The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-siècle Russia

Cornell University Press, 1994 - 461 頁

The revolution of 1905 challenged not only the social and political structures of imperial Russia but the sexual order as well. Throughout the decade that followed-in the salons of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, on the pages of popular romances, in the staid assemblies of physicians, psychiatrists, and legal men--the talk everywhere was of sex. This eagerly awaited book, echoing the title of a pre-World War I bestseller, The Keys to Happiness, marks the first serious attempt to understand the intense public interest in sexuality as a vital dimension of late tsarist political culture. Drawing on a strong foundation of historical sources--from medical treatises and legal codes to anti-Semitic pamphlets, commercial fiction, newspaper advertisements, and serious literature--Laura Engelstein shows how Western ideas and attitudes toward sex and gender were transformed in the Russian context as imported views on prostitution, venereal disease, homosexuality, masturbation, abortion, and other themes took on distinctively Russian hues. Engelstein divides her study into two parts, the first focusing on the period from the Great Reforms to 1905 and on the two professional disciplines most central to the shaping of a modern sexual discourse in Russia: law and medicine. The second part describes the complicated sexual preoccupations that accompanied the mobilization leading up to 1905, the revolution itself, and the aftermath of continued social agitation and intensified intellectual doubt. In chapters of astonishing richness, the author follows the sexual theme through the twists of professional and civic debate and in the surprising links between high and low culture up to the eve of the First World War. Throughout, Engelstein uses her findings to rethink the conventional wisdom about the political and cultural history of modern Russia. She maps out new approaches to the history of sexuality, and shows, brilliantly, how the study of attitudes toward sex and gender can help us to grasp the most fundamental political issues in any society.


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The keys to happiness: sex and the search for modernity in fin-de-siècle Russia

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Drawing on printed sources, principally legal and medical records and avant-garde and boulevard literature, Engelstein (history, Princeton Univ.) discusses attitudes toward sexuality and gender in ... 閱讀評論全文


Family Relations
Sodomy Prostitution
Power and Crime in the Domestic Order
Female Sexual Deviance and the Western Medical Model
Syphilis Social Class
The Problem of Male Desire
End of Innocence and Loss of Control
Vasilii Rozanovs Patriarchal
Abortion and the New Woman
Literary Sex

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關於作者 (1994)

Laura Engelstein is Henry S. McNeil Professor of History at Yale University. She is author of Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom: A Russian Folktale and coeditor, with Stephanie Sandler, of Self and Story in Russian History, both from Cornell.