Shumsky, Dimitry. “‘This Ship Is Zion!’: Travel, Tourism, and Cultural Zionism in Theodor Herzl’s Altneuland.” Jewish Quarterly Review 104.3 (2014): 471-93.
One of the central elements of Herzlian spatial-political thought that has been filtered out of the deterministic historiographical discourse on Herzl-the-visionary-of-the-nation-state is that of travel and tourism, as well as the cultural significance and political context of the representations of travel and tourism in his utopian-political novel Altneuland.
The present article argues, however, that it is precisely through accounting for the notions of travel and tourism at work in Theodor Herzl’s Altneuland that one can appreciate Herzl’s perception of homecoming in its full complexity. The development of this argument is divided into the following three areas: (1) a survey of the expressions of the theme of travel and tourism in Altneuland which have been largely overlooked by virtually all the historians, political scientists and literary scholars dealing with Herzl’s novel; (2) a rethinking of the cultural and political aspects of Herzlian Zionism given the appropriate assessment of the role played by the motif(s) of travel and tourism in his vision of the future Palestine, as well as placing those aspects within the wider historical context of the contemporary development of political territorially-oriented national movements in the Habsburg Central Europe where Herzlian nationalism had emerged; (3) framing discussion on the journey element in the Herzlian Zionism in terms of relevant theoretical discourse on travel, tourism and homecoming, with purpose of drawing through the case of Herzl’s employment of travel motifs some broad theoretical reflections on travel, Zionism and homecoming in the time (and space) of fin-de-siècle multiethnic empires.