Could anyone explain what it really means in War and Peace? Is it a position in the govenment?

Part III, ch 1

With Pierre at hand in Moscow, Prince Vasily secured him an appointment as gentleman of the bedchamber, a position which put him on the same footing as a state councillor,1 and he insisted that the young man travel with him to Petersburg and stay at his house. Quite inadvertently, it seemed, though with absolute certainty that he was doing the right thing, Prince Vasily did everything to ensure that Pierre would marry his daughter.


1 Answer 1


Original text is:

Пьер был у него под рукою в Москве, и князь Василий устроил для него назначение в камер-юнкеры, что тогда равнялось чину статского советника, и настоял на том, чтобы молодой человек с ним вместе ехал в Петербург и остановился в его доме. Как будто рассеянно и вместе с тем с несомненною уверенностью, что так должно быть, князь Василий делал все, что было нужно для того, чтобы женить Пьера на своей дочери. (src)

The title of "Камер-юнкер" at the time was a position in the court (not sure if you'd consider that "government" or not), somewhat similar to Western one of "Valet de chambre"; the position is below that of Chamberlain (Камергер). The linguistic origin of the term is probably Germanic "Kammerjunker" - which Google apparently thinks is a name of Danish dessert :P

However, please note that a page discussing the position very explicitly mentions that since start of 19th century, it was more honorary than actual service-oriented (e.g. did not imply specific court duties), as the original one was; that page explicitly lists War and Peace as example of this. The source is "Что непонятно у классиков, или Энциклопедия русского быта XIX века. Ю. А. Федосюк. 1989" - Encyclopedia of Russian Domestic Life by Fedosyuk, 1989.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.