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Zaman m z n Bir Kahraman 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 now 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 Grushnidzki at the end of the novel Also Lermontov anticipated with his own fate he died in a duel with his rival Nikolai Martynov in 1841 at the age of 26 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 Pechor 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 viewsThere 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 superfluousThat 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 Rescuing Gus 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 henew the weight of splendid chains How light the balance of his humbler painsGeorge 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 him wretched Friendship has become or less an obligation rather than an enchantment Life has become an After Life he is afraid of Duel has become his destinyNo 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 heroClosing the argument with the preface from the authorA 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 far terrifying and repulsive types why aren t you merciful to this character even if it is fictitious Isn t it because there s truth in it than you might wishNote Better read with Nabokov s translation Truly SplendidI decided that I am not going to write anything about this book which is uite amazing and puzzling in its own ways And it is indeed sad what had happened to LermontovCheck out Florencia s amazing review of this great book And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heartAnd from his fellow bacchanals would flee Tis said at times the sullen tear would startBut pride congealed the drop within his e e Lord Byron Childe Harold s Pilgrimage Canto I Stanza VIAnother Life Stanza VIAnother life vanished too soon Mikhail Lermontov was only 26 years old when he was illed in a duel "Same Fate As Another Russian " fate as another Russian Alexander Pushkin to whom he dedicated his poem Death of the Poet And thus he died for vengeance vainly thirsting Secretly vexed by false hopes deceived His lips forever sealed Lermontov s poetry and prose are eually superb At such a young age he became one of the most important Russian writers of all time And another favorite of mine That was a nice surprise because I honestly did not have high hopes for this book I am not sure why I did not expect such a beautiful and evocative writing powerful enough to fill my heart with delight and break it at the same time Little I new that Lermontov himself was Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story kind of the personification of the Byronic hero like the main character of this book Pechorin a man made of flesh bones arrogance cynicism and melancholy A captive of his own pessimism and that familiar feeling of emptiness and perpetual loss A victim of the worldYes such has been my lot from very childhood All have read upon my countenance the marks of bad ualities which were not existent but they were assumed to exist and they were born I was modest I was accused of slyness I grew secretive I profoundly felt both good and evil no one caressed me all insulted me I grew vindictive I was gloomy other children merry and talkative I felt myself higher than they I was rated lower I grew envious I was prepared to love the whole world no one understood me I learned to hate My colourless youth flowed by in conflict with myself and the world fearing ridicule I buried my best feelings in the depths of my heart and there they died I spoke the truth I was not believed I began to deceive 93I have always read that bad people were not born but made almost embracing the argument that a warm environment can overcome any genetic predisposition I m not uite sure about that Pechorin clearly thought that was his case He was ready to love and the world taught him to hateThis book is not a novel per se it is divided into five novellas Bela Maxim Maximovich and three extracts from Pechorin s diary simply brilliantThe first part serves as an introduction to Pechorin s character A young officer and Captain Maximovich started talking about the latter s peculiar friend Pechorin whom he had met in the Caucases This young man had met a beautiful princess named Bela that soon became his next challenge Bela s brother Azamat a whiny obnoxious teenager really wanted somebody else s horse And Pechorin offered his assistance in exchange for Bela Yes a woman for a horse So the little bratidnapped his own sister and then he got his beloved horse Charming fellaBy that time I was a bit bored I was about to take the narrator s offerTherefore you must wait a bit or if you like turn over a few pages 26 I didn t I followed his adviceThough I do not advise you to do the latter because the crossing of Mount Krestov or as the erudite Gamba calls it le mont St Christophe is worthy of your curiosity 26Yeah It was notIn conclusion time went by and Pechorin s free spirit got bored of Bela While reading his response to Maximovich when he asked him about the princess I thought Finally A first sign that this book can be amazing And it certainly was A young man with a void in his heart with needs that were impossible to satisfy with the thought of death always in his head couldn t be around the same people for a long time He started to feel suffocated and the urge of escaping took over him Like a Russian Childe Harold the only option was to get away to travel To experience new things so he can reduce that void to vanish his ennui This situation is described with such a beautiful dazzling writingThis next passage does not have spoilers but I hid it because it is uite long and some people might prefer not to read the whole thing but I just couldn t uote less without damaging the essence So you have been warnedview spoiler Mine is an unfortunate disposition whether it is the result of my upbringing or whether it is innate I How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead know not I onlynow Il ritratto di un uomo e di un'intera generazione in cinue 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 è proprio un ritratto ma non di una. ,
