A Hero of Our Time
A Hero of Our Time
Foreword by Vladimir Nabokov, Translation by Vladimir Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov
Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679413271, 224pp.
Publication Date: June 30, 1992
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 of a Russian literature that it helped, in great measure, to make possible.
This edition includes a Translator's Foreword by Vladimir Nabokov, who translated the novel in collaboration with his son, Dmitri Nabokov.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
The Nabokov household was trilingual, and as a child Nabokov was already reading Wells, Poe, Browning, Keats, Flaubert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, alongside the popular entertainments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.
Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing fiction in English. In his afterword to"Lolita"he claimed: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses--the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions--which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way." [p. 317] Yet Nabokov's American period saw the creation of what are arguably his greatest works, "Bend Sinister"(1947), "Lolita"(1955), "Pnin"(1957), and"Pale Fire"(1962), as well as the translation of his earlier Russian novels into English. He also undertook English translations of works by Lermontov and Pushkin and wrote several books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977."
“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.” –from the Translator’s Foreword by Vladimir Nabokov
“[Lermontov’s] technique is surprisingly sophisticated, given the late development of the novel in Russian literature. Lermontov does not only dislocate 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.” –from the Introduction by T. J. Binyon