By Mikhail Lermontov
An excellent new translation of a perennial favourite of Russian Literature
The first significant Russian novel, A Hero of Our Time used to be either lauded and reviled upon e-book. Its dissipated hero, twenty-five-year-old Pechorin, is a gorgeous and magnetic yet nihilistic younger military officer, bored by means of existence and detached to his many sexual conquests. Chronicling his unforgettable adventures within the Caucasus regarding brigands, smugglers, squaddies, competitors, and fanatics, this vintage story of alienation encouraged Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov in Lermontov's personal century, and unearths its modern day opposite numbers in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, the novels of Chuck Palahniuk, and the flicks and performs of Neil LaBute.
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Extra info for A Hero of Our Time
You may be sure," I replied, "that the answer is ready, but because it would need a long discussion and would take us far from the subject we are dealing with now, we shall put it aside for another occasion. However since, as you know, that is one of the principal difficulties of modern poetry, I considered its nature and basis when I made the plan of my work, and if I decided not to use magic, the reason was not that I thought it bad but merely unnatural to my subject owing to the circumstances of its time, place, and character and its illumination by the excessively bright light of history; besides that, I should require much more discretion in the use of magic in our romances than in the use of Homer's divinities.
35 THE CONTINENTAL MODEL I was about to reply when Monsieur Menage said: "You are arguing about nothing and it is of no importance to the question which of you says yes or no. " "So," said Monsieur Sarasin, "after the proof we have given you we have at least won this point from you, that the book is good for something and that the French language may receive from its authority a remarkable enrichment. " "Would that not be enough," I replied, "even if there were no other? I have already told you that when first I began to read it that was the only advantage I sought in it.
But the greater the difficulty in finding this intermediate style which is expressive but not distasteful to the reader, the greater also the praise due to the mind which found it and to the judgment which had the skill to make use of it precisely in a subject which not only permits this but requires it for its own perfection; you may judge particularly whether the fable of Adone does this by what we have said about it above. If then our friend used this style on this occasion he must have done so more by judicious choice than by compulsion, and he merits special praise for this as being the first of the moderns who has ventured upon detailed description, in which the essence of poetry consists (I mean by this its energy and imitation) and that, moreover, without having played his subject false and without having stooped to what is base; consider, I beg of you, what subject he chose in order to achieve this success, and how elevated it is in its simplicity.