The Pleasure of Pain

Melissa L. Caldwell

in Dacha Idylls

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262843
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947870 | DOI:
The Pleasure of Pain

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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

Chapter.  11289 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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