web site hit counter The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories

Availability: Ready to download

The award-winning translators of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and exuberant stories, famous in his own country, have never before been properly translated into English. Leskov's short stories exploded the traditions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Innovative in form and richly playful in langu The award-winning translators of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and exuberant stories, famous in his own country, have never before been properly translated into English. Leskov's short stories exploded the traditions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Innovative in form and richly playful in language, these 17 tales are visionary and fantastic and yet always grounded in reality, peopled by outsized characters that include serfs, princes, military officers, Gypsy girls, wayward monks, horse dealers, nomadic Tartars, and garrulous storytellers. In stories long considered classics Leskov takes the speech patterns of oral storytelling and spins them in new and startlingly modern ways, presenting seemingly artless yarns that are in fact tremendously sophisticated. And it is the great gift of this new translation to allow us to hear all the unexpected nuance of Leskov's singular voice.


Compare

The award-winning translators of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and exuberant stories, famous in his own country, have never before been properly translated into English. Leskov's short stories exploded the traditions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Innovative in form and richly playful in langu The award-winning translators of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and exuberant stories, famous in his own country, have never before been properly translated into English. Leskov's short stories exploded the traditions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Innovative in form and richly playful in language, these 17 tales are visionary and fantastic and yet always grounded in reality, peopled by outsized characters that include serfs, princes, military officers, Gypsy girls, wayward monks, horse dealers, nomadic Tartars, and garrulous storytellers. In stories long considered classics Leskov takes the speech patterns of oral storytelling and spins them in new and startlingly modern ways, presenting seemingly artless yarns that are in fact tremendously sophisticated. And it is the great gift of this new translation to allow us to hear all the unexpected nuance of Leskov's singular voice.

30 review for The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    Nikolai Leskov was a unique writer, he was one of the grandest connoisseurs and maestros of language and it’s a great pity that his magnanimous and juicy handling of words was unavoidably lost in translation. But all the same The Enchanted Wanderer is an enchanting reading. The tale possesses almost proverbial qualities. Kneel, first of all. Man’s knees are the first instrument: as soon as you kneel, your soul at once soars up, and there, being thus elevated, you must bow down to the ground, as ma Nikolai Leskov was a unique writer, he was one of the grandest connoisseurs and maestros of language and it’s a great pity that his magnanimous and juicy handling of words was unavoidably lost in translation. But all the same The Enchanted Wanderer is an enchanting reading. The tale possesses almost proverbial qualities. Kneel, first of all. Man’s knees are the first instrument: as soon as you kneel, your soul at once soars up, and there, being thus elevated, you must bow down to the ground, as many times as you can, till you are exhausted, and wear yourself out with fasting, to mortify yourself, and when the devil sees you striving for a great deed, he will not endure it and will run away at once, for fear that with such a man his machinations will drive him still more directly to Christ… Nikolai Leskov wasn’t a writer of body or mind… He was a writer of soul.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    I'm not sure how I came across this writer but I'm glad I did. This book is a collection of six engaging short stories. The titular story, The Enchanted Wanderer, is the longest and the most entertaining. It reminded me somewhat of Voltaire's Candide, but a tamed down version. This book was different from other Russian novels I've read because instead of focusing on the aristocracy, the stories focus on the working class. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Russian literature. I'm not sure how I came across this writer but I'm glad I did. This book is a collection of six engaging short stories. The titular story, The Enchanted Wanderer, is the longest and the most entertaining. It reminded me somewhat of Voltaire's Candide, but a tamed down version. This book was different from other Russian novels I've read because instead of focusing on the aristocracy, the stories focus on the working class. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Russian literature.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ellinor

    This selection of tales is not what you're excepting from a Russian writer. Especially the title giving tale The Enchanted Wanderer is very entertaining. It is a classic picaresque tale and reminded me a lot of Candide. The story I enjoyed most was Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The main character kills both her father in law and her husband to live with her lover. I didn't judge her for that but later for mudering the child and I liked her revenge at the end of the tale. This selection of tales is not what you're excepting from a Russian writer. Especially the title giving tale The Enchanted Wanderer is very entertaining. It is a classic picaresque tale and reminded me a lot of Candide. The story I enjoyed most was Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The main character kills both her father in law and her husband to live with her lover. I didn't judge her for that but later for mudering the child and I liked her revenge at the end of the tale.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

    My review is up at The Quarterly Conversation: http://quarterlyconversation.com/the-... My review is up at The Quarterly Conversation: http://quarterlyconversation.com/the-...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Moon Rose

