It is remarkable to me that so much contemporary theorizing on nationalism pays so little heed to what actual nationalists have had to say on the topic. Perhaps this is in part due to the broad dismissal issued to nationalist writings by the influential theorist Ernest Gellner, who in the early 1980s confidently advised his fellow scholars that “we shall not learn too much about nationalism from the study of its own prophets” (1983: 125). Much though I admire Gellner’s work, I respectfully disagree with this pronouncement. For if we do not turn to nationalist voices to help us understand the roots of the phenomenon – its deep motivations and aspirations – then we must rely on other scholars and theorists to represent them for us. Yet if we never check these representations against the original, we can never be sure that the nationalism these theorists are talking about is the same as the nationalism we face in everyday life. Since nationalists are rarely heard in their own voice in the theoretical debate, there has not been much opportunity to confirm how well these theories capture nationalist concerns. This makes the theoretical effort somewhat suspect from the beginning, and it contributes to deep divisions in thinking on the topic.