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King of Schnorrers


Israel Zangwill Libri


The King of Schnorrers (1893) is a novel by Israel Zangwill. Raised in London by parents from Latvia and Poland, Zangwill understood the plight of the city?s Jewish community firsthand. Having risen through poverty to become an educator and author, he dedicated his career to the voiceless, the oppressed, and the needy, advocating for their rights and bearing witness to their suffering in some of the most powerful novels and stories of the Victorian era. When ?England denied her Jews every civic right except that of paying taxes,? a class Schnorrers, or beggars, was forced through desperation to survive by the charity of others. On Sabbath days, the entrance to London?s synagogues are crowded with groups of these men, seeking from more recent immigrants, from those not yet driven to poverty, some small token of brotherhood. As Joseph Grobstock, a successful merchant, emerges from the service, he is accosted by a man who appeals first to his charitable nature. When Grobstock insults the man with a penny, causing the other Schnorrers to laugh at his expense, Manasseh Bueno Barzillai Azevedo da Costa, a Sephardi, curses Grobstock, who proceeds to argue in an effort to preserve his honor. The King of Schnorrers, a brilliant satire, earned Zangwill comparisons to Dickens and Twain upon publication, and helped to establish him as an author with a gift for intensive character study and a passion for political themes. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Israel Zangwill?s The King of Schnorrers is a classic of British literature reimagined for modern readers.
 
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