    The works of Nikolai Leskov are diminutive not just in length, but it seems to also appear on the onset less in contextual form in comparison to the somewhat light seeking, of highfalutin divine derivation known to the great Russian writers of the 19th century. In its briefly short and concise form elucidated by his simple straightforward narrative are stories that most often than not hide the true nature of his literary intention as it can abruptly pass by a reader′s mind leaving without much i The works of Nikolai Leskov are diminutive not just in length, but it seems to also appear on the onset less in contextual form in comparison to the somewhat light seeking, of highfalutin divine derivation known to the great Russian writers of the 19th century. In its briefly short and concise form elucidated by his simple straightforward narrative are stories that most often than not hide the true nature of his literary intention as it can abruptly pass by a reader′s mind leaving without much impression. To appreciate the beauty in Leskov′s works is to learn to stop and smell the flowers as the old saying goes. It is to course through the bucolic similarities of his works in its utter simplicity as it profoundly becomes the sheer ingredients necessary to picture the culture and tradition enveloping the Russian peasantry of the 19th century. The perceived impoverishment of literature was connected first of all with the multiplication of railroads, which are very useful for commerce, but harmful for artistic literature. Today man travels a lot, but quickly and painlessly and therefore he doesn′t accumulate any strong impressions, he has no time to observe anything---everything slip by. Hence the poverty. The richness of Leskov's narrative prose is infused with the keenest observation reflecting a deep contemplation of the true nature of the Russian life as he oscillates between a tinge of spirituality and the exactness of realism to depict the beliefs, morals and passions of the Russian people as perhaps his collective works represent closer to its true spirit especially that of the peasantry, to whom a great deal of faith is put upon by Dostoevsky for his country′s salvation. ☾☯

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samir Rawas Sarayji

    Considering that Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and others take Leskov as an inspiration and role model for their own stories and writings, I expected much more from this collection. However, i) I do see how those legendary authors were inspired by some aspect of Leskov: Tolstoy by the morality angle, Dostoevsky by the 'I' unreliable narrator, and Chekhov by the set-up of the tragicomedy stage; ii) I also appreciate the way Leskov touches on the political, social, and moral aspects of society in Considering that Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and others take Leskov as an inspiration and role model for their own stories and writings, I expected much more from this collection. However, i) I do see how those legendary authors were inspired by some aspect of Leskov: Tolstoy by the morality angle, Dostoevsky by the 'I' unreliable narrator, and Chekhov by the set-up of the tragicomedy stage; ii) I also appreciate the way Leskov touches on the political, social, and moral aspects of society in 19th century Russia, but never at the expense of the story—reminiscent of Dickens. What I love is how he shows every scene and avoids the narrative bog of Dickens. I think my struggle here is that having read some of the works of the more refined authors he inspired, Leskov's style is too antiquated for my taste, and the over-focus on the moral and religious falls heavy (unlike Tolstoy). My lack of enthusiasm could be due to translation, as I have read that translating Leskov is notoriously difficult, or it could be due to the underlying similarity in much of the stories. I might give this another attempt somewhere in the future, it could also have been the wrong collection to read at the wrong time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Igor

    I must admit that I hadn't heard about Nikolai Leskov before. This book showed-up in my recommendations of GoodReads. I am glad it did! It has been one amazing read of stories about rural live in Russia, christianity, mercants and nobility, growing up, mystic. Some made me laugh, others (almost) cry, think about live. All are written splendidly and vividly let the reader see what live was in that time, how the people from the lowest bragger to saints and princes thought and behaved. I read the Eb I must admit that I hadn't heard about Nikolai Leskov before. This book showed-up in my recommendations of GoodReads. I am glad it did! It has been one amazing read of stories about rural live in Russia, christianity, mercants and nobility, growing up, mystic. Some made me laugh, others (almost) cry, think about live. All are written splendidly and vividly let the reader see what live was in that time, how the people from the lowest bragger to saints and princes thought and behaved. I read the Ebook version, translated by Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky, and it contains the following short stories: The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: not the best of Leskov's stories, but a nice start nonetheless. The Sealed Angel: truly amazing! I am not a religious person, yet this story about a group of 'old believers' who saw their icons being sealed in wax by the authority is superb. It shows in detail how they pray and believe and go in search of an icon painter to help them, without ever reaching a point of dull 'forced' religious lessons. Leskov himself had great respect for the old believers, and he managed to turn that respect in writing in a way that shows both their due and made the reader see them in the same light. The Enchanted Wanderer: The title story and also the longest. It's about a man who tells his live story from being a poor orphan boy all the way to being an old man who goes to a monastry to become a monk. A story about a time in Russia that I can hardly imagine how it must have been, yet Leskov does a great job in telling about it. A story about a man's destiny that is both heartbreaking and loving. Singlemind: What happens when a man reads the bible, and only the bible, and makes his own faith? Singlemind is your answer. The reactions of his fellow citizens when a count (or was it a prince?) comes is very funny. The Devil-chase: I didn't really enjoy this story, but well, it's also one of the shortest. Deathless Golovan: Another great read! It shows how the live was back in the 1800's in rural Russia. It's about a man from Orel where Leskov grew-up. It's about the different kinds of christiany living side by side. About trusting your neightbour, caring for him and her, fearing of the plaque. I enjoined this story a lot. The White Eagle: Here Leskov turns more towards the nobility. It's about a man who's on a mission that will earn him a reward. I didn't understood it fully I'm afraid. A Flaming Patriot: I must have missed this one, can't say what it was about. Lefty: Here Leskov turns back toward the true artists of the old believers again. What when your souverein asks you to make something better then the English have done in just a short time? You pray! And not in the church around the corner, no, you go on a journey first and let your faith give you a solution. This story also let's the reader show the difference between the Russian and the English approach to archive greatness. I'm from the Netherlands myself, yet stories like these inspire me to go and learn more about the Russian culture. I loved this story! The Spirit of Madame de Genlis: Short and very funny. I won't spoil it for you. ;) The Toupee Artist: One of the saddest stories in this collection. You know how it is going to end from the first page, yet when I got there I was like "No! That can't be!" It shows in detail the live the serfs had to enjure sometimes where their master was as cruel as can be. It's a great story to read about, heartbreaking. The Voice of Nature: A short story (oké they all are, a shorter then average story). It shows how the people back then and there acted in generosity. Not the best one, but a nice read nonetheless. A Little Mistake: Be carefull what you wish for, it might just come true. Or in this case: be carefull what you ask others to pray for in your name. The Pearl Necklace: A small story about a man who is known for giving nothing when his daughters go in marriage, and how another man is in love with his youngest daughest. A good story about love and family live. The Spook: One of the best story, amazing! It's about a man who is mistrusted by everyone in Orel during the time that Leskov himself was just a young boy there. It has a christian/ humanitary lesson, yet it is a great read even for an atheïst like I am. It shows again how the rural live in Russia was in the 1800's, the faith of the people including the faith in spirits. It's a story that is still alive today, a lesson that we can all take to heart. The Man on Watch: Short, witty, funny. A sentry on watch spots a man in the freezing waters of the Neva, St. Petersburg. He is not allowed to leave his post on any condition, yet his soul cries to rescue that man. What to do? A robbery: Fear the hour of the thieves! A story about how things can go wrong in the dark. Also a story about the upbringing of the rich in a small town. And on top a story about the search for a new priest for the church. It all blends together in a good story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Blackwell Boyce

