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Nikolai Leskov (1831-1895) was a master of the short story, yet he also wrote a novel, The Cathedral Clergy (1872), which quickly became a Russian classic. His style combines folklore motifs and mixes the language of poor townspeople with a sophisticated elegance and irony. The nickname of the protagonist of his story Lefty (Levsha), who shod a mechanical flea, entered the Russian lexicon to mean a highly-skilled artisan. Another of his stories, Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk, became famous as the plot of an opera by Dmitry Shostakovich.