Nordau, Max

Max Nordau, Zionist leader and writer, 1849-1923

Max Simon Nordau, born Simon Maximilian Südfeld, was a Zionist leader, physician, author, and social critic. He was a co-founder of the Zionist Organization together with Theodor Herzl, and president or vice president of several Zionist congresses. As a social critic, he wrote "The Conventional Lies of Our Civilisation" (1883), "Degeneration" (1892), and "Paradoxes" (1896). Nordau's major work "Degeneration" is a moralistic attack on what he believed to be degenerate art, as well as a polemic against the effects of a range of the rising social phenomena of the period, such as rapid urbanization and its perceived effects on the human body.