Russian Roulette

In fact, the only reference to anything like Russian
roulette I could find in Russian literature was in the book A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (1840, translated by Vladimir
Nabokov in 1958).

Surely this wasn’t the first English translation!

I read an article some years ago how the English translation of Lermontov’s story reached the West Point in the 1870’s. Russian Roulette became a fad there, resulting in the deaths of several cadets. Sorry I don’t have the reference.

By the way, Lermontov himself wasn’t exactly Russian himself. He was descended from George Learmont, a Scottish officer who entered Russian service and Russified his name.

Also, you can find the English translation of the hero at