Front Page

Anthony Smith

Ernest Gellner

The Nation: real or imagined?


Warwick University provided the venue for a series of debates on nations and nationalism. The debate, held on 24 October 1995 under the above title and chaired by Edward Mortimer, brought together two of the best known authorities on the subject in a stimulating intellectual exchange. Although a summarised version of the debate appeared in the December issue of Prospect,Nations and Nationalism is pleased to publish in full Anthony Smith's opening address, as well as the complete transcript of Ernest Gellner's reply.

The arguments of these statements were taken up in the second annual
Nations and Nationalism Public Lecture (renamed the Ernest Gellner Nationalism Lecture in his honour) held at the London School of Economics on 21 March 1996. The lecture was to have been given by Professor Gellner, but in the event Anthony Smith was asked to give the lecture and appropriately employed the occasion to offer his reflections on his former teacher's contribution to the study of nationalism.

from Nations and Nationalism 2 (3), 1996, pp.357-370