A Life under Russian Serfdom: Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-1868

A Life under Russian Serfdom: Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-1868

A Life under Russian Serfdom: Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-1868

A Life under Russian Serfdom: Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, 1800-1868

Synopsis

"This memoir provides readers with a glimpse of the life of a Russian serf, Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii. He was born in 1800 in Velikoe, in a serf village in Yaroslavl' province of central Russia. At the age of thirty, he escaped from serfdom by fleeing to the south. He wrote his memoirs shortly before his death in 1868. Savva Purlevskii recollects his life in Russian serfdom and the life of his grandparents, parents, and fellow villagers. He describes family and communal life and the serfs' daily interaction with landlords and authorities. Gorshkov's introduction provides some basic knowledge about Russian serfdom and draws upon the most recent scholarship. Notes provide references and general information about events, places and people mentioned in the memoirs." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii, a former serf from Yaroslavl’ prov- ince, wrote his memoirs shortly before his death in 1868. The liter- ary and political journal Russkii vestnik (Russian messenger) pub- lished them in 1877. Their publication epitomized the intellectual interest in the life of common people during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this era several serf memoirs ap- peared in Russian literary journals or were published as books. But Purlevskii’s memoirs stand somewhat apart. Unlike most ex- serf memoirists, such as the famous Aleksander Vasil’evich Niki- tenko who gained freedom from serfdom at the age of eighteen and became a distinguished statesman and academician, Purlevskii

“Vospominaniia krepostnago, 1800–1868,” Russkii vestnik: Zhurnal literaturnyi I politicheskii 130 (July 1877), 321–47, and ibid. 130 (Septem- ber 1877), 34–67.

During this time the Russian literary journal Russkaia starina (Russian antiquity) published a series of ex-serf memoirs; among them were the diaries of A. V. Nikitenko, recently translated with a fine intro- duction by Peter Kolchin. See Aleksandr Nikitenko, Up from Serfdom: My Childhood and Youth in Russia, 1804–1824, transl., Helen Saltz Jakobson, intro. by Peter Kolchin (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001). Others were “Istoriia moei zhizni I moikh stranstvii: Rasskaz by- vshago krepostnago krest’ianina N. N. Shipova, 1802–1862,” Russkaia starina 30 (1881); “Vospominaniia krepostnago,” Russkii arkhiv 6 (1898); and M. E. Vasilieva, “Zapiski krepostnoi,” Russkaia starina 145 (1911). Vasilieva’s memoirs are also available in English: see “Notes of a Serf Woman,” transl. John MacKay, Slavery and Abolition 22 (April 2000).

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