A Russian Merchant's Tale: The Life and Adventures of Ivan Alekseevich TolchŽnov, Based on His Diary

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Indiana University Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
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Based on the rare diary of an 18th-century Russian provincial merchant, A Russian Merchant's Tale presents a revealing portrait of Russia's little-known commercial class. By recording his daily contacts with a wide array of individuals from lords to laborers for more than 40 years, Ivan Alekseevich Tolch nov opened a window onto the education, work, birth, death, marriage, business, civic, holiday, and religious practices of a social group about which little has been known. Using the tools of microhistory to interpret the diary, David L. Ransel vividly brings to life Tolch nov's self-construction, his relations with family and society, and his entire world of aspirations, achievements, and failures. Challenging prevailing stereotypes of Russian merchants as tradition-bound and narrow-minded, A Russian Merchant's Tale offers important new insights into the social history of imperial Russia.

 

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Contents

1 The Setting Education Youth and Marriage
1
2 Local Politics during Ivans Youth
24
Merchant Life in Dmitrov
46
4 Young Paterfamilias
73
5 Leading Citizen
107
6 Eminent Trickster
152
7 Moscow Townsman
190
8 A New Equilibrium
223
Conclusion
252
Genealogical Table for the Family of Boris TolchŽnov
257
Notes
263
Bibliography
291
Index
305
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About the author (2009)

David L. Ransel is Robert F. Byrnes Professor of History and Director of the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Village Mothers: Three Generations of Change in Russia and Tataria (IUP, 2005) and editor (with Jane Burbank) of Imperial Russia: New Histories for the Empire (IUP, 1998).

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