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The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,077 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Written over the course of Leskov’s career, each story in The Enchanted Wanderer elucidates the very essence of the human condition; themes of love, despair, loneliness, and revenge are explored against the backdrop of nineteenth-century working-class Russia. Leskov deftly layers social satire and subtle criticism atop myth and fable, resulting in a richly entertaining col ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 14th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1873)
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
87th out of 393 books — 1,667 voters
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovCrime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyA Hero of Our Time by Mikhail LermontovDead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Russian school curriculum literature
53rd out of 98 books — 14 voters

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May 26, 2013 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nikolai Leskov is apparently an author of substantial influence, being cited by such eminent writers as Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bulgakov, and Gorky. Yet despite this, he is not so well known in the West. I confess I've never heard of him until I saw the new Pevear/Volokhonsky edition in the book store a few weeks ago.

Leskov, in these short stories, is an honest and forthright author who is most interested in telling the stories and also the characterization of 'upright men', as described in his epilog
Feb 10, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing
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.
My review is up at The Quarterly Conversation:
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.
فهد الفهد
الجواب المسحور

كلنا مفتونون بالأدب الروسي، قراءة رواية روسية هي وسيلتنا في الحصول على مزاج رائق، وهذا غريب !! فالأدب الروسي ممتلئ بالشقاء، بالمعذبين، بالبؤساء الذين يقف في وجوههم كل شيء، القدر والناس والطبيعة القاسية.

وهذه الرواية أبرز ما يعبر عن الأدب الروسي في مأساويته، فها نحن نستمع طيلة الرواية لقصة إيفان سيفيريانيتش، يوريها بنفسه على رفاقه، في رحلة في بحيرة روسية، نتعرف على كل ما مر به هذا الكاهن الجواب من مغامرات، منذ طفولته وحتى كهولته، منذ الأيام التي كان يتعلم فيها العناية بالخيول حتى ب
Paul Fulcher
Apr 10, 2014 Paul Fulcher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
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 ...more
عبدالله ناصر

من أجل روح الأديب و الروائي المظلوم غائب طعمه فرمان قمت باقتناء الرواية. و الحق يقال أنني مازلت في حيرة من تأخر نشر الكتاب على الرغم من وفاة فرمان في مطلع تسعينات القرن الماضي. يلعب فرمان دور المترجم هذه المرة - و إن كان يستحيل أن يرتكب هذه الأخطاء التافهة في ترجمته - و يقدم أحد كبار رجالات الأدب الروسي و الذي صنف كأحد أشد الروس وطنية و قد ألهم الموسيقيين و السينمائيين و بطبيعة الحال الكتّاب الروس و على رأسهم تشيخوف. تحولت الرواية إلى أوبرا ساحرة على يد شيردين كما تحولت إلى فيلم سينمائي عبقري بع
Moon Rose
Apr 04, 2013 Moon Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moon Rose by: Kindle Store New Releases
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 ...more
Hugh Coverly
Apr 16, 2016 Hugh Coverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have finally finished these wonderful tales by Nikolai Leskov. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky present a highly readable translation of these tales from a classic Russian writer, who is often overlooked.

Each of Leskov's tales are different, but each are told as if they are historical incidents. I'm sure there is a real story behind most of them but I'm certain they are the result of extensive artistic license. Some of the stories are obviously funny, while the comedy is more subtle in
Simon Hollway
Jul 07, 2015 Simon Hollway rated it did not like it
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...
Nov 18, 2015 Yogeeswar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy, classics
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.
Stan Letsgo
Feb 27, 2016 Stan Letsgo rated it it was amazing
I don't know about translation of "The Enchanted Wanderer" but reading it in the original, I have realized that the language of Leskov is the richest one among all known to me biggest russian writers. First of all he grasped the folk and rural language of his time while he was travelling in many of country's provinces. All his characters have unique way of lexeme and syntax construction which reflects their social status. But it is not primitive like in Tolstoy's case. Leskov plays with the lang ...more
Jul 22, 2016 TAB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, 1850s
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 ...more
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
Khadijah Qamar
Jun 02, 2014 Khadijah Qamar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian, mysticism
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 ...more
Marc Gerstein
Dec 29, 2014 Marc Gerstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I’m reviewing the Enchanted Wanderer, a short novel included in this story collection.

It’s in the picaresque genre but has some unique takes on it. Instead of featuring a low-status ne’er do well, Ivan, the protagonist here, is a person of character in a hard-living sort of way. He likes to cut loose with vodka and can do crazy things when plastered, but there is a sense of morality in him. Many picaresque protagonists never change; they drift from adventure to adventure. But in Ivan’s case, the
J.M. Hushour
I usually get excited, carnivorous even, over new Pevear/Volokhonsky translations. Yes, yes, I'm aware of all the stupid debates as to the quality of their translations. Typically I thoroughly enjoy them, but this time around...not so much. Maybe it's just Leskov. This is one of those Russian writers that one hears so much about, a guy whose lack of exposure to larger audiences is constantly bemoaned in the scholarship. And he's not a bad writer. Think a calmer Gogol and you'd have Leskov. But h ...more
Blackwell Boyce
Nov 10, 2014 Blackwell Boyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Monty Milne
Sep 22, 2016 Monty Milne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this was like knocking back a large glass of powerful and really good quality Russian vodka. It made my eyes water, it made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me so inebriatedly Russificated that I was, for a few hours, a drunken muzhik, a contented kulak, a pious starets, a calloused serf, and a lovesick tsarist nobleman - all at the same time. Except that it didn't give me a headache afterwards - just a wonderful feeling of light-headed contentment. Leskov is as evocative as Turgene ...more
Jenni Link
Mar 06, 2016 Jenni Link rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only recently heard of Nikolai Leskov, and I'm so glad that I did. His stories remind me a lot of those of Stephen Crane, whose work I also love. Both show men and women facing an indifferent, Darwinian world with inexplicable heroism (or equally inexplicable depravity) that makes them seem more like characters from legends or folk tales than from real life. As in folktales, the absence of any realist or psychological explanation for what happens gives each story a sometimes eerie aura of arch ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Namrirru rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian
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.
Nov 02, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
*General question: Does anyone really gnash their teeth, or does that only happen in Russian literature?

