Despite the continued output over more than thirty years of much high-quality fiction and despite his popularity among Russian readers, Nikolai Leskov’s immense narrative talent went largely unrecognized by the critics of his time. He was to some extent eclipsed by his great contemporaries: Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoevski, and Leo Tolstoy. He was also adversely affected by the view that only big novels really “counted.” Finally, he was caught in political cross fire and early in his career was virtually read out of literature by certain radical critics for his supposed retrograde views. Nevertheless, the first twelve-volume edition of his collected works (1889-1896) was a symbolic acknowledgment of his status as a classic, and that status has been more and more widely recognized in the decades since his death. New Russian editions of his works are frequent, and there is a substantial body of scholarship dealing with him. His reputation has also spread abroad, and many volumes of translations and of books about him have been published in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, and other languages. He is regarded as a major narrative artist and a thoughtful critic and moralist, a keen and often caustic observer of Russian society, and an especially penetrating and well-informed commentator on Russian religious life.