"Natasha Randall's English, in her new translation, has exactly the right degree of loose velocity. . . . (Nabokov's version, the best-known older translation, is a bit more demure than Randall's, less savage.)" -James Wood, "London Review of Books" "[A] smart, spirited new translation." -"The Boston Globe" "One of the most vivid and persuasive portraits of the male ego ever put down on paper." -Neil LaBute, from the Foreword
From the Author
When this novel appeared in Russia in 1840 there was shock, there was horror. It was a slander and a libel and a slur on the younger generation. This often happens when a novel or play touches to the quick, but we do have to admit to our appetite for shock and horror. The equivalent in our time was The Angry Young Men, and while the fuss and noise was largely the creation of the Media, nevertheless it all went on for about ten years, and that couldnt have happened if people hadnt wanted to be shocked. There were actually reports of fathers trying to horsewhip their daughters impudent suitors. Splendidly anaphronistic stuff.
The emotions A Hero of Our Time evoked went rather deeper. Lermontov, unpleasantly attacked, said the book was indeed a portrait, not of himself, but of a generation. He was far from apologetic and spoke out of that sense of responsibility and authority then possessed by Russian writers. They saw themselves, and were generally regarded, as a public conscience. The writers of no other country have ever enjoyed this role.
So when Lermontov said he had diagnosed the illness but it was not his business to prescribe the cure, he disappointed.
--This text refers to an alternate