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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 collection.
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.
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