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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.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Ingram, Cooke, & Co., 1853

Stock Code: 131534

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


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.

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 purple wavy-grain cloth, gilt lettered and decorated spine, covers blind stamped with symbolic vignette within ornamental frame, yellow coated endpapers.


Wood-engraved frontispiece (with loose tissue guard), vignette title page (showing a troika), 6 engraved plates after "F. C. C."


Spine and periphery of boards sunned, few small marks to covers. A particularly nice copy, fresh and clean, the inner hinges not cracked, with the 4-page catalogue at the end (listings for the Illustrated Family Novelist and The National Illustrated Library).


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