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30 August 1990
A Wicked Irony: The Rhetoric of Lermontov’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ 
by Andrew Barratt and A.D.P. Briggs.
Bristol Classical Press, 139 pp., £25, May 1989, 1 85399 020 5
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The Battle for Childhood: Creation of a Russian Myth 
by Andrew​ Baruch Wachtel.
Stanford, 262 pp., $32.50, May 1990, 0 8047 1795 8
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... disturbingly permanent: the paradox in these cases of the structural and polyphonic method is that the hero is always there because he has never existed. He is an aspect of literary sensibility. As Barratt and Briggs observe, ‘in Pechorin Lermontov created a character whose unhealthy commitment to inauthentic “bookish” behaviour makes him the direct forebear of the Underground Man.’ This is ...

In a Spa Town

James Wood: ‘A Hero of Our Time’

11 February 2010
A Hero of Our Time 
by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Natasha Randall.
Penguin, 174 pp., £8.99, August 2009, 978 0 14 310563 3
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... is much less powerful than he makes himself out to be, constantly offloading his own faults onto others. In A Wicked Irony: Rhetoric of Lermontov’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ (1995), A.D.P Briggs and AndrewBarratt suggest that Pechorin may be in love with Princess Mary and desperate to control this unwanted weakness. Near the end of the book he tells Mary that he is leaving town. She pales and sickens ...

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