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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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Is There a Jewish School of Polish Literature?

Is There a Jewish School of Polish Literature?

(p.196) Is There a Jewish School of Polish Literature?
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1

Jan Błonski

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines how the generation born about 1910 found propitious conditions for the creation of a ‘Jewish school’ of Polish literature. Life, including their most inner life, was lived through the Polish language. Yet this life was marked by unexpectedly strong Jewish features. Jews had certainly made themselves felt in Polish literature much earlier. Already at the turn of the century, writers of Jewish descent played an important role in the intellectual elite. Their role was to increase considerably in independent Poland. However, those who desired assimilation had to abide by the tacit understanding that they were not to explore their Jewish experience, at least not in their literature. Thus, the first intellectuals to surface as identifiably Jewish in their work were critics and historians; then came poets. Yet prose writers were significantly absent. Novelists base the substance of their work on their life experience, particularly the experience of youth; the Polonized Jews preferred to leave their past in the dark.

Keywords:   Jewish school, Polish literature, Polish language, Jewish writers, assimilation, Jewish experience, Jewish historians, Jewish poets, Jewish novelists, Polonized Jews

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