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Synopsis

Noah Prylucki (1882-1941), a leading Jewish cultural and political figure in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe, was a proponent of Yiddishism, a movement that promoted secular Yiddish culture as the basis for Jewish collective identity in the twentieth century. Prylucki's dramatic path - from russified Zionist raised in a Ukrainian shtetl, to Diaspora nationalist parliamentarian in metropolitan Warsaw, to professor of Yiddish in Soviet Lithuania - uniquely reflects the dilemmas and competing options facing the Jews of this era as life in Eastern Europe underwent radical transformation.

Using hitherto unexplored archival sources, memoirs, interviews, and materials from the vibrant interwar Jewish and Polish presses, Kalman Weiser investigates the rise and fall of Yiddishism and of Prylucki's political party, the Folkists, in the post-World War One era. Jewish People, Yiddish Nation reveals the life of a remarkable individual and the fortunes of a major cultural movement that has long been obscured.

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