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Enlightened MetropolisConstructing Imperial Moscow, 1762-1855$
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Alexander M. Martin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605781

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605781.001.0001

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Barbarism, Civility, Luxury

Barbarism, Civility, Luxury

Writing about Moscow in the 1790s–1820s

(p.97) 4 Barbarism, Civility, Luxury
Enlightened Metropolis

Alexander M. Martin

Oxford University Press

Chapter Four examines the development of images of Moscow in prose literature from the 1790s to the 1820s. First the chapter examines the Western- (especially German-) language literature, with an emphasis the urban tableau (a genre modelled after Louis-Sebastien Mercier’s Tableau de Paris), socioeconomic analyses inspired by Adam Smith, medical topography, and travelogues. This literature raised questions that became a long-term part of the European discourse about Russia, such as whether Russia was an enlightened country and was part of Europe or Asia. The chapter then discusses Russian authors, particularly Nikolai Karamzin, Sergei Glinka, Konstantin Batiushkov, and Aleksei Malinovskii. Their focus was on the moral implications of urban development. Did the spread of refined lifestyles from the elites to wider social strata foster civility or corrupt popular morals? Did the contact between commoners, elites, and foreigners that the city facilitated encourage an enlightened patriotism or a civically unhealthy cosmopolitanism?

Keywords:   cameralism, luxury debate, medical topography, urban tableau, political economy, travel writers, sentimentalism, foreign writers about Russia

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