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Kellner, Leon


KELLNER, LEON (1859–1928), professor of English literature and one of Herzl's early friends and advisers. Teaching in various schools, and after a scholarship at the British Museum in London (1887), he became a lecturer in English literature at the University of Vienna in 1890. Besides his employment at a high school in Vienna he continued his lectures at the University in 1894–1904. From 1904 to 1914 he was a professor at the University of Czernowitz, where he was active in public life as a representative of the Jewish-national list to the Landtag (local parliament). When World War i broke out, Kellner flew to Vienna. After the war he served as an English expert in the office of the president of the Austrian Republic (Praesidentenkanzlei). He gave lectures at the Technical University and at the adult college in Vienna. From the publication of his first article (1884), he was active in scholarly writing, mainly in the research of English literature. He published critical editions of English texts, grammar books, an English-German, German-English dictionary, a dictionary of Shakespeare, and a history of English and American literature. His works were highly successful and were published in several editions because of their attractive style, even in purely academic subjects. He also published articles, stories, and feuilletons in newspapers and periodicals in English and German.

In 1896 he made the acquaintance of Herzl and was invited by him to edit the Zionist organ Die *Welt, but did not accept. He contributed to Die Welt from its first issue (at first under his own signature and later under the signature Leo Rafaels), and in 1900 edited the paper. Kellner assisted Herzl by opening many locked doors in England and was one of his closest associates. Herzl wrote of him in his diary: "Kellner, my best and dearest friend, whose visits are rays of light in the murk of all these worries" (March 26, 1898), "he knows more than anybody about my intentions" (May 27, 1898); Herzl even requested that Kellner publish his diary. Kellner fulfilled his request by publishing a selection of Herzl's writings in two volumes (Theodor Herzl's Zionistische Schriften, 1908), by aiding the publication of the diaries, and beginning to write a comprehensive biography of Herzl, of which only the first part Theodor Herzl's Lehrjahre was published (1920).


A. Kellner, Leon Kellner (Ger., 1936); P. Arnold, in: Herzl Yearbook, 2 (1959), 171–83; idem, in: B. Dinur and I. Halperin (eds.), Shivat Ẓiyyon, 4 (1956), 114–60; idem, Zikhronot be-Ahavah (1968). add. bibliography: H. Arnold, in: Neue Deutsche Biographie, 11 (1977), 477–78; Lexikon deutsch-juedischer Autoren, vol. 13 (2005), 348–57.

[Getzel Kressel /

Archiv Bibliographia Judaica (2nd ed.)]

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