Dersu Uzala (book)

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Dersu Uzala
Still photo from the 1975 film Dersu Uzala, with Maxim Munzuk (left front) as Dersu
AuthorV. K. Arseniev
CountryUnited States
Publication date
October 1996
Dersu Uzala (1906). Photo by V. Arsenyev

Dersu Uzala (Russian: Дерсу Узала; alternate U.S. titles: With Dersu the Hunter and Dersu the Trapper) is a 1923 memoir by the Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, concerning his travels in the Russian Far East with the Goldi hunter Dersu Uzala.

The story was made into a 1975 film Dersu Uzala, directed by Akira Kurosawa.


Arsenyev tells of his travels in the Ussuri basin in the Russian Far East. Dersu Uzala (c. 1849–1908) was a Goldi hunter who acted as a guide for Arsenyev's surveying crew mapping the taiga from 1902 to 1907 and saved them from starvation and cold. Arsenyev portrays him as a simple yet great man, an animist who sees animals and plants as equal to man. From 1907, Arsenyev invited Dersu to live in his house in Khabarovsk as Dersu's failing sight hampered his ability to live as a hunter. In the spring of 1908, Dersu bade farewell to Arsenyev and walked back toward his home in the woods of the Primorsky Krai; he was killed before he could reach them, near the town of Korfovskiy, evidently for the highly valuable latest model Russian military rifle given to him by Arsenyev as a parting gift to replace his old, worn, Berdianka. He was buried in a hastily dug grave, unmarked but for Dersu's walking stick, stuck in the earth beside it by a heartsick Arsenyev.

Editions in Russian[edit]

  • Дерсу Узала. Сквозь тайгу Издательство: Терра - Книжный клуб (1997) Н. Е. Кабанова (ed.) ISBN 9785300010973 (English: Dersu Uzala. Taiga Publishing House: Terra Book Club) (1997) N. ya. Kabanov (ed.) ISBN 9785300010973)

English translations[edit]

Film adaptations[edit]

External links[edit]