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In its adventurous happenings—its abductions, duels, and sexual intrigues—A Hero of Our Time looks backward to the tales of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron, so beloved by Russian society in the 1820s and ’30s. In the character of its protagonist, Pechorin—the archetypal Russian antihero—Lermontov’s novel looks forward to the subsequent glories of a Russian literature that it helped, in great measure, to make possible.
This edition includes a Translator’s Foreword by Vladimir Nabokov, who translated the novel in collaboration with his son, Dmitri Nabokov.
“In [A Hero of Our Time], Lermontov managed to create a fictional person whose romantic dash to cynicism, tiger-like suppleness and eagle eye, hot blood and cool head, tenderness and taciturnity, elegance and brutality, delicacy of perception and harsh passion to dominate, ruthlessness and awareness of it, are of lasting appeal to readers of all countries and centuries.” —Vladimir Nabokov, from the Translator’s Foreword
“[Lermontov’s] technique is surprisingly sophisticated, given the late development of the novel in Russian literature. Lermontov does not only dislocate chronology to achieve [his] result; in equally brilliant fashion he reinforces the effect by employing different contemporary literary genres . . . to create, in the end, a unified whole.” — T. J. Binyon, from the Introduction