    After X-number of years living in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, I confess I only became aware of Nikolai Leskov this year (not via the new Pevear & Volokhonsky translation). Russians and Ukrainians are familiar with Leskov, and his books are readily available in this part of the world - but they don’t talk about him much. Mind you, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky aren’t talked about that much either; the only book people here seem to love to rave about is ‘Master and Margarita’. T After X-number of years living in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, I confess I only became aware of Nikolai Leskov this year (not via the new Pevear & Volokhonsky translation). Russians and Ukrainians are familiar with Leskov, and his books are readily available in this part of the world - but they don’t talk about him much. Mind you, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky aren’t talked about that much either; the only book people here seem to love to rave about is ‘Master and Margarita’. This may have something to do with the fact that the old greats (including some Leskov) were required reading in school, whereas M & M was definitely not on the curriculum (I’m not speaking of the post-perestroika generation). I greatly enjoyed virtually all the stories of this collection. I liked the structure of the title story, where the protagonist goes from one adventure to another, from misfortune to good fortune over and over. I also liked the Sealed Angel… the intensity of the religious passion/superstition, and the curiousity of the English bridge-builder. Overall I loved the strangeness of the stories, the richness of detail, and the language (P & V’s translation is excellent as usual!). As is fitting, since he was describing the working-class, Leskov’s stories are a more direct, physical exploration of the nature of good and evil when compared with Dostoevsky’s cerebral novels with their metaphysically-tortured characters who come from a better educated segment of society. And for the same reason Leskov is less ambiguous than Chekhov, whose characters tend to be caught up in their own emotions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Couldn't find it here, but I read the most recent Knopf iteration of this collection-- the big several hundred page fucker. I hadn't read Leskov before, and felt I might as well dive right in. Years ago, I read the Walter Benjamin essay about Leskov, which piqued my interest. And, as you might expect with a volume this thick, with stories ranging from all points in the man's career, the stories ranged from the lovely to the meh. The underlying theme throughout is that Russia is not quite Europe. Couldn't find it here, but I read the most recent Knopf iteration of this collection-- the big several hundred page fucker. I hadn't read Leskov before, and felt I might as well dive right in. Years ago, I read the Walter Benjamin essay about Leskov, which piqued my interest. And, as you might expect with a volume this thick, with stories ranging from all points in the man's career, the stories ranged from the lovely to the meh. The underlying theme throughout is that Russia is not quite Europe. Now this isn't to say that Leskov was a Slavophil writer-- he's much too subtle for nationalism and heroics. Rather, Leskov chooses to paint the most bassackwards part of the European continent with love, complete with tortured saints and murderesses and bouncing steel fleas. Perhaps I should have taken these stories in one at a time, slowly, over years, but I quite enjoyed swallowing the cake whole.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yogeeswar

