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I started reading this book in ebook form because I was so eager to get to it, prompted by the references in the notes of Sasha Sokolov s Between Dog and Wolf which I d just finished So imagine the following scenario I m reading Lermontov s book on my kindle, I m listening to Mussorgsky s Night on Bare Mountain prompted by another Sokolov reference, and I ve got a google map open on my iPad in order to follow the path Lermontov s narrator takes northwards from Tbilisi across the bare and bruta I started reading this book in ebook form because I was so eager to get to it, prompted by the references in the notes of Sasha Sokolov s Between Dog and Wolf which I d just finished So imagine the following scenario I m reading Lermontov s book on my kindle, I m listening to Mussorgsky s Night on Bare Mountain prompted by another Sokolov reference, and I ve got a google map open on my iPad in order to follow the path Lermontov s narrator takes northwards from Tbilisi across the bare and brutal Caucasus mountains in a post chaise drawn by three horses while a fierce storm rages and avalanches threaten to block the mountain passes through which he travels As my eyes scroll the kindle screen, I highlight each place mentioned and then mark the spot on the google map, and I continue to do that as I read about the characters further journeys eastwards towards the Caspian Sea, and westwards towards the Black Sea, until finally the action ends somewhere in the middle near the town of Pyatigorsk, in a scene where an exhausted horse drops dead on a mountain path A hero of his time indeed Back in our time, I take a screen shot of my map, and mark up the path I d followed in the tracks of all those exhausted horses And as I do that, I think about that extra layer of record we all engage in every day, via selfies, food shots, travel shots, plus multiple other ways we use our always ready to shoot cameras, though they contain no film, but nevertheless record the film of our lives, a documentary that will exist long after after we ourselves have left the frame view spoiler hide spoiler Lermontov left the frame a long time ago, in 1841 to be exact, at the shockingly young age of 27, just slightly older than the hero of this book, Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin Like Pechorin, Lermontov was stationed with the Russian army in the Caucasus in the 1830s, and this book reads at times like a documentary record of his life there There are many passages that describe landscape in the kind of pictorial terms that allow us to see what his narrator saw, and even hear what he heard Around us all was still, so still, indeed, that it was possible to follow the flight of a gnat by the buzzing of its wings On our left loomed the gorge, deep and black Behind it and in front of us rose the dark blue summits of the mountains, all trenched with furrows and covered with layers of snow, and standing out against the pale horizon, which still retained the last reflections of the evening glow The stars twinkled out in the dark sky, and in some strange way it seemed to me that they were much higher than in our own north country On both sides of the road bare, black rocks jutted out here and there shrubs peeped forth from under the snow but not a single withered leaf stirred, and amid that dead sleep of nature it was cheering to hear the snorting of the three tired post horses and the irregular tinkling of the harness bell.The documentary feel of this book is further reinforced by the way Lermontov fills us in on the different peoples who lived in the Caucasus area during that time, the Georgians, Ossetians, Chechens and Circassians, and how those mountain tribes were viewed by thesophisticated characters from Moscow and St Petersburg who narrate the story Like a skilled film maker, Lermontov plays around with the chronology of this documentary like story, and also with the camera angles We first hear of Pechorin in a tale recounted to the narrator as he shelters from the storm on the bare mountain at the beginning of the book Then later, by chance, the narrator meets Pechorin in person and gives us his own impressions of the hero Finally we get extracts from Pechorin s diaries, written earlier and so predating both the meeting with the narrator and the story the narrator first heard in the mountains It s a clever structure providing a very modern feel to this record of a hero of his time And since I ve been reflecting on the many ways we now record every moment of our lives, it has to be said that Lermontov achieved an extraordinary feat here Not only does the book record the places he d visited and the things he d seen, it also records the circumstances of his own death as if he d made a screen shot of a future moment in time towards the end of the book, he creates a scenario in which Pechorin is challenged to a duel by an army acquaintance One of the two dies from the wounds he receives Not so very long after writing that scene, Lermontov himself became involved in a duel, just like Alexander Pushkin, and his famous character, Eugene Onegin, before him Lermontov s duel, which was the result of a challenge by an army acquaintance, took place while he was stationed in the Caucasus region in 1841 He died from the wounds he received Although I began reading this book in digital