Health and sociability : the cultural significance of the resort in nineteenth-century Russia
This thesis considers the subject of resorts in nineteenth-century Russia, focussing, in particular, on the three resorts of Lipetsk, Kavkazskie Mineral'nye Vody and Yalta. It considers their historical development and the role that they played in Russian culture as a whole. It shows how resorts were, at once, important phenomena in themselves and also provoked contemporaries to contemplate broader social, political and philosophical issues. It considers how the image of the resort was constructed and disseminated in contemporary texts, including guidebooks, travelogues, newspaper articles, novels and poems. It examines how the state maintained an interest in the empire's resorts from an early date, and how, for the population as a whole, resorts were an important barometer of national success and failure. It explores, in detail, resorts' role as centres for medical treatment and palliative care, as well as their role as leisure towns, and shows how these two functions interacted and conflicted. It scrutinizes the various forms that resort leisure took in the nineteenth century, trying to understand how moral pressures and recreational desires interrelated. The thesis also investigates, in detail, the social and class background of visitors to Russian resorts. It shows how resorts' clientele changed over time, and particularly in the period after the Great Reforms, and suggests that, by the end of the nineteenth century, many visitors can be described as middle-class. Throughout, this thesis insists on a European context for Russian resorts, showing how, not only in their genesis, but also in their continuing development and in the meanings that were attributed to them, Russian resorts had much in common with their European counterparts.