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Working paper

INVESTIGATING MODERNITY THROUGH THE LENS OF A RECREATION VENUE: PLEASURE GARDENS IN LATE IMPERIAL ST. PETERSBURG AND MOSCOW

This article investigates modernity through a study of pleasure gardens in St. Petersburg and Moscow in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century. Russian pleasure gardens, being mere imitations of the English venues, reflect how western ideas connected to entertainment were modified, enriched with local features and used for wider purposes. This study argues that pleasure gardens were translators of developing mass culture, facilities for testing the new technology and leisure practices, and also indicators of cultural changes, which were experienced by an urban population on the cusp of modern Russia.