form, I finished it in the Penguin Classics edition which I eventually bought in my local bookshop, certain that I wanted to make a place for Lermontov on my real life bookshelves And imagine my surprise when I opened the book After reading the foreword, the introduction, and the acknowledgments, I found a double page spread containing a map tracing the path of the events of the story But the printed map was not nearly as clear or as meaningful as the one I d recorded myself For once, I was glad to have chosen an ebook Oh, and now I m reading Pushkin One of the most interesting, eye opening books I ve read I m not that familiar with Russian literature, but theI read, theI m falling in love with them This book has got to be one of the most extended, sustained meditation on the egotistical mind of a young casanova But strangely, the novel doesn t make me despise its protagonist There is something intriguing, almost refreshing about the calculated cruelty yet disarming honesty of the protagonist He knows he can t commit and say One of the most interesting, eye opening books I ve read I m not that familiar with Russian literature, but theI read, theI m falling in love with them This book has got to be one of the most extended, sustained meditation on the egotistical mind of a young casanova But strangely, the novel doesn t make me despise its protagonist There is something intriguing, almost refreshing about the calculated cruelty yet disarming honesty of the protagonist He knows he can t commit and says so Then he ponders about the meaning of life and why he was born when he causes the misery of so many around him This book raises the questions of why we do somehow, irrationally, get attracted to such characters As a female reader, I m just amazed by the intricacies of the protagonist s mind and I loved the experience of entering into his psyche with his elaborate schemes to seduce women This is definitely also a great book for those who want to educate themselves on how crafty a casanova s mind can be while some male readers may secretly admire the protagonist s antics and admit him to be a hero of our time I highly recommend it I sing whatever comes into my head It ll be heard by who it s meant for, and who isn t meant to hear won t understand Free will is the ability to chooseNo I would like to believe so But there are countless limitations and restrictions which make me wonder why we have been granted with it, if we are going to be judged and chastised for our choices This is such an argument of a man, Pechorin, who is often alienated for his nullifying philosophical and vilifying romantic views.There is so I sing whatever comes into my head It ll be heard by who it s meant for, and who isn t meant to hear won t understand Free will is the ability to chooseNo I would like to believe so But there are countless limitations and restrictions which make me wonder why we have been granted with it, if we are going to be judged and chastised for our choices This is such an argument of a man, Pechorin, who is often alienated for his nullifying philosophical and vilifying romantic views.There is something superfluous about this story, a superficial one might think I ask you, dear readers Haven t you ever felt superfluous about your life at all If the answer is NO, you better not read this book and also my super superfluous words If the answer is YES, I welcome you to read further, starting with the words of the poet whose words on superfluity are too profound to be categorized as superfluous That man of loneliness and mystery, Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh Whose name appalls the fiercest of his crew, And tints each swarthy cheek with sallower hue Still sways their souls with that commanding art That dazzles, leads, yet chills the vulgar heart What is that spell, that thus his lawless train Confess and envy yet oppose in vain What should it be, that thus their faith can bind The power of Thought the magic of the Mind Linked with success, assumed and kept with skill, That molds another s weakness to its will Wields with their hands, but, still to these unknown, Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own Such hath it been shall be beneath the Sun The many still must labour for the one Tis Nature s doom but let the wretch who toils, Accuse not hate not him who wears the spoils Oh if he knew the weight of splendid chains, How light the balance of his humbler pains George Gordon, Lord ByronOur hero, a character of incompatibility, is not a romantic hero with overwhelming love for his women But, at the same time, his feelings for them are genuine, even if they are only transient The futility of existence and the certainty of death drives him away from the banal lives which others live, to live in an ineffable solitude His fleeting romantic adventures do not give him much hope He was strangely struck by the feminine tenderness and servile relationships Fickle friendships made him disillusioned Triumph over others losses and his being the reason for them made him relish his existence Vanity extends his claws deep inside him But he can t help despising himself There is nowhere he can go There is no love which can absolve him from his troubled life Lost loves make himwretched Friendship has becomeor less an obligation rather than an enchantment Life has become an After Life he