“Kneel, first of all. Man’s knees are the first instrument: as soon as you kneel, your soul at once soars up…”(225).
“...his mother, who by then had become old and, with dimming eyesight, now baked worse pies than before” (235).
“Now it was Lanskoy who smiled: the constable greatly interested his soul, which was no stranger to warmth” (259).
“‘Oh, very simple, brother: pray and then do as you wou
Mar 26, 2015 Usuyitik rated it liked it
Shelves: dünya_öykü

“9. dereceden memur Kovalev bir sabah uyandığında burnunu yerinde bulamaz.” Böyle bir açılış cümlesiyle karşılaştığınızda, Rus edebiyatından müthiş bir eserle karşı karşıya olduğunuzu bilirsiniz. St. Petersburg’un aristokrat sınıfının skandalları ile küçük memurların hayat mücadeleleri, gelişen işçi sınıfı hareketleri, vicdan muhasebeleri, nefes kesen soğuk, insanlık hallerine dair can sıkacak kadar gerçek gözlemler 19. yüzyıl Rus edebiyatının rom
Sep 10, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Leskov's stories will be enjoyed by anyone who loves Russian literature. For those who have a hard time plowing through hundreds of pages of Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, this collection provides a satisfying and more digestible collection of the rich, broad writing that flourished in Russia in the 19th century.

However, these stories are not the deep psychological studies of Dostoevsky or the comprehensive portrait of an era like War and Peace. These are truly stories, always present
Feb 18, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leskov is a gifted acrobat when it comes to balancing the line between reality and fantasy. His worlds are truly enchanted, drawing on the traditions of magical realism yet saturated with enough of the grime and horrors of daily life--the life of the Russian peasants--to make their magic that much more haunting and sinister. The repeated frame narratives throughout are a great means to this end, for the many and overlapping I-voices continually enter deeper and deeper into the gray area between ...more
Kyle Brennan
Aug 04, 2013 Kyle Brennan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was spending a few days in Paris this past April and I had heard that the Shakespeare & Co bookstore hosts a guest speaker every Monday night. I decided to give that a try my last night in the city. I had no idea who the speaker was supposed to be. It turned out to be Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose translation of Crime & Punishment I had read a few years ago and absolutely loved. Apparently they're married to one another and live in Paris; I had no idea. They spoke enth ...more
May 24, 2014 Ramin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced another excellent translation, this time of short stories by Nikolai Leskov. The book includes The Enchanted Wanderer and sixteen other stories (such as "Lefty" and "The Spook", which I enjoyed) written between 1865 and 1887. Leskov wrote at a similar time as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Turgenev, but his writing was very different. He influenced later writers such as Chekhov, Bulgakov, and more modern writers. I definitely recommend the book. The introduction, f ...more
Karen Rose
May 25, 2014 Karen Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russian 19th Century stories? Why? Well, my sister was a Russian major, I studied Russian also, and these read like Nikolai is right there at the table telling the stories first hand. Like fairy tales or Arabian Nights? Kinda like that. But better! And this edition is so beautiful, I wanted to chew it up, you know, like adorable babies. Sorry.
May 21, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Underwhelming collection of stories. There are some good ones but even those are only so so. And quite a few are not worth reading.

Hoping for a gem but I was disappointed. I did enjoy the title story quite a bit and a couple more piqued my interest. However something is off about this and it's no wonder this remains off the beaten path. Lost in translation perhaps. I'm sure it's a riot in Paruski. Or at least a bit more engaging.
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Nikolaj S. Leskow
Nikolai Leskov
Nikolaj Semënovič Leskov
Николай Лесков
Nikolaĭ Semenovich Leskov
Nikolai Ljeskow
Н. С. Лѣсков-Стебницкий
Микола Лєсков

Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov (Russian: Николай Семёнович Лесков; 16 February 1831 — 5 March 1895) was a Russian novelist, short story writer, playwright, and journalist who also wrote under the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky. Praised for his unique writing s
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“To tell about him, one should be French, because only the people of that nation manage to explain to others what they don’t understand themselves.” 2 likes
“So what—there’s plenty of time: for the two weeks of Christmastime there’s no marrying—you find me a match during that time, and on Epiphany, in the evening, we’ll get married and leave.” “My dear man,” I say, “you must have gone a bit out of your mind from boredom.” (The word “psychopath” was not yet in use among us.)” 0 likes
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