    A very old hardcover I found in my sister's collection. I had my doubts about reading this, but I absolutely had nothing else left in home, so I started it anyway. It is a collection of five short stories. I loved the first one, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk. I thought the second, The Enchanted Wanderer was peculiar, in every way and the longest. The other three stories were soothing. A very old hardcover I found in my sister's collection. I had my doubts about reading this, but I absolutely had nothing else left in home, so I started it anyway. It is a collection of five short stories. I loved the first one, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk. I thought the second, The Enchanted Wanderer was peculiar, in every way and the longest. The other three stories were soothing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I found this new hardback edition for $5 in a remainder bookstore. I read the Introduction and two of the stories. Very dark and depressing. The style is factual and dry. I did not continue.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie (keepreadingbooks)

    First half: 2.5 stars - second half: 3.5 stars ”But I have little faith; it does not give my mind the power to contemplate such loftiness: I am of the earth, earthy. I am thinking of those mortals who love the good simply for the sake of the good itself and expect no reward for it anywhere. These straightforward and reliable people, it seems to me, should also be perfectly pleased by the holy impulse of love and the no less holy patience of the humble hero of my faithful and artless story.” I star First half: 2.5 stars - second half: 3.5 stars ”But I have little faith; it does not give my mind the power to contemplate such loftiness: I am of the earth, earthy. I am thinking of those mortals who love the good simply for the sake of the good itself and expect no reward for it anywhere. These straightforward and reliable people, it seems to me, should also be perfectly pleased by the holy impulse of love and the no less holy patience of the humble hero of my faithful and artless story.” I started this tome back in September, got about halfway and then had to take a break. Many of the stories that make up the first half of the book were rather heavy and much longer than needed – especially the title story, The Enchanted Wanderer, drained me of energy. I still wanted to finish it, as I did enjoy a number of the stories, so I decided to read a story here and there in between other reads. That worked well. And then we reached December and the compulsive part of me wanted very much to finish the entire thing before the new year, so I resolved to read the rest. Luckily, the second half was much more to my liking than the first. The stories were entertaining, engaging, and quickly read. It’s a fascinating and extremely varied look into Russian life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, dealing both with Princes and Counts as well as peasants and townsfolk and everything in between, in a large collection of different stories that illuminate certain aspects of life and religion in that time period. If you’re a seasoned reader of classic Russian literature, I would recommend picking this one up, too (and practice your patience during some of the longer stories) – many argue that Leskov is one you need to read. If you’re new to the genre, however, I don’t think this is the place to start. I’d recommend Nikolai Gogol’s Petersburg Tales instead! /NK

