High Society Dinners: Dining in Tsarist RussiaHardback
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- Publisher: PROSPECT BOOKS
- Format: Hardback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 165mm x 244mm x 38mm | 885g
- Publication date: 10 October 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: 1,021,265
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. Translated by Marian Schwartz (who has worked with M. Gorbachev and translated works by Tolstoy, Bulgakov and Lermontov), 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.
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Yuri Lotman (1922-1993) was a prominent Russian formalist critic, semiotician, and historian. He was the author of over 800 works.
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.