Nests of the Gentry: Family, Estate, and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia

Nests of the Gentry: Family, Estate, and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia

Nests of the Gentry: Family, Estate, and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia

Nests of the Gentry: Family, Estate, and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia

Synopsis

"This study establishes the deep loyalty of a segment of the Russian gentry to life in the provinces during the period 1820-1860, centering on the family but extending to estates, peasants, and neighborhood society. Arguing against the previously accepted position that the Russian gentry cared only for the capitals, this book examines the cultural identity of the provincial nobility, focusing on the province of Tver'." "This book is based on library and archival materials gathered in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tver', and Helsinki, including family letters, documents of legal proceedings, property divisions and wills, the local newspaper, agronomic publications, and memoirs. The choice of a particular province stems from the necessity of a local focus in seeking provincial identity. It is precisely the tendency to generalize, on the basis of widely scattered holdings across the diverse empire as a whole, that has generated misunderstandings of provincial society. The conclusions, although drawn from a particular locality, redirect scholarly debates about noble family life, its connections to politics, serfdom and proprietorship, and civil society. The book has implications for the field of Russian history, in particular for the discussion of the origins of civil society and the roles of the nobility and the state in the imperial era. This exploration of the cultural values of the provincial nobility also has implications for the broader study of the nobility in Europe."
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