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicky Neko

    OK OK OK. I only read half of this. But it's a long book, I started it back in February, and I'm just sick of the sight of it. I can't be arsed finishing it, and I feel like I made enough of an effort to add it as 'read'. So there we go! Maybe I'll come back and read the second half in the future, but you know... life is pretty fucking short. OK OK OK. I only read half of this. But it's a long book, I started it back in February, and I'm just sick of the sight of it. I can't be arsed finishing it, and I feel like I made enough of an effort to add it as 'read'. So there we go! Maybe I'll come back and read the second half in the future, but you know... life is pretty fucking short.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    Leskov is an author that I completely missed when I traversed the great Russian canon of literature several years ago and what a shame because these 17 stories are a unique delight. Having recently heard his name mentioned yet again as the author of the story that was the basis for Shostakovich's opera, "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," I was pointed to this wonderful edition by Pevear and Volokhonsky. Now obviously, I am no Leskov scholar so I can only judge this translation by its readability and on Leskov is an author that I completely missed when I traversed the great Russian canon of literature several years ago and what a shame because these 17 stories are a unique delight. Having recently heard his name mentioned yet again as the author of the story that was the basis for Shostakovich's opera, "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," I was pointed to this wonderful edition by Pevear and Volokhonsky. Now obviously, I am no Leskov scholar so I can only judge this translation by its readability and on that front it certainly succeeds. While there is an element of the fantastical and the extremities of human emotion, Leskov is much more even-handed with this style than some of his contemporaries and successors like Chekhov and Gogol. His subjects are not the metropolitan elite of 19th century Russia but the working class and muzhiks of his native Orel. Though some of his shorter works towards the end of the collection display a playfulness and ease with irony, it is the major works that linger most potently in my mind having finished this volume. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk has a relentlessly brutal and dry delivery while examining gender/sex roles in Russian society of the time. Not an easy read and such a gut-punch of a conclusion. The Enchanted Wanderer is a brilliant though seemingly at times aimless tract on loss of spiritual sense and self-discovery. Never too fantastical, it maintains a grounding in the every day that makes it a more human exploration than sublime portrayal. The prose is not as stylish as many other authors of the day however it is interesting to see how many critics and authors find Leskov to be the most authentically, "Russian," author of the well-known Russian authors. Perhaps it is his economy of words or his avoidance of the affairs of the oligarchy, nevertheless these stories remain eminently readable and a wonderful addition to any collection of Russian fiction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    How wonderful to see a book marketed on the strength of the translation - "A Pevear and Volokhonsky translation" reads the blurb at the very top of the front cover, albeit in smaller print than the author/title, and the dust jacket on the inside rear contains not details of the author but rather a picture and bio of the translators. The husband and wife team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have managed, via their wide-ranging versions of Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Tolstoy, Gogol - and now of How wonderful to see a book marketed on the strength of the translation - "A Pevear and Volokhonsky translation" reads the blurb at the very top of the front cover, albeit in smaller print than the author/title, and the dust jacket on the inside rear contains not details of the author but rather a picture and bio of the translators. The husband and wife team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have managed, via their wide-ranging versions of Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Tolstoy, Gogol - and now of course Leskov - to become that very rare breed of translator, literary celebrities in their own right. That being said, while I personally loved their versions of Dostoevsky in particular, which to me are the best done of his works, their style and method of working (*) isn't without it's controversial nature, and indeed their very prominence inflames the debate, as does their own active engagement, to put it politely, with their critics. For more on the debate I would point anyone to this wonderful overview - the comments after the article include a robust response from Pevear and Volokhonsky. http://xixvek.wordpress.com/2013/08/0... In particular, and rather paraphrasing a lengthy and more subtle debate, they tend to lean away from using contemporary expressions and remain faithful to the style of the novel's time - in other words they tend to translate late 19th Century Russian into something closer to late 19th Century than early 21st Century English. And in the case of Leskov, I found the result - to use a highly non-technical term - rather clunky: stories that I suspect read reasonably naturally to the original native readers, feel a little idiomatic in the translation. That said I certainly haven't checked the original - so this is based purely on my impressions, and a comparison to other translations, which I tend to prefer. Just to give a tiny example, there are various points when the story indicates that one character recounts to another the previous events - their preferred formation is the rather anachronistic "it happened thus and so". Well, so far I've written a 300+ word review and haven't touched on the actual stories themselves - but given the usual lack of attention paid to translation, I make no apologies for that. So to the stories: most are told as a tale within a tale, by a narrator introduced in a brief opening sketch - e.g. a stranger interrupting a discussion in a tavern to proffer a tale as an example, or often counterexample - typically involving "one of the three righteous men without whom no city can stand" as the original foreword to one of the stories presented Leskov's desired objective. The result is enjoyable but rather simple. We're told in the publisher's blurb that Leskov "was Chekhov's favourite writer", "greatly admired by Tolstoy" and, by the wonderful Alberto Manguel, that "without Leskov there would be no Bulgakov, no Chekhov, but also no Garcia Marquez and Julio Cortazar". The obvious retort is that while literature is then extremely indebted to Leskov, and I'm very glad that those authors all read him, I'd rather read their resulting work than his original efforts. Overall - enjoyable but not vital. (* It's rude to repeat, but a fellow and rival translator, Donald Rayfield provided the pointed if rather unfair summary "he with little Russian, she with her imperfect English).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bryan--Pumpkin Connoisseur

    Charming seems to be a bit of an old fashioned word, but it also seems to describe these stories of Nikolai Leskov's to a T. These are not sophisticated stories--they are very rustic, almost like folk tales, but he seems to transmit something very real about the mid-nineteenth century Russian experience (which, of course, I have to take on faith). But there's a genuineness about the stories that make it hard to believe Leskov didn't have his finger on the pulse of the society he wrote about: the Charming seems to be a bit of an old fashioned word, but it also seems to describe these stories of Nikolai Leskov's to a T. These are not sophisticated stories--they are very rustic, almost like folk tales, but he seems to transmit something very real about the mid-nineteenth century Russian experience (which, of course, I have to take on faith). But there's a genuineness about the stories that make it hard to believe Leskov didn't have his finger on the pulse of the society he wrote about: the peasant, the monk, the soldier, the minor aristocrat; in short, the common run of people. This particular edition is an older one, published by Noonday press, and contains only six of Leskov's stories: Lady Macbeth of Mtensk District (source of Shostakovich's opera) The Enchanted Wanderer The Left-Handed Craftsman The Sentry The White Eagle While I enjoyed them all, it may have been the first that I liked the most. These stories were translated by David Magarshack, with and introduction by V.S. Pritchett, and it appears that, other than a title change, this is the same as the newer modern library edition (The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales.) There is also a larger volume, with, I presume, more stories, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky--The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories. While I don't think there was anything in this translation to make it feel insufficient, I would probably pick up the P&V translation just for the extra stories.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tom Lichtenberg

