Collecting: Pulp Novels (Heftromane) between Popular Culture and Canon

Sub-Project 5

Looking at three historical cross-sections, this project investigates the dealings of the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) with pulp novel series and the parallel activities of pulp novel collectors. The first cross-section is concerned with the Deutsche Bücherei, founded in 1912. The definition of its bibliographical and collecting mission coincided with the public debate about so-called Schundliteratur (trash literature).

The second cross-section focuses on the case of Perry Rhodan, a series that has been published since 1961. How did the Deutsche Bücherei Leipzig and the Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt collect the series? How did they classify, catalog, archive, and make available such kiosk literature that at first glance has no author, is not a book, and makes no claim to being a "work" of literature?

The third cross-section analyzes the consequences of the "Law regarding the German National Library" (Gesetz über die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) of June 29, 2006. The increasing significance of internet publications has raised the question of how the digitally flowing seriality of pulp novels can be archived, kept available, and made a component of cultural self-reflection. The activities of the German National Library will be set in relation to those of organized collectors, who since the 1960s have taken over essential tasks of the national literary indexing of pulp novel series.


Research Associate: Tonia Sophie Müller, M.A., Empirical Cultural Studies, Tübingen