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Parlor and Kitchen
Housing and Domestic Culture in Budapest, 1870-1940

Gábor Gyáni, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

"This translation of Gyáni's work is a welcome study of domestic space, providing as it does a central European point of comparison and is one which should inspire further research on the topic." - Urban History

"Gyáni's immense undertaking provides a unique picture of the development of Budapest as a thriving city, with dynamic upper-class grandeur as well as simple working-class and peasant living; ... a work that is that is sure to be the definitive book of statistics on and description of Budapest's incredible ascent as a major European city. Gyáni makes excellent use of statistics and archival resources and gives much credit to Péter Hanák, whose work on the history of Budapest was the impetus for this urban and sociological study." - Slavic and East European Journal

"Like a genial real estate agent, Gábor Gyáni escorts the reader from the grand ten-room apartment to the one-room bedroom-kitchen, all the while gossiping about the previous owners, the cost of furnishing, the choice of décor, the use of space, and the mannered interactions in the courtyard and hanging corridors... The reader cannot but be impressed with the diligence, inventiveness, and fulsomness with which the author has marshaled his detail. The book is also easy reading. The translation is good, flowing English. The book's rich description will be useful to anyone trying to create a picture of everyday urban life in Budapest from 1870-1940." - Austrian Studies Newsletter

"...a far-ranging survey of housing in Budapest from the late ninteenth century to the start of World War II..., the present work stands out for its wide chronological sweep, its solid archival foundation, and its frequent reference to German- and English-language historiography." - Austrian History Yearbook

Besides Berlin, Budapest was the fastest-growing capital city in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Parlor and Kitchen, the work of a microhistorian and historical anthropologist, describes the development of private spaces in this newly emerged metropolis.

Author Gábor Gyáni has chosen two distinct groups of contemporary society: the upper middle class and the working class, to present their homes, domestic culture and attitudes. At the same time the book offers a panoramic view of the everyday life of the entire society, on social segregation and mobility. Behind the visual details the author reveals a great deal about the value systems of the groups of society investigated.

Reconstructing minute details as well as case studies, the author has relied on archival sources, private documents, and statistical data. The text is accompanied by contemporary photographs, maps and blueprints.

This enlightening and interesting volume will be of interest not only to historians, anthropologists and sociologists, but also to the general reader with an interest in urban history.

Gábor Gyáni is founder and editor of the quarterly Budapest Review of Books. He is President of the Hungarian-American Historians' Committee and Secretary of the Urban History Workshop of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

A student of the late professor Péter Hanák, Gyáni is active in research into the urban and social history of modern Hungary and the theory and methodology of history writing.


I. City planning and urbanisation in Budapest on the turn of the century II. A sanctuary of privacy: the bourgeois home in Budapest in the 19th and 20th centuries III. Private space in a community. The Budapest working-class apartment in the 19th and 20th centuries

220 pages, with numerous photos
ISBN978-963-9241-27-5 cloth $45.95 / €42.95 / Ł37.00