Five great stories from one of the most quintessentially Russian of writers, Nikolai Leskov. In the best of Leskov's stories, as in almost no others apart from those of Gogol, we can hear the voice of nineteenth-century Russia. An outsider by birth and instinct, Leskov is one of the most undeservedly neglected figures in Russian literature. He combined a profoundly religious spirit with a fascination for crime, an occasionally lurid imagination and a great love for the Russian vernacular. This volume includes five of his greatest stories, including the masterful Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov was born in 1831 in Gorokhovo, Oryol Province and was orphaned early. In 1860 he became a journalist and moved to Petersburg where he published his first story. He subsequently wrote a number of folk legends and Christmas tales, along with a few anti-nihilistic novels which resulted in isolation from the literary circles of his day. He died in 1895. David McDuff is a translator of Russian and Nordic literature. His translations of nineteenth and twentieth century Russian prose classics (including works by Dostoyevsky,Tolstoy, Bely and Babel) are published by Penguin.