is afraid of Duel has become his destiny.No our hero is a romantic hero who sulks in his melancholy for his superfluous life His women feel No he is not an infidel that they are simply being enslaved by his futile pursuits and aimless adventures He is not the one who is meant to be happy With his growing dissatisfaction with his life, everyone gets rid of him or, sometimes, he forces them to But nobody can understand how far he would go, just to take even a last look of his lost love, even if he needs to torment another soul willy nilly Such is the ordeal of our hero.Closing the argument with the preface from the author, A Hero of Our Time, my dear readers, is indeed a portrait, but not of one man It is a portrait built up of all our generation s vices in full bloom You will again tell me that a human being cannot be so wicked, and I will reply that if you can believe in the existence of all the villains of tragedy and romance, why wouldn t believe that there was a Pechorin If you could admire farterrifying and repulsive types, why aren t youmerciful to this character, even if it is fictitious Isn t it because there struth in it than you might wish Note Better read with Nabokov s translation Truly Splendid I decided that I am not going to write anything about this book which is quite amazing and puzzling in its own ways And it is indeed sad what had happened to Lermontov.Check out Florencia s amazing review of this great book A Hero of Our Time, part swashbuckler, part travelogue, which first appeared in 1839, cleary had an influence over another certain famous Russian writer who sported a great big long grey beard Infact this could quite easily have been written by Tolstoy himself Opening in a vast landscape, the narrator is travelling through the Caucasus, he explains that he is not a novelist, but a travel writer, making notes Think a sort of Paul Theroux type The mountainous region were supposedly fabled, Noa A Hero of Our Time, part swashbuckler, part travelogue, which first appeared in 1839, cleary had an influence over another certain famous Russian writer who sported a great big long grey beard Infact this could quite easily have been written by Tolstoy himself Opening in a vast landscape, the narrator is travelling through the Caucasus, he explains that he is not a novelist, but a travel writer, making notes Think a sort of Paul Theroux type The mountainous region were supposedly fabled, Noah s ark apparently passed by the twin peaks of Mount Elborus Must have been a wonderful spectacle for the elephants, giraffes, and rhinos Beyond the natural border of the River Terek was an alluring and dangerous terrain, where Ossetians, Georgians, Tatars and Chechens harried Russian soldiers and travellers, or offered uncertain alliances But just who could you trust Lermontov s narrator marvels at the purity of the mountain air, and the delights of welcoming a sense of withdrawing from the world But he also feels a sombre and bewildering depth, that the hidden valleys hold a foreboding He meets an old Caucasus hand, a staff captain called Maxim Maximych, who has been in Chechnya for a decade and who warns him about the dangerous ways of the region s inhabitants Maxim Maximych begins to rabble on to his new found friend about the ravishing tale of a young officer he met five years earlier, Pechorin who is now dead had a lively energy and a changeable temperament, he could hunt for days one minute, and hide in his room the next Whilst spending time at Maximych s fort, Bela, the daughter of a Tatar prince caught his eye, casting flirtatious looks at him as one does And even sings him a love song Ahhh, how sweet.This story then involves the Prince s son, who is after the horse of a local bandit, Pechorin offers him a deal He steals the horse, if Bela is delivered to him But after the exchange, the bandit goes looking for blood.Unlike Tolstoy, this is not some huge Russian beast of a novel, as it sits comfortably at under two hundred pages Although there turns out to be three different narrators, the whole thing works well, and is perfectly graspable for anyone who has read any of the old Russian classics Lermontov doesn t beat around the bush when kicking things off, and builds a picture straight away The book makes its points efficiently, in a little amount of time The character of Pechorin was farintriguing than anyone else, and his part of the overall story I found the better What is striking is Lermontov s handling of form, the way Pechorin emerges gradually in a fragmented narrative that anticipates Modernism in its perspectival shifts The book not only pleased Leo, but Gogol, Dostoevsky and Chekhov as well Lermontov deserves to mingle in with this crowd He really wouldn t be out of place He demonstrates that literature is the most beautiful artform when written in this fashion There is something in A Hero of Our Time that even time is powerless to destroy The novel is full of everlasting feelings and motives that ruled human beings in ancient times and keep ruling now I was so delighted to be so high above the world it was a childlike feeling, I won t deny it, but withdrawing from the demands of society, and drawing near to nature, we become children without meaning to, and everything that has been acquired falls away from the soul and it becomes as it once was, There is something in A Hero of Our