Refining Russia: Advice Literature, Polite Culture, and Gender from Catherine to Yeltsin

Hardcover | September 15, 2001

byCatriona Kelly

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Advice literature (etiquette manuals, guides to hygiene and house management, and treatises on upbringing) enjoyed massive popularity in Russia between the late eighteenth and the late twentieth centuries. It reflected changing attitudes to appropriate behaviour in private and public, to theacquisition of possessions, and not least to national identity (for many Russians, reading how-to books was seen as a way of 'learning how to be a Westerner'). Written or translated by members of the cultural elite trying to encourage what they saw as civilized behaviour, advice literature was alsoa conduit for changing views of mass readers and of their place in society. This important and engaging book is the first systematic exploration of this hitherto neglected genre of popular printed text. It examines the evolution of advice literature from the Enlightenment to the post-Soviet era,from translations of Fenelon and Madame de Lambert in the 1760s and of Samuel Smiles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to tracts by Gogol and Tolstoi, Soviet pamphlets on 'how to be cultured', and post-Soviet guides to 'window treatments'. It draws on a huge range of sources -memoirs, 'novelised conduct books' such as Anna Karenina, parody advice literature, letters, and reviews - to examine the broader significance of how-to books, and their relationship with daily life (byt) as construct and as lived reality. The result is a book that not only makes a majorcontribution to the study of popular culture, but also throws an unexpected and revealing light on Russian history more broadly.

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From the Publisher

Advice literature (etiquette manuals, guides to hygiene and house management, and treatises on upbringing) enjoyed massive popularity in Russia between the late eighteenth and the late twentieth centuries. It reflected changing attitudes to appropriate behaviour in private and public, to theacquisition of possessions, and not least to ...

Catriona Kelly is Reader in Russian, New College, Oxford

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:484 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.18 inPublished:September 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198159870

ISBN - 13:9780198159872

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsNote on Translations and ConventionsAbbreviationsIntroductionHow to Read this Book1. Educating Tatyana, Schooling Energy: Propaganda for Manners and Moral Education, 1760-18302. The Beauties of Byt: Household Manuals, Social Status, and National Identity, 1830-18803. Self-Help and Spending Power: Advice Literature in Late Imperial Russia4. 'The Personal Does Not Exist': Advising the Early Soviet Mass Reader, 1917-19535. Negotiating Consumerism: The Dilemmas of Behaviour Literature, 1953-2000AfterwordAppendicesSelect BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

an impressive piece of scholarship. The author's use of text and context as the framework by which to illuminate women's writing is both intriguing and generally effective. - Susan M. Vorderer Harvard Ukrainian Studies 18 (3/4)