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A Hero of Our Time

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  47,624 ratings  ·  1,535 reviews
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 and passion of Russian li ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published August 30th 1966 by Penguin Classics (first published 1840)
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LB The last one I read was by Paul Foote. I found it perfect. It's British English, very readable and follows the original very well (I am bilingual Engl…moreThe last one I read was by Paul Foote. I found it perfect. It's British English, very readable and follows the original very well (I am bilingual English-Russian and read the book in Russian too albeit years ago). (less)

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Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian, favorites
And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But pride congealed the drop within his e'e...

- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto I, Stanza VI)

Another life that vanished too soon. Mikhail Lermontov was only 26 years old when he was killed in a duel. Same fate as another Russian genius, Alexander Pushkin, to whom he dedicated his poem "Death of the Poet": And thus he died - for vengeance vainly thir
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
Ask a Westerner about great Russian writers, and chances are you will hear the names of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy or Chekhov. But my mind instead immediately jumps to the earlier, more Romanticist generation of the early 19th century - Pushkin and Lermontov, two young geniuses, neither of whom has lived to see 40.
It’s easy to forget how ridiculously young Lermontov was. Pushkin, Russia’s greatest poet, was killed in a duel at only 37. Lermontov, the second-greatest, died in the same ridiculous way —
Parthiban Sekar
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Parthiban by: Florencia
“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 choose...No! 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
Steven Godin
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Chin Hwa
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavophilia, classics
One of the most interesting, eye-opening books I've read. I'm not that familiar with Russian literature, but the more I read, the more I'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 ...more
Barry Pierce
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 ...more
Vit Babenco
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
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
“Zamanımızın Bir Kahramanı" was published in 1840. It is Mikhail Lermontov's only complete prose work. The novel begins relatively simple with a portrayal of Pechorin. The beginning it´s written in a third person-perspective. After this it turns in to a diary- perspective of Pechorin, so to speak, so the reader gets to know him. Above all, there is the slightly satirical depiction of the society in Russia in the early nineteenth century. The climax is the highly readable duel of Pechorin and Gru ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Герой нашего времени = Heros de notretemps = A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov
A Hero of Our Time (Russian: Герой нашего времени, 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
E. G.
Suggestions for Further Reading

--A Hero of Our Time

Whispering Stories
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Lermontov was a Russian army officer, an artist and a writer, principally of poetry but also some prose including this work. A Hero of Our Time was eventually published as a novel although it is five short stories linked by the central character Pechorin and told by two different narrators. Two of the stories were previously published as stand-alone works.

The book starts with an introduction by Neil Cornwell which I found very useful to explain the make-up of the book and the nature of Russian p
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The shade of Byron, or perhaps more accurately of the Byronic hero (that petulant and brooding vampiric pretty boy that has fascinated us since the days of the famous celebrity-poet), looms large, though in a decidedly ironic fashion, in Lermontov’s _A Hero of Our Time_. The titular ‘hero’ Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin, seen both from the outside and from within, displays from every angle the nearly perfect vision of the ‘tragic’ Byronic douche bag. From his ability to sway any woman with littl ...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A true literary masterpiece, well worth the hype. Well, that would be my opinion in as little words as possible. If you want to read more, why you know what to do- continue reading this review.

1. What kind of novel is this?

Hero of Our Time is often describes as a predecessor to a psychological Russian novel. It could also be considered a turning work, a literary mix of some sort, in it that it contains elements of both romanticism and realism. It is an interestingly structured little wonder, it
Debbie Zapata
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have been dipping my toes into the waters of Russian Literature this year so when I needed to choose a title for my October Literary Birthday Challenge, I thought that A Hero of Our Time would make an interesting read.

I was wrong. It was not interesting, it was extremely annoying. At first I did not know who was supposed to be the hero. There was a nameless narrator who meets a soldier on the road and listens to his stories about another soldier. So which of the three was our hero? Turned out
Sidharth Vardhan
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: list-1001, 7-russian
"Some were dreadfully insulted, and quite seriously, to have held up as a model such an immoral character as A Hero of Our Time; others shrewdly noticed that the author had portrayed himself and his acquaintances. A Hero of Our Time, gentlemen, is in fact a portrait, but not of an individual; it is the aggregate of the vices of our whole generation in their fullest expression."

These words from author's preface were quoted by Camus in the begining of 'The Fall'. To be honest, in Camus' Stranger t

"A hero of our time" is Russian classics, written by Mikhail Lermontov. He was a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter. His prose founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.
The reason I chose this book is that the main character has a lot of similarities with the author. They both were talented, noble, served in military, had sharp wit, enjoyed harsh humor, the story in the book has some similarities to the life of the author. It's a strange type of diary. Nature, customs, pe
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia
And how often is a deception of the senses or an error of the reason accepted as a conviction! . . . I prefer to doubt everything.

