The Summer Capitals of Europe, 1814-1919

1st Edition

Marina Soroka

Published March 29, 2017
Reference - 342 Pages
ISBN 9780415792455 - CAT# Y319744
Series: Routledge Studies in Modern European History

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This book is about the European health spas of the nineteenth century: what they were, how they operated, what life was like there and how their functions evolved to the point where their original medicinal purpose was relegated to a secondary place by the unintended uses of spas as stages of social and political interactions.

These popular resorts were nicknamed ‘the summer capitals of Europe’ because of the tendency of nations’ governing classes to gather there. Every summer between 1814 and 1914 (and in a few cases during World War I) continental watering places became a microcosm of cosmopolitan aristocratic Europe, incorporating its conventions, tastes, concerns and interests. As the nineteenth century advanced, fashionable watering stations increasingly became associated with social bonding, matchmaking, pleasure, career building, conspicuous consumption and diplomatic activity that took place during the high season.

"This is an original work, meticulously researched, rich in detail, and written in a clear and – here and there – refreshingly pungent style. (...) I regard it as a first-rate contribution to the diplomatic methods of the 100 years before the First World War."

 - G.R. Berridge, Emeritus Professor of International Politics, University of Leicester

"Marina Soroka has made exceptional use of Russian manuscript sources from among imperial archives and family papers to enrich a well-grounded perspective of the European watering place as a forum for brokering national destinies and forging political careers."

- Jonathan Keates, Times Literary Supplement

"At times captivating like a novel, The Summer Capitals of Europe narrates the role of spas in the geopolitical set-up of nineteenth-century Europe."

- Corriere della Sera


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