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Mikhail Lermontov

(1814-1841)

Lermontov, Mikhail Yurevich (1814-41), Russian Romantic poet and novelist. Descended from a Scottish officer and adventurer, Captain George Learmont, who entered the Russian service in 1613, Lermontov was himself an army officer. Strongly influenced by Byron, he wrote lyric and narrative poetry on the themes of disillusionment, rebellion, and personal freedom. He was killed in a duel. His best known poems A Wish (1831), in which he expresses nostalgia for Scotland, The Sail and No, I am not Byron (1832), The Death of Poet (1837), which bemoans death of Pushkin (for this poem Lermontov was exiled to the Caucuses), the romantic narratives Mtsyri (The Novice) (1840) and The Demon (1829-41). His prose masterpiece, the novel A Hero of Our Times, is his lasting monument. It was first translated into English in 1854.

The Demon is a Romantic poem, written in 1829-41.
Sad Demon, exiled spirit, was flying over the sinful Earth. He was tired of his own evil, of his empty and needless life, which can't be stopped and had to go on and on. In Georgia, a local prince was preparing a wedding feast for his beautiful daughter Tamara and a prince from another country. Tamara was dancing when Demon saw her. The foreign prince was hurrying to wedding, but he was ambushed and killed by robbers. All in tears Tamara was lying in her chamber, when she heard a strange caressing voice, which tried to calm her. She was afraid and pressed her father never to try to marry her off again, but to send her to the monastery, so that God could defend her. But Demon found her in the monastery as well and managed to seduce her. He was sincerely in love and wanted to change his life with her, he did not want be evil again. She believed. After their night together, Tamara died. Demon wanted to take her soul, but the Angels took it and did not allow Demon to follow her to the God.
See: Mikhail Vrubel. The Seated Demon, Head of Demon, Rider, Tamara and Demon, Tamara Dancing, Tamara Lying in State, Demon and Angel with Tamara's Soul.

A Hero of Our Time is a novel, the main character of which is Pechorin, a rich nobleman, clever and egoistic, who does not know what to do with his own life and who, though not intentionally, ruins lives of other people.
See: Mikhail Vrubel. Portrait of an Officer (Pechorin on a Sofa).

Leila and Khadji Abrek the subject is based on the poem Khaji-Abrek of Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov about traditions of the Caucasian mountaineers. Leila, the only remained daughter of a poor old man, is kidnapped by a count Bey-Bulat. They settled together, Leila is happy. But her father can't live with disgrace and asks young men of the village to avenge. Khadji Abrek finds and kills Leila, cuts off her head and returns it to her father, who is pleased. Then Khadji Abrek and Bey-Bulat kill each other in duel.
See: Nikolay Gay. Leila and Khaji-Abrek.
 

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