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Traveling through the wilds of the Caucasian Mountains, a young man makes the acquaintance of Maxim Maximych, an experienced soldier and veritable raconteur. As they take refuge from the harsh wintry conditions, Maximych begins to tell the scandalous history of his one-time companion Pechorin, a self-confessed rake. Talented and highly intelligent, Pechorin is nevertheless weary of the world and all it has to offer. Cynical in the extreme, he can muster no other motivation than the avoidance of boredom. To this end, he embarks upon a series of Byronic exploits. Whether kidnapping the daughter of a local chieftain, organizing a smuggling ring, fighting duels, toying with fate, or capturing the hearts of beautiful society women, he remains entirely immune from any depth of emotion. This inspired study of a man and a society in crisis reveals the archetypal antihero not only of the Russian novel but of world literature.
A brilliant new translation of a perennial favorite of Russian Literature The first major Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time was both lauded and reviled upon publication. Its dissipated hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a beautiful and magnetic but nihilistic young army officer, bored by life and indifferent to his many sexual conquests. Chronicling his unforgettable adventures in the Caucasus involving brigands, smugglers, soldiers, rivals, and lovers, this classic tale of alienation influenced Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov in Lermontov's own century, and finds its modern-day counterparts in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, the novels of Chuck Palahniuk, and the films and plays of Neil LaBute.
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. (From the Hardcover edition.)
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