The Night Before Christmas (Penguin Christmas Classics)

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9780143122487: The Night Before Christmas (Penguin Christmas Classics)

One of six beloved Christmas classics in collectible hardcover editions
 
Written in 1831 by the father of Russian literature, this uproarious tale tells of the blacksmith Vakula’s battle with the devil, who has stolen the moon and hidden it in his pocket, allowing him to wreak havoc on the village of Dikanka. Both the devil and Vakula are in love with Oksana, the most beautiful girl in Dikanka. Vakula is determined to win her over; the devil, equally determined, unleashes a snowstorm to thwart Vakula’s efforts. Zany and mischievous, and drawing inspiration from the folk tales of Gogol’s far-flung village in Ukraine, The Night Before Christmas is the basis for many movie and opera adaptations, and is still read aloud to children on Christmas Eve in Ukraine and Russia.
 
Penguin Christmas Classics
 
Give the gift of literature this Christmas.
 
Penguin Christmas Classics honor the power of literature to keep on giving through the ages. The six volumes in the series are not only our most beloved Christmas tales, they also have given us much of what we love about the holiday itself. A Christmas Carol revived in Victorian England such Christmas hallmarks as the Christmas tree, holiday cards, and caroling. The Yuletide yarns of Anthony Trollope popularized throughout the British Empire and around the world the trappings of Christmas in London. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus created the origin story for the presiding spirit of Christmas as we know it. The holiday tales of Louisa May Alcott shaped the ideal of an American Christmas. The Night Before Christmas brought forth some of our earliest Christmas traditions as passed down through folk tales. And The Nutcracker inspired the most famous ballet in history, one seen by millions in the twilight of every year.
 
Beautifully designed hardcovers—with foil-stamped jackets, decorative endpapers, and nameplates for personalization—in a small trim size that makes them perfect stocking stuffers, Penguin Christmas Classics embody the spirit of giving that is at the heart of our most time-honored stories about the holiday.
 
Collect all six Penguin Christmas Classics:
 
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol
The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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About the Author:

Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852) was the son of a Ukrainian gentleman farmer who was the author of several folk comedies. He attended a variety of boarding schools, where he proved an indifferent student but was admired for his theatrical abilities. In 1828 he moved to St. Petersburg and began to publish stories, and by the mid-1830s he had established himself in the literary world and been warmly praised by Pushkin. In 1836, his play The Inspector-General was attacked as immoral, and he left Russia, remaining abroad for most of the next dozen years. During that time he wrote two of his best-known stories, “The Nose” and “The Overcoat,” and in 1842 he published the first section of his masterpiece Dead Souls. Gogol became increasingly religious as the years passed, and in 1847 he became the disciple of an Orthodox priest who influenced him to burn the second part of Dead Souls and then abandon writing altogether. After undertaking an extreme fast, he died at the age of forty-two.

Anna Summers (translator) is the editor and translator of two books by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas and There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories, and the coeditor and cotranslator of Petrushevskaya’s There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales. Born and raised in Moscow, she now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is the literary editor of The Baffler.

Konstantin Makovsky (illustrator; 1839–1915) was one of the most celebrated artists in the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century.
 
Igor Grabar
(illustrator; 1871–1960) was a student of Konstantin Makovsky’s, and a celebrated painter in his own right.  He later became one of the premier art administrators in the Soviet Union, personally advising Joseph Stalin.

Aleksei Kivshenko (illustrator; 1851–1895) was a Russian painter acclaimed for his depictions of historical subjects, especially battles.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

PENGUIN BOOKS

THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS EVE ENDED, AND the night began, cold and clear. The stars and the crescent moon shone brightly upon the Christian world, helping all the good folks welcome the birth of our Savior. The cold grew sharper, yet the night was so quiet that one could hear the snow squeak under a traveler’s boots from half a mile away. Caroling hadn’t yet begun; village youths weren’t yet crowded outside the windows waiting for treats; the moon alone peeked through, as though inviting the girls to finish up their toilette and run out onto the clean, sparkling snow. Just then one of the chimneys began to belch clouds of black smoke, and along with them, straddling a broom, flew out a witch. If Sorochintsy’s property assessor happened to be passing by on a troika of horses in his resplendent winter attire, he surely would have noticed the witch, for that remarkable man noticed everything: every piglet, every bolt of cloth in a housewife’s trunk, each household article her husband left at the tavern on Sunday. But, unfortunately, the assessor wasn’t anywhere in the vicinity, and why would he be? He had his own district to mind.

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