Words of the World is a fun, diverse series of engaging conversations with academics from the UK’s University of Nottingham. The word of the day is samovar: the ornate, Grecian-looking tea making implement used in 19th century Russia. They’re always cropping up in Dostoevsky’s novels – even his wretched “Underground Man” owns one; it’s clearly a point of pride for him. As I’m currently soldiering through Brothers Karamazov, I wanted to learn more about these fixtures of the 19th century Russian drawing room. Professor Cynthia Marsh fits the bill perfectly, candidly discussing the use, history, and significance of the samovar in Russian society. Meaning that the next time you see Chekhov on stage, or sample a flight of vodkas at Austin’s Russian House, you’ll know what that strange metal urn with the spigot is doing, up in its hallowed corner of the room.
This review originally appeared in the Austin School of Film’s recommendations blog, MIX/VHS. Check out the full post here!