WARSAW, Poland — Winning a Nobel Prize in Literature is usually a cause for celebration in the writer’s home country, a point of pride and a justification for a bit of patriotic pomp. But in Poland, where the nation is engaged in a bitter and consequential battle over the question of what it means to be Polish, the prize has led to controversy, instead.

When Olga Tokarczuk of Poland won it on Thursday, the reaction was as divided as is the country itself. To some, she is an eloquent writer who captures Poland’s tragic and inspiring 20th-century history. To others, she is a traitor.

Ms. Tokarczuk has…



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