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LERMONTOV, Mikhail Yurievitch.

[A Hero of Our Time.] Sketches of Russian Life in the Caucasus.

By a Russe, many years resident amongst the various mountain tribes.

London: Ingram, Cooke, & Co., 1853 Stock Code: 143340
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First edition in English of one of the masterpieces of Russian literature

First edition in English of one of the masterpieces of Russian literature, Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, originally published at Saint Petersburg in 1840, and the first of any of Lermontov's works in English. This edition was issued in the somewhat obscure, "elegant and rather miscellaneous" (Sadleir) Illustrated Family Novelist series; it is well represented institutionally but in commerce is certainly uncommon, especially in such attractive condition.

The timing of the edition is interesting, coinciding as it does with the Crimean War. "Events surrounding the outbreak of the Crimean War gave rise to renewed anti-Russian sentiment, but also renewed curiosity: Russia became for the English 'deeply and painfully interesting'... Instead of silencing translators, the new russophobic wave made propagandists of them". In the introduction to this translation, the writer states "'I think I have said sufficient to prove that Russia is in every way entitled to more curiosity, if not interest, than is usually accorded to her,' suggesting that the purpose of this volume is less literary than informational" (May, pp. 1415).

Two further translations appeared in quick succession in 1854, as A Hero of Our Days (London: Hodgson, translated by Theresa Pulszky. ) and A Hero of Our Own Times (London: Bogue).

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Octavo. Original blue-green vertically ribbed cloth, gilt lettered and decorated spine, covers blind stamped with symbolic vignette within ornamental frame, yellow coated endpapers. Housed in a dark green cloth flat-back box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Wood-engraved frontispiece (with loose tissue guard), vignette title page (showing a troika), 6 engraved plates after "F. C. C." Four pages of publisher's advertisements at the rear.


Light rubbing to extremities and some other faint marks and scratches, but the cloth highly presentable, hinges sound, occasional spotting or dust-soiling within, but an excellent copy.


Bentley 3747; Kandel, Bibliografiia perevodov romana Geroi nashego vremeni na inostrannye iazyki (Bibliography of translations of "A Hero of Our Time" into foreign languages, Moscow: Freedom Press, 1962), p. 203; Line, Bibliography of Russian Literature i


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