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A Hero of Our Time Paperback – Jul 7 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 7 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486451291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486451299
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,184,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"It's high time an up-to-date and idiomatic version of A Hero of Our Time was made available to American readers. Marion Schwartz's translation of Lermontov's classic adventure novel captures all the suppleness and wit of Lermontov's prose, the fine texture of his descriptions and the galloping rhythm of his narrative passages. This is a fine addition to the Modern Library." -- Michael Scammell

“Military life in the Caucasus, bandits, duels, romance--at the hands of a passionate adventurer with "a restless imagination, an insatiable heart. That is Pechorin, and also Lermontov. If you have a personal all-time bestseller list, make room for A Hero of our Time. “-- Alan Furst

"In Russia Mikhail Lermontov is considered one of the greatest writers of the nineteenth century. Marian Schwarz's compelling translation shows us why." -- Peter Constantine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Introduction by Timothy Binyon Translated by Vladimir and Dmitri Nabokov --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first great of Russian prose is also translated by one of the great writers of the 20th century. Don't bother with this translation! Find the one by Nabokov. It's the tiny differences that count, and the book is worth buying just for Nabokov's introduction and notes.
As for the book itself, Taman ..., but the other four stories are wonderful, especially Princess Mary and The Fatalist. Anyone with a little Romantic spirit can't help but be entranced by Pechorin. Other than Stendhal, no one else covered this ground in a novel nearly as well as Lermontov.
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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book that evry reader who likes Russian humanism will admire. If you like authors like Dostovevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekov, etc.. you must read this book. The hero, Pechorin, suffers from an angst,an emptiness that he finds hard to describe but that prevents him from finding happiness and peace in his life. A feeling, I think, that most of us can relate at some level. I have read this book in English and in Russian. Unfortunately the English reader will appreciate only the story. The true beauty of this book is the wonderful style that it is written , the best part of this book is lost in translation. It is so beautifully written in Russian however that it is almost worth learning and becoming fluent in Russian just to read this book
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Format: Hardcover
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!
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Format: Paperback
This was Lermontov's only novel, published a year before his death in a duel at the age of 27. Although it was written in the late 1830s, it is strikingly modern both in its structure and in its treatment of the hero.
In structure, the book consists of a collection of short stories and novellas rather than a single narrative. These stories, however, are linked in two ways. Firstly, all feature the same protagonist, Grigoriy Pechorin, a young officer serving with the Russian army in the Caucasus. Secondly, they are bound together by a complex framework featuring a single anonymous narrator (not to be identified with Lermontov himself), a traveller in the Caucasus. The first story, Bela, is supposedly told to this narrator by Maksim Maksimych, a brother-officer of Pechorin. The second, Maksim Maksimych, is related by the narrator himself and deals with a meeting between Pechorin and Maksim. The other three, Taman, Princess Mary and The Fatalist, are all told in Pechorin's own words, taken from his journal which has come into the narrator's hands after Pechorin's death.
It is the fourth tale, Princess Mary, which is the longest and the one which lies at the heart of the work. Bela and Taman are adventure stories with an exotic setting (the Caucasus had the same sort of appeal for nineteenth-century Russians as India had for their British contemporaries). Maksim Maksimych is a linking narrative, and the final story, The Fatalist is an unsettling, spooky treatment of the concepts of fate and predestination.
In Princess Mary, the mood changes abruptly from the romantic exoticism of the earlier stories. Pechorin is stationed in a fashionable spa town in the northern Caucasus.
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Format: Hardcover
As the term. "hero" means, Pechorin is a character who
represents the society, distinguished from all other
contemporaries. However, he is not a usual or heroic hero. The
title is perhaps named this way because he has the most general
characteristics that we have inside. In other words, Pechorin
is not a portrait of someone specific, but of ourselves. Or we
may be more evil and vice than he.
Personally, I don't think he truly loved anyone, but himself.
From this egoism arises all the vice and faults. On one hand,
we could easily identify him with the main character,Meursault,
of "The Stranger"(Albert Camus) in that they both are
indifferent in other people's business and never harming them
in any way, unless the people try to harm them.
Arrogance is what's inside of Pechorin. He stands still even
when he faces the risk of death, although he already knows the
trick and gets ready for it, kneeling toward not to fall back
under the valley. Then is he a fatalist? Does he really believe
in fate as he says? Fate,or luck here,has been with him always.
It is too vague to limit the boundary of fatalst, because if
someone believes in fate only in some parts, he or she is still
a fatalist, as a limited-fatalist.
Some people might say that Pechorin has a lot in common with
Onegin, as Lermontov is called, "The Second Pushkin,"
or "Pushkin's Successor." In my opinion, Lermontov is yet far
away to be a "Pushkin." In this book, Lermontov shows distinct
orientalism towards Kavkaz and other Asia. He failed to see the
whole world without biased discrimination and literary
prejudices which Pushkin got over with when mature.
Still Pechorin is a hero, compared to Onegin.
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