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The Enchanted Wanderer: And Other Stories
 
 
Author
Nikolai Leskov. Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, trans.
Publisher Vintage  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780307388872
Pages/Publication Date 575/2014
Daedalus Item Code 49194
List Price: $17.95
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Description
Though he began his writing career as a journalist in Kiev and St. Petersburg, and was himself well-educated and widely traveled, Nikolai Leskov (1831–1895) was most inspired by the customs and oral folklore of peasant communities across Russia. His rich and pungent stories, full of the mythical and the untamed, were written in the voices of storytellers before an audience—a literary style that Leskov pioneered—and he was held in high esteem by such masters as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorky. Two-time PEN/BOMC Translation Prize winners Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky give us faithful and flavorful translations (with notes) of 17 stories and novellas by Leskov, including such masterpieces as "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," "The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea," and the title story about a reluctant monk.

"Russians have revered Nikolai Leskov's artistry for over a century, but he is little known in the West because the storytelling voices from deep in the Russian heartland that he skillfully ventriloquizes in his tales are notoriously difficult to translate. Pevear and Volokhonsky's collection of Leskov's best-known works bears all the hallmarks of their previous successes—absolute faithfulness to the author's meaning and manner, ingenious finds and formulations, and fluency in English."—Vladimir Alexandrov

"While Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy produced gargantuan novels that put Russia on the world literary map, Leskov thrived with short fiction, achieving similar renown only with (and because Shostakovich made an opera of it) the chilling 'The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.' Pevear and Volokhonsky, whose versions of the big novels have set a new standard for translation from Russian, reinvigorate Leskov in sharp, plain, vitally annotated versions of 17 pieces that show off his distinctiveness. He was much more of a local colorist than his great contemporaries, nearly always setting his tales in and around his own hometown, as in The Enchanted Wanderer, whose outsize protagonist yet roams far, encountering wonders. Leskov besprinkles the tales with real places, events, and persons (which is why the explanatory notes are so welcome) and characteristically tells the stories via a seasoned oral storyteller who chooses his words to be understood, not to impress. The great American Leskov most immediately recalls is Mark Twain. But Leskov is less satiric and more affectionate than Twain, altogether exceptional."—Booklist

 
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