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Balkan SmokeTobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria$
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Mary C. Neuburger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450846

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450846.001.0001

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Coffeehouse Babble

Coffeehouse Babble

Smoking and Sociability in the Long Nineteenth Century

(p.11) Chapter 1 Coffeehouse Babble
Balkan Smoke

Mary C. Neuburger

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores how tobacco became intertwined with sociability in Bulgaria's long nineteenth century and its connection to the life and times of the kafene (coffeehouse). Slavic-speaking Christian, or “Bulgarian,” men had traditionally gathered in the alcohol-imbibed krŭchma (tavern), but over the course of the century they began to enter the “sober” social life of the kafene. This chapter first provides an overview of the history of nineteenth-century Bulgarian smoking, with particular emphasis on the Ottoman origins of the coffeehouse and how smoking and coffeehouse culture entered into seventeenth-century Ottoman practice. It then considers how smoking and sipping coffee in the kafene (and later in the European café) became intimately connected to Bulgarian upward mobility; to their increased authority in Ottoman villages, towns, and cities; and for many, to a national and political awakening. The chapter also looks at the emergence of the antismoking movement in Bulgaria.

Keywords:   tobacco, Bulgaria, kafene, krŭchma, smoking, coffeehouse, coffeehouse culture, upward mobility, antismoking movement, sociability

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