If Herzl's utopian novel Altneuland
(and other Zionist utopian text written around the same time) can arguably be seen as influencing Zionist Hebrew writing, the utopian form is almost completely absent from later Israeli literature (the same near-absence can be attributed to science fiction, of which the utopian is a subset, as Darko Suvin claims (Suvin 13))--with the exception of Yehoshua Bar Yossef's little-known nationalist utopian novel Utopia bekacho lavan (home-made utopia) and Gabi Nitzan's neoliberal utopian novella Badulina.
Herzl's Utopian novel Old New Land (Altneuland
, 1902) was the first step in making Israel, once again, a homeland for the Jewish people.
To begin, I call the first period the Altneuland
of Jewish American literary history.
Through a selection of particularly utopian texts, some especially well known, like Freiland and Herzl's Zionist utopia Altneuland
, and others suffering from "critical neglect," like Robert Muller's more right-wing Tropen: Mythos der Reise, Bach shows how a recourse to colonialist fiction provided a means of thinking through the economic anxieties, nationalist chauvinism, and anti-Semitism that threatened the multi-ethnic empire in its final years.
, Theodor Herzl's novel describing the imagined Jewish state, the Jews had no army.
In his novel Altneuland
, Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, had himself forecast that economic prosperity--just as Cahan later argued and, most recently, Shimon Peres maintains--would be the solution to overcoming any lingering animosity among the Arabs toward the Jewish presence.
Other critical essays on same-sex desire in Eliot's texts include Monika Muller, "Nineteenth-Century Narraceons [sic]: Race, Gender, and (National) Identity in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Dred and George Eliot's Daniel Deronda," Gender Forum 3 (2002); Joanne Long Demaria, "The Wondrous Marriages or Daniel Deronda: Gender, Work, and Love," Studies in the Novel 22 (1990), 403-417; and Jacob Press, "Same Sex Unions in Modern Europe: Daniel Deronda, Altneuland
, and the Homoerotics of Jewish Nationalism," in Novel Gazing: Queer Readings in Fiction, ed.
(89.) As Miriam Eliav-Feldon remarks, Herzl symptomatically "devoted time to the writing of Altneuland
when most in despair over his political activities" ("'If You Will It, It Is No Fairy Tale'," 96).
Bachman notes that JDub brought "together countless young Jews in the altneuland
of their own identity project," and the reference to Theodor Herzl's novel of Zionist utopia feels apt.
The messages of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), Ahad Ha'am (1856-1927), and many others with their call to return to Zion to alleviate the ongoing, disastrous consequences of European antisemitism resonated well with the religious Jews of Eastern Europe (e.g., the organization Hovevei Zion), who were more than willing to leave their countries of residence in exchange for the Altneuland
(German "old-new land" and the title of Herzl's 1902 visionary novel).