Reading Russian Fortunes: Print Culture, Gender and Divination in Russia from 1765

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Cambridge University Press, May 28, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 250 pages
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Reading Russian Fortunes examines the huge popularity and cultural impact of fortune-telling among urban and literate Russians from the eighteenth century to the present. Based partly on a study of the numerous editions of little fortune-telling books, especially those devoted to dream interpretation, it documents and analyses the social history of fortune-telling in terms of class and gender, at the same time considering the function of both amateur and professional fortune-telling in a literate modernizing society. Chapters are devoted to professional fortune-tellers and their clients, and to the publishers of the books. An analysis of the relationship between urban fortune-telling and traditional oral culture, where divination played a very significant role, leads on to a discussion of the underlying reasons for the persistence of fortune-telling in modern Russian society.
 

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Contents

Dreambooks and other fortunetelling guides
11
Divination in Russian traditional culture
46
Readers and detractors
65
Printers and publishers
88
Women men and domestic fortunetelling
109
Fortunetellers and their clientele
127
Sages and prophets
145
Disappearance and revival
165
Conclusion
184
Notes
192
Select bibliography
225
Index
245
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