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By Stephen Frank, Stephen Frank, Mark D. Steinberg

The preferred tradition of city and rural tsarist Russia printed a dynamic and stricken international. Stephen Frank and Mark Steinberg have amassed the following a various selection of essays by means of Western and Russian students who query traditional interpretations and keep in mind overlooked tales approximately well known habit, politics, and tradition. What emerges is a brand new photo of lower-class existence, within which traditions and strategies intermingled and social obstacles and identities have been battered and reconstructed. The authors vividly express the energy in addition to the contradictions of social lifestyles in outdated regime Russia, whereas additionally confronting difficulties of interpretation, method, and cultural thought. They inform of peasant demise rites and non secular ideals, relations relationships and brutalities, defiant peasant ladies, people songs, city enjoyment parks, expressions of renowned patriotism, the penny press, staff' notions of the self, highway hooliganism, and makes an attempt through expert Russians to remodel well known festivities. jointly, the authors painting pop culture no longer as a static, separate international, yet because the dynamic ability wherein lower-class Russians engaged the realm round them. as well as the editors, the participants to this quantity are Daniel R. Brower, Barbara Alpern Engel, Hubertus F. Jahn, Al'bin M. Konechnyi, Boris N. Mironov, Joan Neuberger, Robert A. Rothstein, and Christine D. Worobec.

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M. Gromyko and T. A. Listova (Moscow, 1989), 7–9. 38 BARBARA ALPERN ENGEL their husbands and fathers. Only under unusual circumstances did women serve as heads of households, and never did they serve as village elders. In the overwhelming majority of villages, women were barred from participating in the assembly (skhod) that governed community affairs such as the allocation of land and taxes. Moreover, women lacked direct access to the land that was so often the cause of confrontations with outside authorities.

Wilbur, “Peasant Poverty in Theory and Practice: A View from Russia’s ‘Impoverished Center’ at the End of the Nineteenth Century”; and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, “Crises and the Condition of the Peasantry in Late Imperial Russia,” in Peasant Economy, Culture, and Politics of European Russia, 1800–1921, ed. Esther Kingston-Mann and Timothy Mixter (Princeton, 1991), 101–27, 128–72. 4 Wheatcroft, “Crises,” 169–70; Jeffrey Burds, “The Social Control of Peasant Labor in Russia: The Response of Village Communities to Labor Migration in the Central Industrial Region,” in Kingston-Mann and Mixter, Peasant Economy, 75–76.

Peasants could explain these visitations as manifestations of the deceased’s jealousy, anger at a living relative for not fulfilling his or her last wishes, or longing for the world of the living. Illnesses were traditionally considered to be the work of witches and sorcerers; it was only a short extension for peasants to assume that the corpses of evil-minded persons were sometimes responsible for cholera or smallpox epidemics. During the cholera epidemics of the mid-nineteenth century, Russian peasants in some places believed that the first cholera victim was a vampire.

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