Zangwill's Zones icon Zangwill's Zones


Zangwill on cover of 'Time' Sept. 17, 1923

Elsie Bonita Adams in her book Israel Zangwill recounts how in 1962 while commuting by train to and from Boston, she read the works of minor British novelists to pass the time and "discovered" Israel Zangwill. "Zangwill stood out: his work still had emotive power and relevance to life." And yet she had never heard of him.1 Zangwill was a very popular writer around the turn of the 20th century. In recent years he has received scholarly attention, but is still unknown to most readers which is unfortunate. He was not just a late-Victorian or Jewish writer.

He depicted a wide range of characters: the inhabitants of London and rural residents, painters and politicians, artists and artisans, sculptors and schnorrers, embezzlers and detectives, marriage brokers and governesses, bankers and peddlers, apostates, skeptics, believers and fanatics.

He wrote about different geographical zones -- ghettos (de jure and de facto) and Essex villages, Western and Eastern Europe, London's West End and East End, the Old and New World -- and political, social, religious and cultural zones: Conservatives and Radicals, the upper-classes and lower-classes, Protestants and Jews, Zionists and assimilationists, insiders and outsiders, the powerful and the powerless.

Zangwill was a romantic realist. He rejected aestheticism; the artist and art must be engaged with the world. He rejected naturalism and its deterministic viewpoint. In general he depicted with realistic detail the complex lives of ordinary people.

Israel Zangwill was born of Jewish immigrant parents in the Whitechapel ghetto of London in 1864. He spent his early childhood in Bristol. His family returned to Whitechapel where he attended the Jews' Free School. He later taught at the school while earning a degree from the University of London. Zangwill's first novel, The Premier and the Painter, written in collaboration with Louis Cohen, his friend and fellow teacher, was published in 1888.

Children of the Ghetto (1892), the first of his works about ghetto life, is about the Jewish immigrants in London's East End, whose experiences represent in many ways those of all immigrants. It was followed by Ghetto Tragedies (1893), Dreamers of the Ghetto (1898) and Ghetto Comedies (1907).

Zangwill also wrote stories, plays and novels on non-Jewish subjects. He published the first locked-room mystery, a couple of science-fiction stories and many plays, including The Melting Pot (1908) which popularized the metaphor of the United States as a melting pot.

Starting in 1895 he devoted much of his time and energy to the Zionist movement. Additionally, in articles, speeches and plays he advocated female suffrage and wrote about the horrors of war and the necessity for disarmament (War God, Cockpit and Forcing House). In 1903 he married Edith Ayrton, a Gentile, novelist and activist in the women's rights movement. Zangwill died in 1926.

All of Zangwill's major works and most of his minor works can be downloaded at no cost in PDF and various ebook formats from either the Internet Archive ( or the Gutenberg Project (

Zangwill's Zones

Like a target the board is arranged in 4 concentric zones of different colors. The center zone is composed of 9 squares and it is surrounded by 3 increasingly larger zones (40, 72 and 104 squares). The letter-points of a tile are multiplied by the zone number. Thus, a tile placed in zone 2 is worth twice as much as a tile in zone 1. A tile placed in zone 3 is worth three times as much and a tile placed in zone 4 is worth 4 times as much.

When a valid word is checked, the score for the word is the sum of (1) the zone-points of the primary word and all new cross-words (if any) and (2) any bonus points. When you use all seven tiles in your tray to form a word (sometimes called a bingo), the total points for the play are doubled.

There are two Game Modes: High Points in Center and Low Points in Center. Depending upon which game mode you choose, the zones run 1, 2, 3 and 4 from the center or 4, 3, 2 and 1 from the center. Depending upon how you see the world the center (city?) is best and surrounding areas less and less so or vice versa. Do you find it more valuable to be at the center of things or on the periphery? An insider or outsider?

game boardHigh Points in Center

C = 3 letter-points x zone 4 = 12 zone-points
H = 4 letter-points x zone 4 = 16 zone-points
A = 1 letter-point  x zone 3 =  3 zone-points
I = 1 letter-point  x zone 3 =  3 zone-points
R = 1 letter-point  x zone 2 =  2 zone-points
E = 1 letter-point  x zone 2 =  2 zone-points
D = 2 letter-points x zone 1 =  2 zone-points

game boardLow Points in Center

C = 3 letter-points x zone 1 = 3 zone-points
H = 4 letter-points x zone 1 = 4 zone-points
A = 1 letter-point  x zone 2 = 2 zone-points
I = 1 letter-point  x zone 2 = 2 zone-points
R = 1 letter-point  x zone 3 = 3 zone-points
E = 1 letter-point  x zone 3 = 3 zone-points
D = 2 letter-points x zone 4 = 8 zone-points

See also


1Elsie Bonita Adams, "Preface," Israel Zangwill (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1971), np.