Rudolf Schenda

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Rudolf Schenda (born October 13, 1930 in Essen , † October 14, 2000 in Jona , Switzerland ) was an folklorist , literary scholar and narrative researcher .


The son of the master painter Rudolf Schenda (* 1897 in Gelsenkirchen , † 1966 in Nördlingen ) studied Romance and English in Amherst (Mass.), Munich and Paris , but interrupted his studies several times for study trips to Italy and France . Schenda submitted his dissertation in Munich in 1959 on French prodigy literature in the second half of the 16th century. 1960-1962 he was a lecturer in Palermo , 1962 he was assistant of Hermann Bausinger in Tübingen , where he joined in 1969 with people without a book habilitated . From 1973 to 1979 he was professor and director of the seminar for folklore at the University of Göttingen , then until his retirement in 1995 he was professor for European folk literature at the University of Zurich . Since 1958 he was married to the artist Susanne Schenda .

Schenda made a name for himself as a socio-historical narrative researcher. His post- doctoral thesis Volk ohne Buch , published in 1970, is considered a classic in literary and reader sociology . His knowledge of sources, especially of the literatures of Romania , was widely admired. In addition to the popular reading materials in Europe , he dealt with folk medicine and social gerontology , among other things .

Under his direction - as his last major work (2000) - the first complete German translation of the Neapolitan fairy tale collection "Lo cunto de li cunti" by Giambattista Basile (also known under the title "Il Pentamerone"), the oldest European book of fairy tales ( 1634/36).

Schenda was co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Fairy Tales and the magazines Fabula , Curare and the International Archive for the Social History of German Literature .

The title of the festival publication Hören, Sagen , lesen , Lern dedicated to him in 1995 alludes to Schenda's interests in the history of communicative culture.


  • French prodigy literature in the second half of the 16th century , Munich 1961 (= Munich Romanistic Works, 16)
  • People without a book. Studies on the social history of popular reading materials 1770–1910 , Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1970, ISBN 3-465-01836-2 (= studies on philosophy and literature of the 19th century . Volume, 5, also habilitation thesis University of Tübingen 1970).
  • Little People's Reading. Studies on popular literature in the 19th and 20th centuries , Munich 1976 (= Beck'sche Schwarze Reihe, 146) ISBN 3-406-04946-X
  • Folklore e letteratura popolare: Italia - Germania - Francia , Roma 1986 (= Bibliotheca Biographica)
  • Legend teller and legend collector of Switzerland. Studies in the production of folk history and stories from the 16th to the early 20th centuries . Edited by Rudolf Schenda with the assistance of Hans Ten Doornkaat, Bern / Stuttgart 1988 ISBN 3-258-03878-3
  • From mouth to ear. Building blocks for a cultural history of popular narration in Europe , Göttingen 1993 ISBN 3-525-01354-X .
  • The ABC of animals. Fairy tales, myths and stories , Beck, Munich 1995 ISBN 3-406-39889-8
  • In good shape. Hundred true stories of the human body , Beck, Munich 1998 ISBN 3-406-44110-6 .
  • as editor: Giambattista Basile: The fairy tale of fairy tales. The pentameron. Completely re-translated and explained by Hanno Helbling , Alfred Messerli , Johann Pögl , Dieter Richter , Luisa Rubini , Rudolf Schenda and Doris Senn based on the Neapolitan text of 1634/36 . Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 978-3-406-68629-0 . (2nd edition 2015)


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