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Village life in late tsarist Russia /
by Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia ; edited by David L. Ransel ; translated by David L. Ransel, with Michael Levine.
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1993.
xxx, 175 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
0253347971 (alk. paper) 0253207843 (pbk.)
More Details
added author
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1993.
0253347971 (alk. paper) 0253207843 (pbk.)
general note
Translated from Russian.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [173]-175).
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-11:
An excellent and readable ethnographic study based primarily on the personal observations and questions of the author, mainly from 1898 to 1902, in villages in the southwestern corner of Riazan province. In 1914, a posthumous work on peasant life resulted from Semyonova's earlier observations. The book reviewed here is chiefly a translation of this earlier work, although Ransel has rearranged portions of it and inserted other Semyonova material into it. The result is ten chapters dealing with peasants' family life, material culture (food, drink, housing, work, etc.), attitudes, and legal and political dealings. An introduction by Ransel alerts readers to the strengths and weaknesses of Semyonova's work. The book is a valuable addition to such earlier ethnographic studies as The Village of Viriatino, ed. and trans. by Sula Benet (CH, Jul'71) and to more recent scholarly works such as Christine Worobec's Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period (CH, Jun'91). Footnotes. Recommended. Undergraduate; graduate; faculty. W. G. Moss Eastern Michigan University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1993
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Main Description
Ò . . . a marvelous source for the social history of Russian peasant society in the years before the revolution. . . . The translation is superb.Ó ÑSteven Hoch Ò . . . one of the best ethnographic portraits that we have of the Russian village. . . . a highly readable text that is an excellent introduction to the world of the Russian peasantry.Ó ÑSamuel C. Ramer Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia provides a unique firsthand portrait of peasant family life as recorded by Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, an ethnographer and painter who spent four years at the turn of the twentieth century observing the life and customs of villagers in a central Russian province. Unusual in its awareness of the rapid changes in the Russian village in the late nineteenth century and in its concentration on the treatment of women and children, SemyonovaÕs ethnography vividly describes courting rituals, marriage and sexual practices, childbirth, infanticide, child-rearing practices, the lives of women, food and drink, work habits, and the household economy. In contrast to a tradition of rosy, romanticized descriptions of peasant communities by Russian upper-class observers, Semyonova gives an unvarnished account of the harsh living conditions and often brutal relationships within peasant families.
Table of Contents
Ivan's Parentsp. 1
Childbirth, Christening, Wife Beatingp. 6
Childhoodp. 22
Courtship and Sexual Relationsp. 50
Ivan Prepares for Marriagep. 62
Pledging the Bride, the Bride-Show, and Marriagep. 74
Infanticide, Emotion, Sexual Disorder, Drink and Foodp. 95
Housing, Property, Trades, Budgets, and Religious Beliefp. 116
Peasant Ideals, Work Habits, and Causes of Povertyp. 139
Court Cases and Political Structurep. 157
Appendixp. 171
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 173
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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