The 'Syria idea' emerged in the nineteenth century as a concept of national awakening superseding both Arab nationalism and separatist currents. Looking at nationalist movements, ideas and individuals, this book traces the origin and development of the idea of Syrian nationhood from the perspective of some of its leading pioneers. Providing a highly original comparative insight into the struggle for independence and sovereignty in post-1850 Syria, it addresses some of the most persistent questions about the development of this nationalism. Chapters by eminent scholars from within and outside of the region offer a comprehensive study of individual Syrian writers and activists caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty, competing ideologies, foreign interference, and political suppression. A valuable addition to the present scholarship on nationalism in the Middle East, this book will be of interest to many professionals as well as to scholars of history, Middle East studies and political science.