Shund.org is a database of Yiddish popular fiction, collecting and analyzing works of entertainment literature written in Yiddish and published as books and pamphlets and serialized in the Yiddish press.A Woman’s Honor
, The Lost Daughter
, It’s Hard to be a Mother
, The Masked World
—these are just a few titles from the thousands of Yiddish pulp novels published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Serialized as stand-alone pamphlets or in the pages of the Yiddish press, novels like these are twisting tales of murder and infidelity, adventure and political intrigue. Though labeled by critics as “trash” (shund
in Yiddish), they were central to Jewish daily life throughout the global network of Ashkenazi Jewry. Today these texts remain largely unstudied even as scholars assert their importance to understanding Yiddish culture and its afterlives. This project aims to bridge this gap by producing a collaborative, open-access database that will synthesize shund
’s varied and disparate archives and facilitate new scholarship. With a better understanding of what exactly constitutes shund
, a group of scholars can together produce comparative histories of the genre while theorizing it as a paradigm for how marginalized cultures confront the modern world.
This site is currently in beta mode, as we continue to build the corpus and test out methods of analysis. The majority of the database currently catalogues Forverts
, New York’s daily socialist newspaper. We are grateful to the Forward Foundation for generously collaborating with this project. And special thanks to the research assistants who entered in all the data! Check the news feed
for updates on new entries into the database.
Check out this post
for a longer explanation of what criteria was used for entering fiction into the database.
Comments, suggestions, questions? Send a note to [email protected]
This project is supported by grants from Harvard’s Milton Fund, the Dean’s competitive fund for innovative scholarship, and the Center for Jewish Studies.