Welcome to The Polack Archive:
A Digital Edition of Fiction Without Romance (1830)

Maria Polack is believed to be the first Anglo-Jewish novelist. She lived from 1786-1849 in the East End of London and published her only known novel, Fiction Without Romance or The Locket-Watch, in 1830. No archive of her life or writing exists. 

The Polack Archive contains a digital surrogate of Polack's novel along with paratexts from a single, unique copy of the novel housed at the British Library. The rare and original paratexts, or the title page, subscription list, and note to subscribers, have been reproduced on this archive with permission from the British Library.

Fiction Without Romance was published once and six original copies of the novel remain. I created The Polack Archive in order to make this important text accessible to a broad audience. My hope is that access to work by writers like Polack will energize studies of East End cultural production from this period.

I've placed this important work on the East End Digital Library to create interactive pathways for comparative analyses of writers from the East End. Maria Polack and A.S. Lyon shared a social circle. Lyon was a subscriber to Polack's novel, along with other members of his family including is sister, Emma Lyon. Work by all of these writers appears on the East End Digital Library. However, I've created two archival structures--The Polack Archive and The Lyon Archive--as linked but separate entities to to point to the meaningful work of archival borders and the comparative methods of reading regional authors relationally, or as part of a shared social and cultural landscape. 

Maria Polack and her novel are the focus of the forthcoming book, Strangers in the Archive: Literary Evidence and London's East End (expected publication 2022). Polack and her novel offer an important window into East End global literary culture. The book explores the tremendous significance of the rare paratexts--the subscription list in particular--preserved in the British Library's copy of the novel.

The Polack Archive will continue to be updated as new information about Polack emerges.


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Click here to return to The East End Digital Library
Click here to visit the The Lyon Archive


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Heidi Kaufman is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oregon. She specializes in nineteenth-century literary culture, archives, and Digital Humanities. Please email questions about this project to hkaufman@uoregon.edu



The Polack Archive
is protected by the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial License (Share Alike 4.0). All but one of the digital objects housed on this site may be copied or distributed only for non-commercial, educational purposes provided that the owner of the original documents receive credit. Use or reproduction of the digital objects on this site or their content for commercial use of any kind requires permission from the original document owner. The British Library Paratexts may not be copied or reproduced for any reason without permission from the British Library:(┬ęBritish Library Board, 1153.l.1, n.p.)