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Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov I. From Lermontov’s “Death of a Poet” (1837)


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Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov


I. From Lermontov’s “Death of a Poet” (1837)
The Poet has perished! ­— a thrall of honor —

He has fallen, slandered by rumor,

With lead in his breast and a thirst for vengeance,

He has bowed his proud head!..

The Poet’s soul could not bear

The shame of trivial insults;

He revolted against the opinions of society

Alone, as before... and he is murdered!

Murdered!.. What use now are sobs,

The needless chorus of empty praise

And pitiful murmur of excuses?

Fate’s sentence has been passed!

Was it not you who first so maliciously persecuted

His free, bold gift

And for amusement fanned

The barely hidden fire?

All right then — make merry... the final torments

He could not bear:

Extinguished, like a torch, is the marvelous genius;

Faded is the triumphal garland.

[...]

II. Chronologies of A Hero of Our Time
* Narrative order: 3 4 1 / 5 2
* “Historical” order of events |__________________|________________|_________________|____

depicted in the novel: “Taman” “Princess “Bela” / “Fatalist” “Maksim Mary” Maksimych”

* Order of publication: 2 (1840) 3 (1840) 1 (both 1839) 3 (1840)
* Where published: Notes of the A Hero of Notes of the A Hero of

Fatherland Our Time Fatherland Our Time

III. Some Implicit and Explicit References to Pushkin in A Hero of Our Time

(revised Penguin edition, 2002)


Page 64: "In Russia a well-shaped nose is rarer than a tiny foot." A joking allusion to the famous pedal digression in Eugene Onegin, Canto 1, stanzas 29-34.
Page 110: "...one of the artfulest rogues of former times, whose praises Pushkin once sang." A reference to Pushkin's friend Petr Pavlovich Kaverin (1794-1855), an 1812-veteran hussar offcer infamous for his gambling, drinking, and practical jokes.
Page 118: “The intellect's cold observations, / The bitter record of the heart.” This is the final couplet from the Dedication of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin.
Page 126: "A book lay open on the table before her, but her fixed, sorrowful eyes seemed to be reading the same page for the hundredth time, with her thoughts far away." A verbatim quotation from the first two lines of Canto 8, stanza 36 of Eugene Onegin, in which the narrator describes Onegin, who is now in love with Tatiana: "His eyes were reading, / But his thoughts were far away."

IV. Vampirism in A Hero of Our Time (revised Penguin edition, 2002)
Page 120: “There are times when I can understand the Vampire, and yet I still pass for a decent fellow and try my best to be thought so.” A reference to the fiendish main character of “The Vampyre,” a short story by Dr. John Polidori (1795-1821), first published in 1819, and supposedly based on a plot devised by Polidori’s friend, Lord Byron (1788-1824). The story first appeared in Russian translation in 1828. Note that in Lermontov’s rough draft of the Foreword (pp. 55-5) to “Pechorin’s Journal” we find the following passage: “If you believe in the existence of Melmoth [Faustian hero of Charles Maturin’s Gothic novel, Melmoth the Wanderer (1820)], the Vampire and others, then why don’t you believe in the reality of Pechorin?”


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