Traitors and True Poles
Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880–1939

By Karen Majewski

Winner of the Oskar Halecki Prize • Winner of the 2000 Polish American Historical Association Kulczycki Prize • Winner of the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title

“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.

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In Series

Polish and Polish-American Studies Series

Related Subjects

History · American History · International History · European History · Polish and Polish-American Studies · Nationalism · Race and Ethnicity



Retail price: $24.95, S.
Release date: Apr. 2003
242 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Retail price: $46.95, S.
Release date: Apr. 2003
242 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Release date: Apr. 2003
≅ 242 pages
Rights: World