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Dacha IdyllsLiving Organically in Russia's Countryside$
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Melissa Caldwell

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262843

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262843.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 May 2022

The Pleasure of Pain

The Pleasure of Pain

Gardening for the Soul

(p.48) CHAPTER 3 The Pleasure of Pain
Dacha Idylls

Melissa L. Caldwell

University of California Press

This chapter addresses why Russians engage in unpleasant, labor-intensive, and increasingly expensive activities, such as gardening and provisioning, while claiming that they derive deep personal, and often spiritual or soulful, satisfaction from them. The value of individualized experiences for overcoming the apparent miseries of dacha life was made apparent in Valentina Uspenskaia's response. Valentina's invocation of soulfulness clarifies an important detail about the ways in which seemingly paradoxical qualities of misery, hardship, contentedness, and even pleasure can coexist. The pleasures of the simple life extend beyond the immediate confines of the dacha cottage and its garden, and into the surrounding meadows and forests, as residents in dacha communities find numerous ways to pass the lazy days of summer. Furthermore, the chapter emphasizes the overlapping and multiply transecting elements and dimensions of temporality, place, work, leisure, pleasure, and suffering that are immanent in the organic life.

Keywords:   dacha, gardening, provisioning, Valentina Uspenskaia, misery, hardship, contentedness, pleasure, leisure, suffering

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