers." Short Story Criticism, vol. 44, 2001. Originally published in Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 10, 1973, pp. 227–33.
———. "The Literary Career of Israel Zangwill from its Beginning Until 1898." PhD Dissertation, U of London, 1970.
Wohlgelernter, Maurice. Israel Zangwill: A Study. Columbia UP, 1964.
Woldin, Judd, and Susan Birkenhead. Petticoat Lane. Samuel French, 1979.
Yoseloff, Thomas, publisher. The King of Schnorrers. By Israel Zangwill, Yoseloff, 1960.
Zangwill, Israel. Children of the Ghetto. 1892. Edited by Meri-Jane Rochelson, Wayne State UP, 1998.
———. Dreamers of the Ghetto. 1898. Jewish Publication Society of America, 1948.
———. The King of Schnorrers: Grotesques and Fantasies. Macmillan, 1893, typeset 1894. 1898 printing.
 For recent full-length studies of Zangwill, see works by Adams, Rochelson, Udelson, Winehouse, and Wohlgelernter. The bibliographies in those books should lead to article-length critical essays. BACK
 Afterward, Zangwill became a regular contributor to the Idler’s Club, a forum featuring Idler writers on aspects of current culture. BACK
 This phrase appears in quotation marks in Humpherys’s essay, possibly quoted from the entry on Robert Barr—Jerome’s co-editor—by Alison Janice Minoff Cox in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 70, Gale, 1988, cited earlier in the same paragraph. BACK
 I have chosen not to italicize this term unless it appears italicized in quoted matter, since both Merriam-Webster and the OED present it as an English word, as I will explain. BACK
 As Freud retells this “Jewish joke,” “An impoverished individual borrowed 25 florins from a prosperous acquaintance, with many asseverations of his necessitous circumstances. The very same day his benefactor met him again in a restaurant with a plate of salmon mayonnaise in front of him. The benefactor reproached him. . . .‘I don’t understand,’ replied the object of the attack; ‘if I haven’t any money I can’t eat salmon mayonnaise, and if I have some money I mustn’t eat salmon mayonnaise. Well, then, when am I to eat salmon mayonnaise?’” (49–50). BACK
 His Jewish short story collection Ghetto Tragedies also appeared in 1893. BACK
 Although not a supporter of “art for art’s sake,” Zangwill expressed sympathy with Oscar Wilde during his trials and imprisonment; see Rochelson, pp. 80–81. BACK
 In Yiddish, grob means thick, fat, or coarse; stock, in its most likely meaning here, is an intensifier for darkness, as the adjective in such English expressions as pitch dark or stone blind, suggesting Grobstock’s ignorance despite his materialism (Weinreich Dictionary). However, Zangwill may also be suggesting the English meaning, implying that the wealthy Jew comes from a “coarse stock.” BACK
 Hutchinson frequently worked with Zangwill, and his illustrations for The King of Schnorrers appear in most editions of the book, even the 1953 reissue edited by Schilling. An exception is the 1960 Yoseloff edition, with woodcut-like modernistic drawings by Henk Krijger. BACK
 The Ascamot, known in English as The Laws and Regulations of the Congregation of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, was published in a “revised and amended” version in London in 1850, which is the earliest copy available on the Hathitrust site. The congregation is referred to as shaar ha-shamayim, or Gate of Heaven, as Zangwill refers to it in the text. (The correct name appears at the start of Chapter Six in the Idler; it appears as Gates of Heaven in the 1894 volume.) We may assume that Zangwill consulted an eighteenth-century edition. BACK
 The somewhat pejorative term for an Ashkenazi Jew in that time and place; from the Italian word for German. BACK
 As I will discuss, the nearly all-male cast of characters in this novella, and the way in which Manasseh’s daughter is objectified, may be yet another reason why Zangwill, an active feminist, chose to set the story in the eighteenth century. BACK
 See Edna Nahshon’s comment on “the vagabond con man . . . as a fellow artist whose performance merits compensation for its careful crafting, just like a stage actor” (390). BACK
 Reprinted in Nahshon’s edition, to which page numbers refer. BACK
 Winehouse, in his dissertation, notes that Zangwill gave permission for a French musical version in 1923 (178–79). Whether or not that was the play I saw advertised, I do not know. BACK
 Listed in WorldCat. I also searched, without success, the catalogs of the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the Yiddish Book Center, although some of those did include translations to other European languages. BACK
 I am grateful to Madeleine Cohen, Director of Translation and Collections Initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center, for drawing my attention to the difference in the Hebrew title found in WorldCat (Melekh ha-kabtsonim), e-mail message, 23 August 2019. My multilingual friend Eva Lebovic enlightened me as to the shades of meaning of kabtsn, conversation 24 August 2019. Both schnorrer and kabtsn are used in Yiddish, but the origin of schnorrer is German, not Hebrew. See, for example, Rochelson, pp. 172–73, 223, and elsewhere. BACK
 See, for example, Rochelson, pp. 172–73, 223, and elsewhere. BACK