Nikolai Leskov books in order
Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov was a Russian novelist, short story writer, playwright, journalist, and author of literary fiction books.
He also wrote under the pen name M. Stebnitsky.
Born in Gorokhovo, Oryol Gubernia, Russian Empire, he attended the Oryol Lyceum and joined the Oryol criminal court office in 1847, before transferring to Kiev where he worked as a clerk.
Upon resigning from his job as a clerk in 1857, Leskov went to work for the private trading company Scott & Wilkins, which was owned by Alexander Scott, the Englishman who was married to his aunt.
Leskov would launch his writing career in the early 1860s, with the short story “The Extinguished Flame” (1862), and never looked back.
A number of his most prominent works, written between the 1860s to the mid-1880s, continue to be published till date.
Genre: Literary Fiction
- On the Edge of the World - На краю света (1985)
- The Steel Flea - Сказ о тульском косом Левше и о стальной блохе (1881)
- Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk And Other Stories (1988)
- The Ghost of the Engineers' Castle (2009)
- The Amazon, and Other Stories (1949)
- The Enchanted Wanderer: And Other Stories - Очарованный странник (1960)
- Nikolai Leskov: Selected Tales (1961)
- Selected Tales (1962)
- Five Tales (1984)
- Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Selected Stories (2020)
- The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - Леди Макбет Мценского уезда (1864)
Detailed book overview
Based on a true story of an early Russian missionary bishop's trip to the far reaches of Eastern Siberia, Nicolai Leskov (1831-1895), the master of the Russian short story, delights the reader with a tale of adventure and substance. Leskov, the Russian equivalent of the American Mark Twain, is a powerful storyteller, utilizing language and acute characterizations to weave an unforgettable tale.
This fresh, readable, yet critical translation by Michael Prokurat, with valuable notes and commentary, is an eminently entertaining and engaging story. The snowstorm scene is one of the greatest in Russian literature. Behind the adventure, however, Leskov delivers a profound message about human values, while constructing a model for Christian missiology.
The purpose behind the bishop's journey is to teach and baptize. During the process he learns through example and suffering that baptism without preparation is ritual devoid of content, that in indigenous peoples of all cultures there is a striking dignity, as well as established codes of moral behavior that must be recognized and built upon as a foundation for all Christian conversion.
Original Title: На краю света
First Release: 1985
Publisher: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press
When the Emperor Alexander Pavlovitch had finished the Congress of Vienna he took a fancy to travel all over Europe and view the marvels of the different realms. He journeyed through all lands, and everywhere, by reason of his amiability, he always held the most internecine discussions with all men, and all amazed him by one means or another and sought to incline him to their side. But he had a Cossack of the Don, named Platoff, attached to his personal service, who did not like this inclination, and, being homesick for his own hearthstone, he constantly sought to lure the Emperor to his home.
So, as soon as Platoff perceived that the Emperor took a deep interest in any foreign thing and all his suite held their peace, he began to say immediately: "Thus and so, and we have the same thing of our own at home, not a whit worse,"—and then he would turn him aside in one way or another.
The English people were aware of this, and had prepared various cunning devices against the Emperor's arrival, to the end that they might captivate him with foreign things, and in many cases they attained their object, especially in the great assemblies where Platoff could not express himself perfectly in French; but he did not mind that over-much because he was a married man, and regarded all French conversation as mere emptiness, unworthy of his imagination.
But when the English began to invite the Emperor to all their arsenals, armories, shops, and soap-sawing factories, in order to demonstrate their superiority over us in all things, Platoff said to himself: "Come, there has been enough of this sort of thing. Up to this point I have endured in patience, but beyond this 'tis impossible. I may manage to say the right thing or I may not, but I won't betray my own people." And no sooner had he uttered these words to himself than the Emperor said to him: "Thus and so. To-morrow you and I will go to inspect their arsenal museum.
Original Title: Сказ о тульском косом Левше и о стальной блохе
First Release: 1881
Publisher: Independently published
The story of a passionate young woman who escapes her stifling marriage through adultery and murder, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is now the basis for an acclaimed new film starring Florence Pugh Nikolai Leskov is one of the most unique voices of nineteenth-century Russia, with a fascination for idiosyncratic characters, lurid crimes, comic absurdity, spirituality and the joy of pure story. This volume contains five of his greatest short tales, including the matchless masterpiece Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Translated with an introduction by David McDuff.
First Release: 1988
Publisher: Penguin Classic
Enter the world of mystery with this timeless audiobook adaptation of Leskov's classic ghost story uncovering mysteries of a haunted castle with a reputation going back several centuries. Featuring ghost action and audio effects, it includes a story that takes you through events unfolding in St. Petersburg in 1859 or 1860.
This release also includes another story of mysterious disappearance. A nineteenth-century nobleman goes missing in Turgenev's "Hunting Sketches".
First Release: 2009
Publisher: Interactive Media
Nikolai Leskov's writing exploded the conventions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Here is the other Russia, mythical and untamed: an uneasy synthesis of Orthodoxy and Old Believers, a land populated by soldiers and monks, serfs and princes, Tartars and gypsies—a vast country brimming with the promise of magic.
These seventeen tales, some rooted in the oral tradition, others cast as sophisticated anecdotes, are all told in the voices of storytellers addressing their audience—allowing us, as readers, to join a group of listeners. Innovative in form and rich in wordplay, the narratives unfurl in startlingly modern ways. The great gift of this new translation allows us to hear all the nuances of Leskov’s brilliant language.
Original Title: Очарованный странник
First Release: 1960
The most perfectly 'Russian' writer of the nineteenth century, Leskov conveys a unique, memorable image of the Russia he knew: wayward and undisciplined, anarchic and perverse, yet underpinned by a profound spirituality and sense of national identity. This captures Leskov's rumbustious humour, together with his hilarious examination of Russian attitudes. It highlights the fascinating contrasts he detected between the spirit of Russia and the culture of her West European neighbors.
This is a collection of stories by Nikolai Leskov, translated by Michael Shotton.
First Release: 1984
Publisher: Dufour Editions
Nikolai Leskov is the strangest of the great Russian writers of the nineteenth century. His work is closer to the oral traditions of narrative than that of his contemporaries, and served as the inspiration for Walter Benjamin's great essay "The Storyteller," in which Benjamin contrasts the plotty machinations of the modern novel with the strange, melancholy, but also worldly-wise yarns of an older, slower era that Leskov remained in touch with.
The title story is a tale of illicit love and multiple murder that could easily find its way into a Scottish ballad and did go on to become the most popular of Dmitri Shostakovich's operas.
The other stories, all but one newly translated, present the most focused and finely rendered collection of this indispensable writer currently available in English.
First Release: 2020
Publisher: NYRB Classics
In this powerful and brutal short story, Leskov demonstrates the enduring truth of the Shakespearean archetype joltingly displaced to the heartland of Russia. Chastened and stifled by her marriage of convenience to a man twice her age, the young Katerina Lvovna goes yawning about the house, missing the barefoot freedom of her childhood, until she meets the feckless steward Sergei Filipych.
Sergei proceeds to seduce Katerina, as he has done half the women in the town, not realizing that her passion, once freed, will attach to him so fiercely that Katerina will do anything to keep hold of him. Journalist and prose writer Nikolai Leskov is known for his powerful characterizations and the quintessentially Russian atmosphere of his stories.
Original Title: Леди Макбет Мценского уезда
First Release: 1864
Publisher: Hesperus Press