Time that even time is powerless to destroy The novel is full of everlasting feelings and motives that ruled human beings in ancient times and keep ruling now I was so delighted to be so high above the world it was a childlike feeling, I won t deny it, but withdrawing from the demands of society, and drawing near to nature, we become children without meaning to, and everything that has been acquired falls away from the soul and it becomes as it once was, and probably will be once again Feeling affinity with nature always makes one purer and nobler but civilization doesn t let one go and demands to obey its conventions in the end Yes, such has been my lot since early childhood Everyone would read on my face evil signs that weren t even there But they were assumed to be there, and so they were born in me I was modest and I was accused of craftiness I started to be secretive I had deep feelings of good and evil No one caressed me everyone insulted me I became rancorous I was sullen other children were merry and chatty I felt myself to be superior to them and I was made inferior I grew envious I was prepared to love the whole world and no one understood me and I learned to hate My colorless youth elapsed in a struggle with myself and the world And anyone who doesn t want to abide by social restrictions is destined to become an odd man a man for whom there is no place among the others I have already surpassed that period in a soul s life when it seeks only happiness, when the heart feels a necessity to love someone strongly and ardently Now I only want to be loved, and at that, only by a very few But if one is strange he is bound to remain a stranger I ve been meaning to read this one for a while It s one of those Russian classics that s always on those lists A Hero of Our Time has an interesting format It s split into sections but these sections are all very different and sometimes don t even involve our hero Pechorin This is all well and good but for a novel that s under 200 pages you d think that Lermontov would have actually focused on some sort of plot instead of piss arseing around with the structure Not to mention that this nov I ve been meaning to read this one for a while It s one of those Russian classics that s always on those lists A Hero of Our Time has an interesting format It s split into sections but these sections are all very different and sometimes don t even involve our hero Pechorin This is all well and good but for a novel that s under 200 pages you d think that Lermontov would have actually focused on some sort of plot instead of piss arseing around with the structure Not to mention that this novel is basically Caucasus fanfiction At points you d think Lermontov got off with the mountains or something the way he writes about them It s like Tolkien and his blades of fucking grass However, eventually the story does actually being at some point near the end and we are presented with an enjoyable and classic love story, Russian style which is shorthand for death Why would you read this Well because it s basically Russian literature s equivalent of David Copperfield and the main character, Pechorin, is a whiny cunt I mean he hates everything and is constantly complaining about women and life and life and women, he s basically the Russian Holden Caulfield but without the brother issues I saw a lot of myself in Pechorin Which worried me slightly The story of a man s soul, even the pettiest of souls, is only slightly less intriguing and edifying than the history of an entire people, especially when it is a product of the observations of a ripe mind about itself, and when it is written without the vain desire to excite sympathy or astonishment Driven by an early infatuation with Romanticism, tempered by subsequent disillusions, Mikhail Lermontov constructed his only novel around the troubled personality of a young Russian officer, exile The story of a man s soul, even the pettiest of souls, is only slightly less intriguing and edifying than the history of an entire people, especially when it is a product of the observations of a ripe mind about itself, and when it is written without the vain desire to excite sympathy or astonishment Driven by an early infatuation with Romanticism, tempered by subsequent disillusions, Mikhail Lermontov constructed his only novel around the troubled personality of a young Russian officer, exiled from the high society of Leningrad and Moscow to the wild frontier of the Caucasus A melange of autobiographical elements and sharp observations of his fellow officers, this Pechorin is indeed both larger than life in his turbulent passions and representative of a certain period in the development of Russian society and of its literary identity, a true hero of his times, as proven by the enduring popularity of the present novel His name was Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin A wonderful fellow, I dare say Only a little strange too I knew many readers hold this novel in high regard, yet I was still surprised by how vibrant the mountain setting is, how memorable the character of Pechorin turned out to be and how modern the approach to the character study still feels, after all these years Lermontov himself, as I read from his online biography, was both controversial in his temperament and fiery in his passions, just like Pechorin I am convinced