High Society Dinners: Dining in Tsarist Russia

High Society Dinners: Dining in Tsarist Russia

Hardback

By (author) Yuri Lotman, By (author) Jelena Pogosjan, Edited by Darra Goldstein, Translated by Marian Schwartz

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  • Publisher: PROSPECT BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 165mm x 244mm x 38mm | 885g
  • Publication date: 30 June 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Blackawton
  • ISBN 10: 1903018986
  • ISBN 13: 9781903018989
  • Edition: Annotated
  • Edition statement: annotated edition
  • Illustrations note: 25 colour and b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 710,630

Product description

High Society Dinners offers extraordinary insight into the domestic arrangements of the Russian aristocracy, presenting nine months' worth of menus served in St Petersburg to the guests of Petr Durnovo (1835 - 1918), Adjutant-General of the Tsar's Imperial Suite, part of an important late-19th-century dynasty that included ministers and high officials. The menus themselves would be useful enough for what they reveal about culinary culture in Russia, but Yuri Lotman's commentary is invaluable, dissecting the dining rituals and the social circles of the participants. Durnovo's menus and guest lists, interspersed with extracts from family letters and the leading newspapers and journals of the day, set in context the domestic and gastronomic underpinnings of life in this group at the heart of the Russian empire. The Russian has been finely translated by Marian Schwartz (who has worked with M. Gorbachev and translated works by Tolstoy, Bulgakov and Lermontov), and the book as a whole is annotated and introduced by Darra Goldstein, Founding Editor of Gastronomica and Willcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit Professor of Russian at Williams College. The book is illustrated with paintings and photographs that give a sense of the high society milieu in mid-nineteenth-century Russia. This publication has been grant-aided by the Prokhorov Foundation's Transcript programme. Yuri Lotman (1922 - 1993) was a prominent Russian formalist critic, semiotician, and cultural historian. He was author of more than 800 works. Jelena Pogosjan is a professor of Russian at the University of Alberta in Canada.

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Author information

Yuri Lotman (1922-1993) was a prominent Russian formalist critic, semiotician, and culturologist and a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The founder of structural semiotics in culturology, he is considered the first Soviet structuralist based on his book On the Delimitation of Linguistic and Philological Concepts of Structure (1963). He began his teaching career in 1954 at Tartu University, where he founded the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School, whose members collectively established a theoretical framework for the semiotics of culture. The number of his printed works exceeds 800 titles and the archive of his letters, which includes his correspondence with a number of Russian intellectuals, is immense. Jelena Pogosjan is a professor of Russian language, literature and culture in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her areas of specialization are the official culture of the Russian Empire in the eighteenth century; the history of the Russian Imperial calendar; M. Lomonosov; and themes and poetics of the Russian ode. She has previously held academic positions in the Department of Russian and Slavic Philology, Tartu University, Estonia, 1987-2002; and the Institute of World Cultures, Moscow State University, 1993-2000. Marian Schwartz is a prize-winning translator of Russian fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as The Poet's Journey: Conversations with Joseph Brodsky, by Solomon Volkov. Her most recent book translations are Olga Slavnikova's novel 2017 (Overlook Press) and two Russian classics: Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard (Yale University Press), which won the 2009 AATSEEL Award for Best Translation into English, and Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov (Seven Stories Press), both of which have been published in paperback by Yale University Press. Schwartz is the recipient of two translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association. Darra Goldstein is Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Russian at Williams College and Founding Editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. Since earning her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, she has published numerous books and articles on Russian literature, culture, art, and cuisine, and has organized several exhibitions, including Graphic Design in the Mechanical Age and Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005, at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, with catalogues published, respectively, by Yale University Press and Assouline. She is also the author of four cookbooks: A Taste of Russia (nominated for a Tastemaker Award), The Georgian Feast (winner of the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award for Cookbook of the Year), The Winter Vegetarian, and Baking Boot Camp at the CIA (IACP award finalist). She has consulted for the Council of Europe as part of an international group exploring ways in which food can be used to promote tolerance and diversity, and under her editorship the volume Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue was published in 2005 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the European Cultural Convention. Goldstein has also consulted for the Russian Tea Room and Firebird restaurants in New York and served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She is currently Food Editor of Russian Life magazine and the series editor of California Studies in Food and Culture (University of California Press), a book series that seeks to broaden the audience for serious scholarship in food studies and to celebrate food as a means of understanding the world.

Table of contents

Introduction by Darra Goldstein. Foreword. 'From Kitchen to Drawing Room', a cultural analysis of nineteenth-century dining and dining ritual by Yuri Lotman and Elena Pogosjan. 'Chez Peter Pavlovich Durnovo': a set of menus (complete with annotations for the dishes, shopping lists, and expense accounts) and guest lists from the Durnovo family archives interspersed with family correspondence, family diaries, calendars of cultural events.