“The bibliography, sources, notes, and index will be a treasure for scholars and researchers alike.”
Polish American Journal
“This is a pioneering work. Majewski found and made sense of a treasure trove of popular literature written in Polish for and about Polish immigrants to the US in the late 19th and early 20th century…”
"Traitors and True Poles not only provides a valuable contribution to the study of Polish cultural and political history, but in a sensitive and respectful manner facilitates the understanding of American ethnic literature and multiculturalism, by adding the voice of the heretofore 'silent' Polish writers of the 'old immigration.'"
Slavic and East European Journal
During Poland’s century-long partition and in the interwar period of Poland's reemergence as a state, Polish writers on both sides of the ocean shared a preoccupation with national identity. Polish-American immigrant writers revealed their persistent, passionate engagement with these issues, as they used their work to define and consolidate an essentially transnational ethnic identity that was both tied to Poland and independent of it.
By introducing these varied and forgotten works into the scholarly discussion, Traitors and True Poles recasts the literary landscape to include the immigrant community’s own competing visions of itself. The conversation between Polonia’s creative voices illustrates how immigrants manipulated often difficult economic, social, and political realities to provide a place for and a sense of themselves. What emerges is a fuller picture of American literature, one vital to the creation of an ethnic consciousness.
This is the first extended look at Polish-language fiction written by turn-of-the-century immigrants, a forgotten body of American ethnic literature. Addressing a blind spot in our understanding of immigrant and ethnic identity and culture, Traitors and True Poles challenges perceptions of a silent and passive Polish immigration by giving back its literary voice.
Karen Majewski is an assistant professor of Polish and East Central European Studies at St. Mary's College of Ave Maria University, Orchard Lake, Michigan. She is also executive secretary of the Polish American Historical Association. More info →
Save 20% ($19.96)
Save 20% ($37.56)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
Polish émigrés have written poignantly about the pain of exile in letters, diaries, and essays; others, more recently, have recreated Polish-American communities in works of fiction. But it is Danuta Mostwin’s fiction, until now unavailable in English translation, that bridges the divide between Poland and America, exile and emigration. Mostwin and her husband survived the ravages of World War II, traveled to Britain, and then emigrated to the United States.
At midcentury, two distinct Polish immigrant groups—those Polish Americans who were descendants of economic immigrants from the turn of the twentieth century and the Polish political refugees who chose exile after World War II and the communist takeover in Poland—faced an uneasy challenge to reconcile their concepts of responsibility toward the homeland. The new arrivals did not consider themselves simply as immigrants, but rather as members of the special category of political refugees.
A comparative study of Polish migrants in the Ruhr Valley and in northeastern Pennsylvania, The Borders of Integration questions assumptions about race and white immigrant assimilation a hundred years ago, highlighting how the Polish immigrant experience is relevant to present-day immigration debates. It shows the complexity of attitudes toward immigration in Germany and the United States, challenging historical myths surrounding German national identity and the American “melting pot.”
Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004) often seemed austere and forbidding to Americans, but those who got to know him found him warm, witty, and endlessly enriching. An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz presents a collection of remembrances from his colleagues, his students, and his fellow writers and poets in America and Poland. Miłosz’s oeuvre is complex, rooted in twentieth-century eastern European history.