This translation is directed at the general reader as well as at schol- ars and students of Russian history, peasant studies, or serfdom. Wherever possible the translation provides bibliographic notes, references, and suggested further reading on the events, individual persons, places, and things mentioned in the memoirs. Reference notes contain basic facts regarding events, places, or people in order to help the general reader with the historical setting The fur- ther reading suggested in the references will help students and scholars with additional historical investigation.
The translation assumes that most readers do not read Russian. In most instances I have therefore used the English equivalents for Russian terms, which follow immediately in parentheses. In most cases I have used the standard Library of Congress method for the transliteration of the Russian spellings of Russian given names, patronymics (middle names), and surnames. Customarily, in Rus- sia people have three names: the given (first) name, the middle name (patronymic), and the surname (family name). For example, the autobiographer’s full name is Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii. The Russian middle name (patronymic) is derived from the father’s given name. Along with the person’s given name, the patronymic is used as a polite or formal form of address. In his memoir, Pur- levskii often uses patronymics. In a few cases, the memoirist wrote only first initials when he wanted to conceal a person’s full name. In these instances, where it was possible to identify the mentioned individuals, I have provided their full names in the notes. The names of certain historical figures, such as Catherine the Great, are