    Another magnificent 19th century Russian writer, Leskov's collection The Enchanted Wanderer is out in a new translation, and it's a great reading experience. In some ways it's like nothing I've read before. His characters are so vivid, such striking people from a world as real as real and as foreign as foreign. There's a certain toughness, a kind of noir or hard-boiled sense in his stories, which feature ordinary people, serfs and soldiers, often runaways and others on a hard path in life, peopl Another magnificent 19th century Russian writer, Leskov's collection The Enchanted Wanderer is out in a new translation, and it's a great reading experience. In some ways it's like nothing I've read before. His characters are so vivid, such striking people from a world as real as real and as foreign as foreign. There's a certain toughness, a kind of noir or hard-boiled sense in his stories, which feature ordinary people, serfs and soldiers, often runaways and others on a hard path in life, people who find amusement in cheating someone out of their woolen socks on a forced march to exile in Siberia. At the same time, they take their old-world icon-centric Christianity extremely seriously, and struggle to find any common ground with their Moslem/Tartar border neighbors. In one extraordinary passage, two highlanderscompete in an "amicable" battle of "flogging it out", in which they sit face to face, left hands holding each other, soles up against soles while with their right-hands they take turns whipping each other across the shoulders and onto the back. The winner gets to pay an exorbitant price for a high-quality mare. The loser wishes him well, assuming he is still alive. Saints and martyrs abound, and loyalty knows no limits, while neither does treachery or deceit. The law is the law, after all, and a renegade serf without a 'passport' is fair game for anyone to take advantage of. Leskov gives you a world he seems to know inside and out, with a style and language as bold and masterful as anyone's.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Simon Hollway

    The Peaver translation is absolutely shocking - so clunky and inept it was literally impossible to suck it up and trudge onwards. Hey ho, life is too short but sadly my Russian odyssey grinds to a halt again. Inconsistent translations are a woeful plague on 19th Century Russian literature. Quite why Russian seems to suffer more problems than the romance languages I am too unenlightened to decipher...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pessoa

    They are not the best of stories. They are not the worst of stories. Each one is filled with simplicity, humanity, and a kind of storytelling that is no longer in fashion. There is a lot of telling instead of showing what is happening as if each story contains a core so precious that it cannot be left to the reader’s imagination to figure it out. They are what stories used to be like: characters doing interesting things, writers not relying on pompous words and tedious literary descriptions.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Marcher

    Probably the best, most dynamic collection of short stories from the Russian giants of the 19th century. It's far-reaching arsenal of genres and themes makes each story unique and memorable, worth the time for any fan of short fiction. Probably the best, most dynamic collection of short stories from the Russian giants of the 19th century. It's far-reaching arsenal of genres and themes makes each story unique and memorable, worth the time for any fan of short fiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liz Estrada

    Very impressed. All I can say is he must be the Russian Balzac, or vice-versa.

  22. 5 out of 5

    TAB

    I am finally able to close 2014's chapter of in-depth reading of Russian literature with the conclusion of this collection of tales by Nikolai Leskov. He is not a name that I knew before starting out like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, but he is just as important and if not more in the way that he pulls back the curtain of what is truly the majority of Russia. There are stories in this collection of landowners, soldiers and aristocrats like most of Russian literature, but there are also heartbreaking t I am finally able to close 2014's chapter of in-depth reading of Russian literature with the conclusion of this collection of tales by Nikolai Leskov. He is not a name that I knew before starting out like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, but he is just as important and if not more in the way that he pulls back the curtain of what is truly the majority of Russia. There are stories in this collection of landowners, soldiers and aristocrats like most of Russian literature, but there are also heartbreaking tales of tradesmen, muzhiks and exiles. The sad part about some of these stories that I eventually came to expect and accept was that often they would end in a way that I thought abrupt; the story as it were had reached a conclusion but being used to having an overarching moral or criticism, I often furrowed my brow and strained to figure it out. Only after many of these stories and reading the introduction did I realize that they don't need to make Western sense. The quote in the introduction I found from Leskov sums up my feelings even more clearly: "In the articles in your newspaper it is said that I have mainly copied living persons and recounted actual incidents. Whoever the author of those articles is--he is perfectly right. I have a gift for observation and perhaps a certain aptitude for analyzing feelings and motives, but I have little fantasy. I invent painfully and with difficulty, and therefore I have always needed living persons whose spiritual content interested me. They would take possession of me, and I would try to incarnate them in stories, which I also quite often based on real events.” My favorite stories in this collection are "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk", "Deathless Golovan", "The Spirit of Madame de Genlis" and "The Spook". This last one in particular I have great affection for as it harrowingly depicts how rumour and prejudice can exile someone for no reason at all to the outskirts of society even when they are the most righteous of us all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Khadijah Qamar

