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Thread: Lermontov, Mikhail "A Hero of our Time"

  1. #1
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    Nov 2012

    Lermontov, Mikhail "A Hero of our Time"

    I can't believe it has taken me so long to put something up this month, time flies!

    I personally have read this book a couple of times, and it has grown on me with each reading, as a good book should. I enjoy the point the author makes in his forward that this image of a 'Hero' may hit too close to home for many in his time to appreciate it, and looking at the history surrounding the author and the time period he produced this to the world, it makes sense they didn't embrace this rash and many times cold-hearted hero. I feel like this relates so well to those people who are supposed 'role models' in today's society, that their reality is not as pure as it seems.

    Bela is where most translations seem to start, not sure what everyone has gotten for a copy, so I will start there. ( <---complete chapter.) This narrator is often times called the Romantic narrator and I have to agree that his section has a more natural tone to it, there are many passages expressing his awe of the landscape and it's debilitating vastness. He gleans over many things about the people, instead referring most of his opinions through Maxim's story, only showing himself through his ability to explain things.

    “What a glorious place that valley is! On every hand are inaccessible mountains, steep, yellow slopes scored by water-channels, and reddish rocks draped with green ivy and crowned with clusters of plane-trees.” Pg.1

    “We were now within a verst or so of the Station. 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…” page 3

    You see the romantic qualities that this narrator has when describing what's around him and we are faced with the dilemma of figuring out if he is trustworthy or not. I personally think he is very trustworthy, he is someone who spends his time searching for stories so this is him in his element doing what he does best: recounting the tales of his travels and companions and day to day life.

    "---with a wild and interesting people all around him, danger to be faced every day, and many marvelous incident happening. It is in circumstances like this that we involuntarily complain that so few of our country men take notes." page 5

    We meet Maxim Maximich (various spellings in different translations, I like to just call him Max) and I think this initial meeting and his progression through the book makes him one of the most interesting characters (and that's saying a lot with a character like Pechorin).

    "Behind it walked the owner, smoking a little, silver-mounted Kabardian pipe. He was wearing a shaggy Circassian cap and an officer's overcoat without epaulettes, and he seemed to be about fifty years of age." page 1

    This quote is followed by his dislike of the Ossetes. He equates much of this dislike to the amount of liquor they drink, he himself only having had one experience with alcohol in which he was reprimanded. This 'swarthiness' is projected strongly showing that this is a man who's morals and principles are not to be handled lightly. He also does not adorn himself with epaulettes when he travels which means he is very secure in his post and does not desire attention of others.

    This really sets up you up with two extremely reliable people (in my opinion) to tell you about this man, Grigori Aleksandrovich Pechorin, through mere glimpses of his life from old memories and notes.

    More later! happy reading!
    Last edited by Book Club; 04-19-2013 at 04:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    Book Club- This one is on my list of top 5 favorite books. The visual striking descriptions of the landscape impressed me beyond what one would ever hope to read. The development of the main character is what drove the book home for me. Pechorin truly is a hero, and despite all his flaws he is a lovable character. It is quite an adventure that never leaves one disappointed when turning the page, since the story only grows richer. I have only read it once, but it definitely deserves a reread. In some ways it's a perfect book, because it offers the reader a bit of everything, except the happy ending. Great recommendation and I am sure others have much to say about it in deeper literary terms than I can offer here. Cheers!!

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