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Nests of the Gentry: Family Estate, and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia
This study establishes the deep loyalty of a segment of the Russian gentry to life in the provinces during the period 1820-1860, centering on the family but extending to estates, peasants, and neighborhood society. The book examines the cultural identity of the provincial nobility, focusing on the province of Tver'. It begins with those relationships closest to home, that is, with the family on the estate. It then proceeds outward, spatially from the estate house, and spiritually in an examination of the loyalties and attachments of the provincial gentry. The argument moves from the family and home to the serfs of the estate and to understandings of estate management as state service, that is, to the public role of the individual nobleman. Finally, the book examines group loyalties and ways in which members of the genry imagined their collective identity and the role of the soslovie, or estate, as a whole. Mary W. Cavender is Assistant Professor of History at the Ohio State University.