    This edition is another brilliant chapter in the careers of translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, particularly because Leskov is considerably underexposed in comparison to the other great Russian authors the couple usually translate. Although you can sense a pervasive "Russianism" in his writing, his short stories are quite distinct from the likes of Tolstoy, Chekhov, or Dostoevsky. His focus is undoubtedly "rural", and his stories wander along the Russian countryside, among old, i This edition is another brilliant chapter in the careers of translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, particularly because Leskov is considerably underexposed in comparison to the other great Russian authors the couple usually translate. Although you can sense a pervasive "Russianism" in his writing, his short stories are quite distinct from the likes of Tolstoy, Chekhov, or Dostoevsky. His focus is undoubtedly "rural", and his stories wander along the Russian countryside, among old, isolated villages and to the edges of the Tartar steppe. Here life takes on magical and mythical properties, where religious fuses with superstition to tell stories that are at once fantastical and quite common place. My favorite story is "The Sealed Angel", which gives insight into Russia's clan of Old Believers, who remain fervently attached to their traditions and the unshakable belief that God and His angels protect them. Many of the stories share themes of religiosity, asceticism, rural life, etc, and reading them in conjunction gives a feeling of time as cyclical, rather than linear. This is accentuated by the "oral fable" feel of many of the stories, where a narrator is telling the story to an audience who frequently interrupts. In contrast to the stories of other famous Russian authors, these stories have a decidedly more "Eastern" feeling, and do not pander to European ideas of progress, culture, or civilization like many other Russian stories of the time. For this reason, I felt that many of these stories would not have been out of place in an anthology of Sufi South Asia, or in another Islamic context. Overall, the volume is delightful, but reading it should be spaced out over time, because, as I noted, it's cyclical nature endangers a quick read-through as repetitive.

  24. 5 out of 5

    E. G.

    Introduction Translators' Note --The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk --The Sealed Angel --The Enchanted Wanderer --Singlemind --The Devil-Chase --Deathless Golovan --The White Eagle --A Flaming Patriot --Lefty --The Spirit of Madame de Genlis --The Toupee Artist --The Voice of Nature --A Little Mistake --The Pearl Necklace --The Spook --The Man on Watch --A Robbery Notes Introduction Translators' Note --The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk --The Sealed Angel --The Enchanted Wanderer --Singlemind --The Devil-Chase --Deathless Golovan --The White Eagle --A Flaming Patriot --Lefty --The Spirit of Madame de Genlis --The Toupee Artist --The Voice of Nature --A Little Mistake --The Pearl Necklace --The Spook --The Man on Watch --A Robbery Notes

  25. 5 out of 5

    Connor

    Leskov is the missing link I've been looking for as I read Bitov and others. His focus on skaz (which I hadn't been introduced to before this book, but have already come across in a collection of Mikhail Zoshchenko stories) is what dosto and tolstoy were missing, and the element that is key in postmodern lit. I don't love all of these stories: buried angel was pretty boring. But overall his writing technique is great. Leskov is the missing link I've been looking for as I read Bitov and others. His focus on skaz (which I hadn't been introduced to before this book, but have already come across in a collection of Mikhail Zoshchenko stories) is what dosto and tolstoy were missing, and the element that is key in postmodern lit. I don't love all of these stories: buried angel was pretty boring. But overall his writing technique is great.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Namrirru

    The translation of Lady Macbeth is much better in this collection than in the Hesperus version. Leskov doesn't win any prizes for being politically correct. The translation of Lady Macbeth is much better in this collection than in the Hesperus version. Leskov doesn't win any prizes for being politically correct.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    I wrote a review earlier in the year for one novella out of this collection ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” since that was being made into a movie and I wanted to get ahead of the game. But then I never saw that movie, so who knows. Anyway, here’s the rest of the collection. There’s a bunch of longish stories in this book and a handful of much shorter ones. The title story is about 120 pages long and the shortest is like nine, so there’s a mix for sure. The stories here are mostly folkish in form, meani I wrote a review earlier in the year for one novella out of this collection ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” since that was being made into a movie and I wanted to get ahead of the game. But then I never saw that movie, so who knows. Anyway, here’s the rest of the collection. There’s a bunch of longish stories in this book and a handful of much shorter ones. The title story is about 120 pages long and the shortest is like nine, so there’s a mix for sure. The stories here are mostly folkish in form, meaning that they take place slightly off the civic and metropolitan life. They are similar to those same-kind stories of Gogol or similar Russian writers. I get the impression from these and those stories that the various metropole of Russia are stark compared to the surrounding rural settings. This makes sense, given the size of the country. The stories are often weird, violent, funny, and sad. They very often have Leskov himself stepping in as a narrator who recalls a story, hears a story, or is told a story and then presents himself as a kind of storyteller, but more so hapless observer. In a lot of ways, these stories remind me as much of some Henry James as of any other Russian storyteller. There’s an awareness of world literature (as you might find in Chekhov or Turgenev), there’s a self-awareness that sometimes shows up in Henry James stories (there’s one in which one of the characters is reading Daisy Miller) and this collection there’s stories where the characters are aware of other stories by Leskov. And so the effect is a more closed in world. It comes across quite clearly how much the world is missing the great Leskov novel. These are good stories, but they’re not epic by any stretch. And there’s a kind of rule I found myself falling into with this collection, the shorter the story, the closer I paid attention. When you have 120 pages to stretch out, I found myself drifting here and there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fred Dameron

