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Author photo. Image from <b><i>Soap Bubbles</i></b> (1896) by Max Nordau

Image from Soap Bubbles (1896) by Max Nordau

Max Nordau (1849–1923)

Author of Degeneration

Includes the names: Nordau Max, Max Simon Nordau, Intro.) Max Nordau (B. Netanyahu

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Max Nordau was born Simon (Simcha) Südfeld to an Orthodox Jewish family in Hungary. He attended a Jewish elementary school, then a Catholic grammar school. Even before entering university, he began his literary career as a journalist and drama critic. He earned a medical degree from the University of Budapest in 1872, and then traveled around Europe for six years. He changed his name before going to Berlin in 1873. He began his medical practice in Budapest in 1878. In 1880, Nordau went to Paris, where he worked as a correspondent for the Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse, along with his friend and colleague Theodor Herzl. Married to a Christian woman, Nordau considered himself thoroughly assimilated and German. His conversion to the cause of Zionism may have been triggered by the Dreyfus Affair, which caused many other European Jews -- including Herzl -- to become convinced of the need for a Jewish homeland. Nordau went on to be elected a vice-president of the Zionist Organization (later renamed the World Zionist Organization) at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. His most famous work was Entartung (Degeneration), published in 1892.
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