Of two friends, one is always the slave of the other, although frequently neither acknowledges the fact to himself. Now, the slave I could not be; and to be the master would be a wearisome trouble, because, at the same time, deception would be required.

After all this, is life worth the trouble? And yet we live -- out of curiosity! We expect something new. . . How ab
Penguin Classics edition, translation & introduction by Natasha Randall, foreword by Neil LaBute.

[4.5] Every time I've started this book, it's been tremendous fun. It's partly due to the playful self-awareness and utterly modern attitude of the second and third sentences, which shine through in every translation I've tried, and in this version mention:
one valise of average size, half-filled with my travel notes about Georgia. The majority of these luckily for you, were lost; but the valise with
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2008-2012)
This is an important Russian classic novel by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) said to be among the influences of Fyodor Doesteovsky (1821-1881) and Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). Prior to this book, I thought that Doeteovsky and Tolstoy were the oldest Russian writers. You see, whenever I look at their pictures especially those taken during their twilight years, i.e., with those white beard and wrinkly faces, my brain could not think that they also had their influences in terms of writing style. I ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I was ready to love the whole world—none understood me: and I learned to hate. My colourless youth was spent in a struggle with myself and with the world. Fearing mockery, I buried my best feelings at the bottom of my heart: there they died. I spoke the truth—I was not believed: I began to deceive.”

What do we have here? A malcontent. A series of broken hearts. A duel. A game of Russian Roulette (apparently the first place a reference to this “game” appears). A question of fate versus freedom. A
MJ Nicholls
An early Russian novel, arbitrarily patched together, but still regarded as a canonical work in the Steppes and the Westies. Pechorin is the titular hero, the time being 1840, and the hero being ironical. The most engaging part of the novel is the long epistolary Mary section, an early stab at a society tale mixed with a bracing duel scene. The other parts seem sloppy attempts to reproduce the Walter Scott tradition in a Russian idiom, especially with the spurious preface larks and the chopping ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, fiction
Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov was born in 1814 and he stopped a bullet in July 1841. This puts him just shy of the '27 club', but this span was enough to leave his mark on Russian literature forever, and it is easy to parallel that to the life of his protagonist Pechorin who lives, raves and rampages across the Caucasus.

Lermontov's writes with power about the landscape, and it is not really a surprise to learn he dabbled in landscape painting. Quote:

A person who has found himself wandering, like m
J.M. Hushour
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those perfect, pristine novels that defies criticism because it's really like nothing else you might ever read. It is often heralded as the forebear of the psychological novel, like Dosty or others, but it is something more than that. What that is, I can't rightly say which, to me, indicates both the triumph and genius of the novel as well as highlighting the insufficiencies of stupid book reviews.
It's strange, too, because the work is a patchwork of events from the life of the ti
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list
A Timeless Hero

The sixth of June is the anniversary of D-Day, a day on which the Allies invaded Normandy in 1944. I overheard a conversation between two older gentlemen on the sixth of this month, interestingly enough the very day I began reading this book. They were discussing the Allied landings. Their talk eventually turned to subject matter you are no doubt familiar with: how “back in the old days,” men fought for what was truly important. How today’s youth are lost, adrift and purposeless.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-classics
Main Character is a sad toxic bastard who sucks the life out any woman he seduces.

5 stars for spot-on description of sad waste of space. And don't give me shit about a lost generation and blah blah blah. I don't want to hear about it.


May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Russian classics or Byronic Heroes
Recommended to Junta by: My father
Shelves: russian, translated
With his book, the young Lermontov, only twenty-six when he wrote A Hero of Our Time, called the Russian novel into being...In turn, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy were each influenced by Lermontov - his metaphysics, his ironic stances, and his descriptions of the Caucasus. - Natasha Randall

It is arguably true that Lermontov had a more lasting impact on the shape and contours of the Russian novel than either Pushkin or Gogol. A Hero of Our Time possesses three of the most central characterist
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a brief period after Pushkin’s death, Lermontov was Russia’s noted writer. He was the Byron of his time, with his romanticized ideals, novel without plot featuring his noted antihero. I’ve returned lately to Nabokov and am taking his advice on what to read (oddly, his favourites re-affirm the suggestions friends have lately given me).

Nabokov writes:

It would seem that all the veneration elderly critics have for A Hero is rather a glorified recollection of youthful readings in the twilight, an
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel... Wow.

Hailed as a seminal influence on the works of subsequent Russian authors such as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Chekhov, A Hero Of Our Time effortlessly straddles both Romanticism and Realism, a style still in its nascence during Lermontov's own time. The book revolves around Pechorin, the hero the title refers to, a Russian soldier posted to the Caucasus, who embodies the spirit of the Byronic hero, in its Russian form : The superfluous man - Aristocratic, brooding, licentious, cr
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Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (Михаил Юрьевич Лермонтов), a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus", was the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin's death. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also by his prose.

Lermontov died in a duel like his great predecessor poet, Ale

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