Alexander Pushkin was Russia's first true literary genius. Best known for his poetry, he also wrote sparkling prose that revealed his national culture with elegance and understated humour. Here, his gift for portraying the Russian people is fully revealed. The Tales of Belkin, his first prose masterpiece, presents a series of interlinked stories narrated by a good-hearted Russian squire - among them 'The Shot', in which a duel is revisited after many years, and the grotesque 'The Undertaker'. Elsewhere, works such as the novel-fragment Roslavlev and the Egyptian Nights, the tale of an Italian balladeer seeking an audience in St. Petersberg, demonstrate the wide range of Pushkin's fiction. A Journey to Arzrum, the final piece in this collection, offers an autobiographical account of Pushkin's own experiences in the 1829 war between Russia and Turkey, and remains one of the greatest of all pieces of journalistic adventure writing.
ALEXANDER PUSHKIN was born in Moscow in 1799, and died in 1837, challenging a troublesome admirer of his wife to a duel. RONALD WILKS has translated many Russian works for Penguin, including Chekhov's MY APPRENTICESHIP, THE KISS AND OTHER STORIES, and THE PARTY AND OTHER STORIES (available in Penguin Classics). JOHN BAYLEY is Warton Professor of English Literature, Oxford University. He has written many books, and has also introduced Pushkin's EUGENE ONEGIN for Penguin Classics.