Cover: The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement, from Harvard University PressCover: The Jewish Dark Continent in HARDCOVER

The Jewish Dark Continent

Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement

Add to Cart

Product Details


$41.50 • £33.95 • €37.50

ISBN 9780674047280

Publication Date: 11/29/2011


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 map


[A] perceptive and intriguing work.—David Wolpe, The Weekly Standard

The Jewish Dark Continent is much more than the story of an amazing individual and an inspired, if quixotic, project of collaborative research. It is a genuine voyage of exploration, a work of erudition and vision that restores complexity, paradox, and possibility to the Jewish Pale of Settlement. Brilliant and genre-bending.—James Clifford, author of The Predicament of Culture and Routes

For the first time, a rare and precious document, as lost as the world it was intended to document, comes to light. World War I halted the ethnographic expedition that would have provided the answers to this unique questionnaire about all aspects of the Jewish life cycle in Eastern Europe. Thanks to Nathaniel Deutsch’s fine translation and erudite commentary these tantalizing questions—without answers—reveal what those who formulated them expected to find. Truly a treasure.—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, editor of Writing a Modern Jewish History and co-author of They Called Me Mayer July

A century ago, The Jewish Ethnographic Program gave us the culture of the shtetl at such close range and in such extraordinary detail that we can see the blood spot on the conjugal sheet and read the petitionary notes on the Zaddik’s grave. Thanks to Nathaniel Deutsch, An-sky’s ‘dark continent’ is revealed to us as a living, luminous place.—David Roskies, author of Yiddishlands: A Memoir

A highly original work—a superb translation, an erudite, lively annotation, above all an extended conversation with one of late imperial Russian Jewry’s most intriguing minds.—Steven J. Zipperstein, author of Imagining Russian Jewry

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, by James L. Nolan, Jr., from Harvard University Press

Remembering Hiroshima

On this day 75 years ago, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. James L. Nolan Jr.’s grandfather was a doctor who participated in the Manhattan Project, and he writes about him in Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, an unflinching examination of the moral and professional dilemmas faced by physicians who took part in the project. Below, please find the introduction to Nolan’s book. On the morning of June 17, 1945, Captain James F. Nolan, MD, boarded a plane