Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time was the first modern Russian novel. Published in 1840, it set a model of penetrating observation and psychological depth that would come to typify Russian literature. Its "hero," Grigorii Pechorin, also establisheda character type that became known in Russian fiction as "the superfluous man"-widely familiar from Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. At once driven by pride and wracked by selfdoubt, both shockingly self-revealing and blindly self-deceived,he flounders to affirm himself in a social world he despises yet yearns to dominate. Pechorin is a troubling and unforgettable character. And A Hero of Our Time, which has provoked much controversy, is a novel not only central to Russian literature butfundamental to the Western literary tradition of the antihero.