THIS novel, known as one of the masterpieces of Russian Literature, under the title "A Hero of our Time," and already translated into at least nine European languages, is now for the first time placed before the general English Reader.
Author: M. Lermontov
A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov A Masterpiece of Russian Literature Brand New Edition A Hero of Our Time is a novel by Mikhail Lermontov, written in 1839 and revised in 1841. It is an example of the superfluous man novel, noted for its compelling Byronic hero (or anti-hero) Pechorin and for the beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus. There are several English translations, including one by Vladimir Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov in 1958. THIS novel, known as one of the masterpieces of Russian Literature, under the title "A Hero of our Time," and already translated into at least nine European languages, is now for the first time placed before the general English Reader. The work is of exceptional interest to the student of English Literature, written as it was under the profound influence of Byron and being itself a study of the Byronic type of character. The Translators have taken especial care to preserve both the atmosphere of the story and the poetic beauty with which the Poet-novelist imbued his pages. Plot Structure The book is divided into five short stories or novellas, with an authorial preface added in the second edition. There are three major narrators. The first is a young, unnamed officer in the Russian army travelling through the Caucasus mountains. He is documenting his travels for publication later. Almost as soon as the story begins, he meets Captain Maxim Maximovich, who is significantly older and has been stationed in the Caucuses for a long time. He is therefore wise to the lifestyle of Russian soldiers in this region, and immediately demonstrates this to the narrator through his interactions with the local Ossetian tribesman. Maxim Maximovich serves as the second narrator, relaying to his traveling companion stories of his interactions with Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin, the main character of the story and the ultimate Byronic hero. Maxim Maximovich was stationed in the Caucuses with Pechorin for some time, though when and for how long is not specified. Ultimately, Maxim Maximovich gives Pechorin's diaries to the unnamed narrator. Pechorin seemingly abandoned them when he was discharged from his post, and the old Captain has been carrying them around since. The third narrator is Pechorin himself. However, unlike the other two, he is not actually a character immediately in the story. Instead, he narrates through his diaries, which were published along with the unnamed narrator's travel notes after Pechorin's death. The diaries, however, seem to switch at least once from the past tense (as a diary would be written) to the present tense. Pechorin, the "hero of our time" is shown to be alternately impulsive and calculating through Maxim Maximovich's stories. He is shown to be calculating, manipulative, emotionally unavailable and arrogant through his own recollections. However he is both sensitive and cynical as well as intelligent, a fact he is all too aware of. In the longest novella, Princess Mary, Pechorin flirts with the Princess of the title, while conducting an affair with his ex-lover Vera, and kills his friend Grushnitsky (of whom he is secretly contemptuous) in a duel in which the participants stand in turn on the edge of a cliff so that the loser's death can be explained as an accidental fall. Eventually he rejects one woman only to be abandoned by the other.