Investigating Modernity Through the Lens of a Recreation Venue: Pleasure Gardens in Late Imperial St. Petersburg and Moscow

Svetlana Ryabova


This article investigates aspects of modernity through a study of pleasure gardens in St. Petersburg and Moscow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 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 a developing mass culture, providing facilities for testing new technology and leisure practices, and were also indicators of cultural changes which were experienced by an urban population in the late-Imperial Russia. Svetlana Ryabova holds a Ph. D. from Moscow State University and is a Senior Lecturer in the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. She has a particular interest in social and cultural history.

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Popular Entertainment Studies ISSN 1837-9303