    Going camping with Leskov must have been great experience. Even though in his time travel meant camping, fast forward to today and one wishes he were writing and telling his tales. Leskov style is to tell the tale, we hear the tellers voice can even see the arm and hand gestures that he is using. This is called skaz or oral writing. Skaz comes from the Russian verb skazat to speak or tell and leads to the other noun skazka or folktale. Styleistically this is fine if the story is short but in the Going camping with Leskov must have been great experience. Even though in his time travel meant camping, fast forward to today and one wishes he were writing and telling his tales. Leskov style is to tell the tale, we hear the tellers voice can even see the arm and hand gestures that he is using. This is called skaz or oral writing. Skaz comes from the Russian verb skazat to speak or tell and leads to the other noun skazka or folktale. Styleistically this is fine if the story is short but in the longer stories, Enchanted Wanderer, The Angel it leads to a to much extraneous information. Take the story The Robbery. The teller spends two pages discussing his aunts Old Believer thoughts from crossing one's self to why one should not marry a current Orthodox girl. All well and good but her major contribution to the story is to say that the tellers Uncle is at the gate. Leskov could have just left her religious description as She was an Old Believer. and the effect would have been the same. In The Angel there are also many pages of the rites of the Old Faith. Which while useful to the tale could have been cut with out effecting the tale at all. Maybe this is just a petty stylistic peeve I have but, It would have much better to hear these stories around a campfire in some wood. The ghosts and sprites would come to life, the cold of the Dnieper in winter would be felt more, the ghosts would be more real.. This book takes me back to those days at summer camp and walks down Old Harmony Rd, riding in the woods, camping at barn two, and all the other events that young folks my age experienced in the 70's during the summer. The stories are fantastic just read them and then retell them around a campfire at some point in the future. Your audience will love you the more for it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Geoff Wooldridge

    This is a collection of 17 short stories, ranging in length from less than 10 pages to around 120 pages, The title story is the longest in Leskov's collection. Leskov is less well known than many other great Russian writers, such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Gogol. His stories are quintessentially Russian folk tales, and may not translate very well into English or Western idiom. They are mostly in the style of spoken word stories, told around a campfire, or over a few shared drinks, or, in the case o This is a collection of 17 short stories, ranging in length from less than 10 pages to around 120 pages, The title story is the longest in Leskov's collection. Leskov is less well known than many other great Russian writers, such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Gogol. His stories are quintessentially Russian folk tales, and may not translate very well into English or Western idiom. They are mostly in the style of spoken word stories, told around a campfire, or over a few shared drinks, or, in the case of the title story, told by a passenger on a ship to his fellow travelers. The subjects are varied, but typically capture mid 18th century Russian life, covering topics such as religion, match-making, rural activities, domestic relationships and local government. Many have elements of the spiritual or supernatural, and they seem to defy a conventional logic. The actions of characters frequently seems irrational or comical, almost in the style of comedy or parody, but the reader will glean more from the stories by simply accepting them for what they are. They are rarely exciting or totally riveting - the pace is mostly pedestrian - but they are mostly interesting and enjoyable. Given the diversity in the collection, some are naturally better than others. I quite enjoyed discovering the work of Nikolai Leskov, as a slightly different voice to other Russian authors I have read, I would not rate him ahead of Tolstoy or Dostoevsky, but I would put him alongside Gogol, who can occasionally be tedious as well as manically hilarious.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Strictly for EW. An old man retells his life and we listen, young and reckless, he foolishly is responsible for a monks death. The monk returns as a ghostto tell him he will die every day of his life intil he becomes a monk because his mother promised him to God. and, the entire story, he kills , he becomes an alcoholic, hes a good man, he chucks his soul for instant pleasures, he suffers, The story is unlike anything else in Russian literature. Its not moralistic like Tolstoyor Dostoyevsky, its Strictly for EW. An old man retells his life and we listen, young and reckless, he foolishly is responsible for a monks death. The monk returns as a ghostto tell him he will die every day of his life intil he becomes a monk because his mother promised him to God. and, the entire story, he kills , he becomes an alcoholic, hes a good man, he chucks his soul for instant pleasures, he suffers, The story is unlike anything else in Russian literature. Its not moralistic like Tolstoyor Dostoyevsky, its not calm, cool, showing itself in glances like Chekhov, no humor like Bulgakov or Erofeev, there is some skazki elementa, tale elements, tall tales always are infused with magical realism, they wouldnt be tales to tell, this has magical realist elements but they dont stick, this is a tale, one expects an angel to fly and deflect bullets, one expects Tatars to sew chopped up horse hair into your soles , so you are hobbled to them, a slave, for ten years, choose a wife or two, good day, брат... His mother died giving birth to him and swore the boy to God and n the end, he literally has nowhere else to go except a monastery, even there, the world, owned by its Prince, sends demons , large and small, to mess with him, even from the holy place he is exiled, in a sense, sento Solovki, in the far north, to pray at the relics of two saints.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.