Cover image for Village life in late tsarist Russia
Title:
Village life in late tsarist Russia
Author:
Semenova-Ti͡an-Shanskai͡a, O. P. (Olʹga Petrovna), 1863-1906.
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [1993]

©1993
Physical Description:
xxx, 175 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Translated from Russian.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1200 Lexile.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780253347978

9780253207845
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HN523 .S46 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Ò . . . a marvelous source for the social history of Russian peasant society in the years before the revolution. . . . The translation is superb.Ó ÑSteven Hoch Ò . . . one of the best ethnographic portraits that we have of the Russian village. . . . a highly readable text that is an excellent introduction to the world of the Russian peasantry.Ó ÑSamuel C. Ramer Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia provides a unique firsthand portrait of peasant family life as recorded by Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, an ethnographer and painter who spent four years at the turn of the twentieth century observing the life and customs of villagers in a central Russian province. Unusual in its awareness of the rapid changes in the Russian village in the late nineteenth century and in its concentration on the treatment of women and children, SemyonovaÕs ethnography vividly describes courting rituals, marriage and sexual practices, childbirth, infanticide, child-rearing practices, the lives of women, food and drink, work habits, and the household economy. In contrast to a tradition of rosy, romanticized descriptions of peasant communities by Russian upper-class observers, Semyonova gives an unvarnished account of the harsh living conditions and often brutal relationships within peasant families.


Summary

... a marvelous source for the social history of Russian peasant society in the years before the revolution.... The translation is superb." --Steven Hoch

... one of the best ethnographic portraits that we have of the Russian village.... a highly readable text that is an excellent introduction to the world of the Russian peasantry." --Samuel C. Ramer

Village Life in Late Tsarist Russia provides a unique firsthand portrait of peasant family life as recorded by Olga Semyonova Tian-Shanskaia, an ethnographer and painter who spent four years at the turn of the twentieth century observing the life and customs of villagers in a central Russian province. Unusual in its awareness of the rapid changes in the Russian village in the late nineteenth century and in its concentration on the treatment of women and children, Semyonova's ethnography vividly describes courting rituals, marriage and sexual practices, childbirth, infanticide, child-rearing practices, the lives of women, food and drink, work habits, and the household economy. In contrast to a tradition of rosy, romanticized descriptions of peasant communities by Russian upper-class observers, Semyonova gives an unvarnished account of the harsh living conditions and often brutal relationships within peasant families.


Author Notes

Michael Levine spent a total of 25 years working undercover for four federal agencies. As an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration for 23 years, Levine would ultimately bring about the arrests of approximately 3,000 criminals, by posing as priests, Colombian and Puerto Rican drug merchants, and a mob leader. In this manner, he was able to corral millions of drug money dollars.

As a Jew growing up in a Hispanic neighborhood in South Bronx, New York City, Levine grew up pretending to be Puerto Rican and speaking fluent Spanish. Despite a couple of pre-adulthood arrests, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Later came marriage and the earning of an accounting degree at Hofstra University, an education financed through tending bar and playing saxophone. After graduation, he moved to the U.S. Treasury Department; this was followed by a stint in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Michael Levine survived impersonating drug dealers but he also faced the drug wars at home. He tried to get his brother David to kick the heroin habit by having him move into his home with Levine, his wife, and his family, but David would later commit suicide. Levine's daughter faced drug trouble as well. She was removed from the family through a court petition, but she later rejoined them.

Michael Levine has chronicled life as a federal agent in such books as Deep Cover. He enjoys walks with his wife Laura Kavanu and dog in Ulster County, N.Y.

(Bowker Author Biography)


DAVID L. RANSEL is Professor of History at Indiana University and editor of the American Historical Review. He is author of Mothers of Misery: Child Abandonment in Russia and editor of The Family in Imperial Russia: New Lines of Historical Research.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

An excellent and readable ethnographic study based primarily on the personal observations and questions of the author, mainly from 1898 to 1902, in villages in the southwestern corner of Riazan province. In 1914, a posthumous work on peasant life resulted from Semyonova's earlier observations. The book reviewed here is chiefly a translation of this earlier work, although Ransel has rearranged portions of it and inserted other Semyonova material into it. The result is ten chapters dealing with peasants' family life, material culture (food, drink, housing, work, etc.), attitudes, and legal and political dealings. An introduction by Ransel alerts readers to the strengths and weaknesses of Semyonova's work. The book is a valuable addition to such earlier ethnographic studies as The Village of Viriatino, ed. and trans. by Sula Benet (CH, Jul'71) and to more recent scholarly works such as Christine Worobec's Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period (CH, Jun'91). Footnotes. Recommended. Undergraduate; graduate; faculty. W. G. Moss Eastern Michigan University


Choice Review

An excellent and readable ethnographic study based primarily on the personal observations and questions of the author, mainly from 1898 to 1902, in villages in the southwestern corner of Riazan province. In 1914, a posthumous work on peasant life resulted from Semyonova's earlier observations. The book reviewed here is chiefly a translation of this earlier work, although Ransel has rearranged portions of it and inserted other Semyonova material into it. The result is ten chapters dealing with peasants' family life, material culture (food, drink, housing, work, etc.), attitudes, and legal and political dealings. An introduction by Ransel alerts readers to the strengths and weaknesses of Semyonova's work. The book is a valuable addition to such earlier ethnographic studies as The Village of Viriatino, ed. and trans. by Sula Benet (CH, Jul'71) and to more recent scholarly works such as Christine Worobec's Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period (CH, Jun'91). Footnotes. Recommended. Undergraduate; graduate; faculty. W. G. Moss Eastern Michigan University


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