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ndrel 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 uest 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 crossroad I 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 paid attention to the mosuitoes And I was bored 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 uniue 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 nows 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 eually 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 conuest than in dialogue There 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 conuered ladies in the form of a farewell letter You 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 illed 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 through Some 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 acuired 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 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 uite 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
five years earlier Pechorin who is now dead had 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 sweetThis 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 bloodUnlike 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 icking 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 far intriguing than anyone else AND HIS PART OF THE OVERALL STORY I FOUND his part of the overall story I found 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 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 indle 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 Agici e romantici perché non credete alla realtà di Pecorin Dite che la morale da tutto ciò non ne guadagna Agli uomini han dato fin troppi dolciumi; perciò il loro stomaco si è guastato servono medicine amare verità irritanti Dalla Prefazion. H
is that if I am the cause of unhappiness in others I myself am no less unhappy Of course that is a poor consolation to them only the fact remains that such is the case In my early youth from the moment I ceased to be under the guardianship of my relations I began madly to enjoy all the pleasures which money could buy and of course such pleasures became irksome to me Then I launched out into the world of fashion and that too soon palled upon me I fell in love with fashionable beauties and was loved by them but my imagination and egoism alone were aroused my heart remained empty I began to read to study but sciences also became utterly wearisome to me I saw that neither fame nor happiness depends on them in the least because the happiest people are the uneducated and fame is good fortune to attain which you have only to be smart Then I grew bored Soon afterwards I was transferred to the Caucasus and that was the happiest time of my life I hoped that under the bullets of the Chechenes boredom could not exist a vain hope In a month I grew so accustomed to the buzzing of the bullets and to the proximity of death that to tell the truth I paid attention to the gnats and I became bored than ever because I had lost what was almost my last hope When I saw Bela in my own house when for the first time I held her on my Moonrise
knee andissed her black locks I fool that I was thought that she was an angel sent to me by sympathetic fate Again I was mistaken the love of a savage is little better than that of your lady of uality the barbaric ignorance and simplicity of the one weary you as much as the couetry of the other I am not saying that I do not love her still I am grateful to her for a few fairly sweet moments I would give my life for her only I am bored with her Whether I am a fool or a villain I Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi
know not but this is certain I am also most deserving of pity perhaps than she My soul has been spoiled by the world my imagination is unuiet my heart insatiable To me everything is of little moment I become as easily accustomed to grief as to joy and my life grows emptier day by day One expedient only is left to me travel 31 32 hide spoiler 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 andeep 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 acuired falls away from the soul and it becomes as it once was and probably will be once again Feeling One of the most interesting eye opening books I ve read I m not that familiar with Russian literature but the I read the 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 After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405
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 uestions 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 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 Romanticist generation of the early 19th century Pushkin and Lermontov two young geniuses neither of whom has lived to see 40It s easy to forget how ridiculously young Lermontov was Pushkin Russia s greatest poet wasilled in a duel at only 37 Lermontov the second greatest died in the same ridiculous way but at the age of only 26 And by that young age he already reached fame and recognition having barely spread his literary wings Funnily enough in the saddest way possible Lermontov himself wrote a passionate and angry poem Death of the Poet about Pushkin s death condemning the societal scorn that pushed Pushkin to such an end only to repeat the same fate himself And both Pushkin and Lermontov have written and condemned pointless duel scenes in both of their greatest works Pushkin in Eugene Onegin Lermontov in this one A Hero of Our Time Writing the scathing Death of the Poet about Pushkin s death was what earned the young previously little Alien Alpha
known writer both skyrocketing fame in the literary circles and displeasure of the Tsar culminating in basically what amounted to the exile to serve in the army in the Caucasus mountains the place where his masterpiece A Hero of Our Time is set 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 subseuent 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 Inew 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 and how modern the approach to 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 uestions about life and fate love and sadness passion and tedium are coming from 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 becomes empty 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 is than 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 presented He doesn t now 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 een 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 "
the novel to 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 primeComing 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 idnapping 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 sco. Persona è il ritratto che nasce dai vizi di tutta la nostra generazione nel pieno del loro sviluppo Mi direte ancora che un uomo non può essere così malvagio e io vi dirò che se avete creduto alla possibile esistenza di tutti gli scellerati tr.