that, while actual details from the five novellas included in the book and most of the characters are fictitious, the internal monologues and the big questions about life and fate, love and sadness, passion and tedium are comingfrom the heart of the author than from his literary fancy The soul inside me is corrupted by the world, my imagination is restless, my heart is insatiable Nothing is ever enough I have become as used to sorrow as I am to delight, and my life becomesempty from one day to the next Probably the most unsettling and eerily visionary episode in the novel is a deadly duel between Pechorin and Grushnitsky, a fellow officer Life imitates art, as a similar episode will put a tragic end to the poet s life only a few years after the novel was published But there isthan meets the eye in this duel Grushnitsky, a vain and self centered opportunist, is only a fake Romantic hero who strikes a pose in order to impress a young lady, while Pechorin may be, by his own admission, one of the cleverest rakes of his generation, but at least his doubts and his search for meaning feel genuine This is how Grushnitsky is presentedHe doesn t know people and their weak strings because he has been occupied with himself alone for his whole life His goal is to be the hero of a novel He has so often tried to convince people that he is not of this world but is doomed to some sort of secret torture, that he has almost convinced himself of it I see in Lermontov s disillusionment with the Romantic movement and his adoption of keen psychological study his greatest gift to the next generation of Russian writers, the transition from Goethe, Hugo, Byron, Scott and Pushkin all idols of young Lermontov, all referenced directly in the novel to Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and so on I wonder what else this talented student of life would have written if his life was not cut down in his prime.Coming back to the novel itself, I called it a psychological study, but I don t want to gloss over the fact that these stories are also damn entertaining as tales of adventure from the kidnapping and seducing of a Circassian princess to a perilous winter traverse of a high Caucasus mountain pass, from a meeting with smugglers by the sea of Azov to a replay of les liaisons dangereuses in a mountain spa, finished with a game of Russian Roulette in an army barracks The author plays both with the timeline of events and with the narrative voice, re enforcing my conviction that he is well ahead of his times as regards the modern novel Most importantly, a lesson many new authors seem to have forgotten, Lermontov does not prejudge his characters, he presents the facts and lets the readers come to their own conclusions Is Pechorin really a tragic, misunderstood hero, or just a dangerous scoundrel There are arguments to be made for both positions I was prepared to love the whole world and no one understood me and I learned to hate My colorless youth elapsed in a struggle with myself and the world Fearing mockery, I buried my most worthy feelings in the depths of my heart and they died there I was telling the truth and no one believed me so I started lying I hesitate to use the modern trope of the unreliable narrator maybe it s the thought that a man has no reason to lie in his private journals as most of the story is presented maybe it s the fact that this disillusionment with life, this quest for meaning in Pechorin s journey is just as timeless as it is unsolvable Few of us are without conflicted emotions and contrarian impulses Few of us can still lay claim to our youthful optimism and enthusiasm after experiencing a few hard falls down the road through life What is a bit shocking is how early Pechorin Lermontov came to this crossroadI hoped that boredom didn t exist under Chechen bullets, but it was in vain within a month I was so used to their whirring and to the nearness of death, that really, I paidattention to the mosquitoes And I wasbored than before, because I had lost what was nearly my last hope If there was a choice between youth and wisdom, which way will you travel Pechorin is unique in the fact that he is both young and wise, and probably this is the source of his pain and his boredom Passions are nothing other than the first developments of an idea they are a characteristic of the heart s youth, and whoever thinks to worry about them his whole life long is a fool many calm rivers begin with a noisy waterfall, but not one of them jumps and froths until the very sea And this calm is often the sign of great, though hidden, strength This Pechorin knows how to present a compelling argument in defense of his whimsy, yet his actions are often impulsive and driven by lust or by pride even by boredom Still, if I was to chose a theme that links the five novellas together it would be love there are hints at a wild life and crazy loves in the life of our hero before he came to the Caucasus, and these events are probably responsible both for his enduring passion for the gentle sex and for his equally strong disinclination to commit to a lasting relationship Moving his ardor from the nubile rebel daughter Bella, to a strange fisher girl by the sea, then torn between a married woman Vera and a virginal princess Mary Pechorin is both attracted and repulsed by the eternal mystery of a woman Finally they have arrived I was