Well I am not going to go on about the so-called 'superfluous man' garb that most people append to Pechorin, cos that is merely fashion, and fashion is too shallow and ephemeral. So, Lermontov died in a duel aged 27 and lived a turbulent and cocky life just like the hero of the novel, Pechorin. I really enjoy late 19th century Russian novels, mainly for the strange humour instilled in the characters and situations, and the profoundity of the ideas involved. Lermontov writes in a similar way to Voltaire, by using imagery that is quite parse, and jokes at the expense of the ludricous members of society. Pechorin's rivalry and duel with the ridiculous 'romantic' in the army uniform is hilarious. Pechorin himself definitely influenced Gogol and Dostoevsky, and opened up a whole new way of viewing the hero in a novel. I don't go with the whole, 'anti-hero' fad, because a hero is a hero independent of the times. Pechorin is obviously not fighting for the glory of Athens are whatever, but he is still the hero of the novel and of the time. The closest thing to what Pechorin represents I guess is the absurd man of Camus:
'He who, without negating it, does nothing for the eternal...he prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. Assured of his temporally limited freedom, of his revolt devoid of future and of his mortal consciousness, he lives out his adventure within the span of his lifetime. That is his field, that is his action, which he shields from any judgement but his own.' (Myth of Sysiphus, Camus). Great book, read it now!