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Domestic Tensions, National AnxietiesGlobal Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation$
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Kristin Celello and Hanan Kholoussy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856749.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2021

Marital Choice and Marital Crisis in Late Imperial Russia

Marital Choice and Marital Crisis in Late Imperial Russia

(p.16) 1 Marital Choice and Marital Crisis in Late Imperial Russia
Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties

Barbara Alpern Engel

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks why Russian women included claims of involuntary marriage in appeals for marital separation, when such claims exerted no influence on officials of the Imperial Chancellery for Receipt of Petitions, who determined the outcome of women’s appeals. To answer, the chapter explores the ideals of romantic choice that circulated ever more widely toward the close of the nineteenth century, challenging long-standing marital practices according to which the needs of household and family took precedence over the desires of the young, women especially. By encouraging women to act upon their feelings and choose a marital partner according to their own desires, the chapter argues, romantic ideals undermined patriarchal family relations, and indirectly, the autocratic authority they buttressed. Women’s self-assertion in the private realm contributed to the perceived marriage crisis of late imperial Russia. It also reflected the growing concern with individual rights that in 1905 would contribute to revolution.

Keywords:   autocracy, Imperial Chancellery for Receipt of Petitions, individual rights, involuntary marriage, romantic ideals, patriarchy, Revolution of 1905, marital separation, Russia

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