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Brigid O'Keeffe

Dec 16, 2021

Esperanto and Languages of Internationalism in Revolutionary Russia

Bloomsbury 2021

Hoping to unite all of humankind and revolutionize the world, Ludwik Zamenhof launched a new international language called Esperanto from late imperial Russia in 1887. Ordinary men and women in Russia and all over the world soon transformed Esperanto into a global movement. Esperanto and Languages of Internationalism in Revolutionary Russia (Bloomsbury, 2021) traces the history and legacy of this effort: from Esperanto's roots in the social turmoil of the pre-revolutionary Pale of Settlement; to its links to socialist internationalism and Comintern bids for world revolution; and, finally, to the demise of the Soviet Esperanto movement in the increasingly xenophobic Stalinist 1930s. In doing so, this book reveals how Esperanto - and global language politics more broadly - shaped revolutionary and early Soviet Russia.

Based on extensive archival materials, Brigid O'Keeffe's book provides the first in-depth exploration of Esperanto at grassroots level and sheds new light on a hitherto overlooked area of Russian history. As such, Esperanto and Languages of Internationalism in Revolutionary Russiawill be of immense value to both historians of modern Russia and scholars of internationalism, transnational networks, and sociolinguistics.

Brigid O'Keeffe is professor of history at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She is the author of Esperanto and Languages of Internationalism in Revolutionary Russia (Bloomsbury, 2021) and New Soviet Gypsies: Nationality, Performance, and Selfhood in the Early Soviet Union (University of Toronto Press, 2013). She is currently preparing a manuscript titled, "The Multiethnic Soviet Union and Its Demise" for Bloomsbury’s “Russian Shorts” Book Series.

Steven Seegel is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

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