Since the late eighteenth century, the feuilleton has been one of the most popular and most controversial forms of writing in newspapers throughout the world. The French word feuilleton is a diminutive of feuillet (“leaf” or “page”); hence, feuilleton means “small leaf.” In the decades after 1800, the feuilleton spread across Europe and beyond, rapidly establishing itself as a genre of urban writing well-suited for the new mass-oriented press and wildly popular with the emerging educated bourgeoisie. Many Jewish writers, journalists, and political figures wrote feuilletons. As a result, the feuilleton became associated — both in Jewish and antisemitic discourses — with Jews and Jewishness. The feuilleton was an important feature in the creation of a transnational modern Jewish press as well as a vehicle for Jews to partake in national cultures.
“Below the Line” provides open-access resources for those interested in learning more about the feuilleton and its importance in the formation of modern Jewish cultures. Started in 2017, the project aims to foster conversation about and research into the feuilleton as a historical forum that attracted many different types of writing, writers, and readers. This site is intended for the general public, including educators, students, and scholars. We hope you will take a look at the original texts, get a sense of how the feuilleton appeared when it was first published, and read through the English translations — all with an eye toward what the feuilleton can tell us about the formation of modern Jewish cultures and new media landscapes today.
This site presents a growing collection of historical feuilletons published around the world and modern Jewish cultures. Each feuilleton includes an original image of the text in its original language and often in its original publication setting, an English translation of the text, and, when possible, short commentaries on the texts.
“Below the Line” strives to present a diverse and representative collection of the feuilletons that shaped modern Jewish cultures. The feuilletons currently on the site are a first step toward capturing a wide range of feuilleton languages, topics, regions, and authors. You can read more about our selection process in the FAQ. You can browse the texts by author, newspaper, language or search the feuilletons.