sitting at the window when I heard the clatter of their carriage my heart started what was that I couldn t be in love Yet I am so inanely composed that you might expect something like this of me This condescending, domineering attitude towards women is another aspect of the times described in the novel, and Pechorin is mostly a typical male in this field of battle,interested in conquest than in dialogueThere isn t anything as paradoxical as a woman s mind it s hard to convince a woman of anything, you have to lead them to convince themselves Since poets started writing, and women have been reading them and for this, profound gratitude is owed , women have been called angels so many times that, with heartfelt simplicity, they actually believe this compliment, forgetting that these are the very same poets who glorified Nero as a demi god for money There are probably many theories about Pechorin s inability to truly fall in love, but my favorite is an admission he makes after he loses both women soon after they confess their love for him I sometimes despise myself is that not why I despise others I have become incapable of noble impulses I am afraid to seem ridiculous to myself An even better observation, and probably one of the best passages in the whole novel, is an alternating perspective coming from one of these conquered ladies in the form of a farewell letterYou have behaved with me as any other man would have behaved with me You loved me as property, as a source of joy, anxiety, and sadness, all mutually exchangeable, without which life is tedious and monotonous I understood this at the beginning But you were unhappy and I sacrificed myself, hoping that at some point you would value my sacrifice, that at some point you would understand my profound affection, which didn t come with any conditions Much time has passed since then I penetrated every secret of your soul and became convinced that it had been a useless aspiration How bitter it was for me But my love had grown into my soul It had dimmed but it had not gone out The novel ends in multiple failures lovers lost, enemies killed, friendships misplaced The last episode is titles The Fatalist , a coda to a futile effort to understand and to enjoy life Why strive, if it all ends absurdly on the turn of a dice Yet, here is Pechorin writing down his thoughts in his private journals, here is Lermontov writing the only novel of his brief career, trying to say something important We almost always forgive those we understand They may not have been heroes or angels, brave or righteous, trustworthy or sincere, but they were young, passionate, conflicted like the times they lived throughSome will say he was a good fellow, others will say I was a swine Both one and the other would be wrong Given this, does it seem worth the effort to live And yet, you live, out of curiosity, always wanting something new Amusing and vexing When the men and their troubles are gone, the mountains will remain massive, patient, majestic, inspiring I was so delighted to be so high above the world it was a childlike feeling, I won t deny it, but withdrawing from the demands of society, and drawing near to nature, we become children without meaning to, and everything that has been acquired falls away from the soul and it becomes as it once was, and probably will be once again a painting of the Caucasus by Lermontov Heros de notretemps A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov A Hero of Our Time Russian , Geroy nashego vremeni is a novel by Mikhail Lermontov, written in 1839, published in 1840, and revised in 1841.It is an example of the superfluous man novel, noted for its compelling Byronic hero or antihero Pechorin and for the beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus There are several English translations, including one by Vladimir Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov i Heros de notretemps A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov A Hero of Our Time Russian , Geroy nashego vremeni is a novel by Mikhail Lermontov, written in 1839, published in 1840, and revised in 1841.It is an example of the superfluous man novel, noted for its compelling Byronic hero or antihero Pechorin and for the beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus There are several English translations, including one by Vladimir Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov in 1958 1982 1331 246 1388 9789643516000 224 1391 190 9789640015162 19 1357 313 Heros de notretemps 19 1392 228 19 {DOWNLOAD} Õ Un eroe dei nostri tempi õ Il ritratto di un uomo e di un intera generazione in cinque racconti l antieroe Pecorin e il suo alter ego Maksim Maksimyc Una pietra miliare nella storia del romanzo russo dell Ottocento Un Eroe dei Nostri Tempi proprio un ritratto, ma non di una persona il ritratto che nasce dai vizi di tutta la nostra generazione, nel pieno del loro sviluppo Mi direte ancora che un uomo non pu essere cos malvagio e io vi dir che se avete creduto alla possibile esistenza di tutti gli scellerati tragici e romantici, perch non credete alla realt di Pecorin Dite che la morale da tutto ci non ne guadagna Agli uomini han dato fin troppi dolciumi perci il loro stomaco si guastato servono medicine amare, verit irritanti Dalla Prefazione ForewordIntroductionAcknowledgementsSuggestions for Further ReadingMap A Hero of Our Time Notes