Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (1814 – 1841), a Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter, the most important Russian poet after Alexander Pushkin’s death in 1837 and the greatest figure in Russian Romanticism. His influence on later Russian literature is still felt in modern times, not only through his poetry, but also through his prose, which founded the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.
About the Book (from Encyclopædia Britannica):
“A Hero of Our Time,” written by Mikhail Lermontov, was first published in Russia as “Geroy Nashego Vremeni.” The novel is set in the Russian Caucasus in the 1830s. Grigory Pechorin is a bored, self-centered, and cynical young army officer who believes in nothing. With impunity he toys with the love of women and the goodwill of men. He is brave, determined, and willful, but his energies and potential are wasted, and he dies in a duel. The psychologically probing portrait of a disillusioned 19th-century aristocrat and its use of a nonchronological and multifaceted narrative structure, as utilized in “A Hero of Our Time,” influenced such later Russian authors as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Leo Tolstoy and presaged the antiheroes and antinovels of 20th-century fiction. Lermontov’s technique is surprisingly sophisticated, given the late development of the novel in Russian literature. Lermontov not only dislocates chronology to achieve his result; in equally brilliant fashion he reinforces the effect by employing different contemporary literary genres to create, in the end, a unified whole. In “A Hero of Our Time,” Lermontov managed to create a fictional person whose romantic dash to cynicism, tiger-like suppleness and eagle eye, hot blood and cool head, tenderness and taciturnity, elegance and brutality, delicacy of perception and harsh passion to dominate, ruthlessness and awareness of it, are of lasting appeal to readers of all countries and centuries.