Parlor and Kitchen

Housing and Domestic Culture in Budapest, 1870-1940
Author: 
ISBN: 
978-963-9241-27-5
cloth
$65.00 / €53.00 / £47.00
Publication date: 
2002
220 pages

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. 

List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Preface

INTRODUCTION

Chapter 1
CONSTRUCTION AND URBANIZATION IN BUDAPEST AT THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
The Economic and Social Conditions for Metropolitan Development
The Board of Works as the Engine of Metropolitan Development
Building Cycles, Investors, House-Owners

Chapter 2
PRIVATE REFUGE—DOMESTIC LIFE IN BUDAPEST IN THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES
The Pest Apartment Block and Its Inhabitants
Palaces on the Outside, Middle-Class Homes Within
The Inhabitants of a Lipótváros Apartment Building
Use of Domestic Space and Lifestyles Patterns
The Rules of Social Contact
Modernizing Social Contact—the Telephone in the Home
Tenants on the Move—Housing Mobility
Middle-Class Homes and Interiors in Nineteenth-Century Budapest
The Inventory as Source Material for a Study of Domestic Culture
Flats and Their Residents
Rooms and Interiors
Furnishings and Apartment Structure: Mirror of Values
The Middle-Class Home as a Feminine Realm: Social Life and the Drawing Room
Books in Middle-Class Homes
The Home as Cultural Code of Identity
Middle-Class Housing Conditions between the Two Wars
The Middle-Class Crash
Types and Sizes of Houses
The Social Determinants of the ‘Housing Classes’
Home Comforts
‘Middle-Class’ Tenants in Space
Lodgers and Servants in Middle-Class Households
Housing Costs
The Interiors of Smaller Middle-Class Apartments

Chapter 3
PRIVATE SPACE IN THE COMMUNITY. THE BUDAPEST WORKING-CLASS FLAT IN THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES
Housing Conditions: Overcrowding, Lodgers and Bed-Tenants under the Dual Monarchy
Tenancy: Legal Aspects and Practices
Interiors and Interior Design
A Dramatic Housing Shortage during the Rent Control Period
Tabán: Village in the City
The Pariahs of the Slums
The Working-Class Home, Inside and Out
Crowded Flats and Working-Class Families
Rent and Eviction

EPILOGUE

NOTES
INDEX

"...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."
"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."
"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."
"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."