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72Rocky Mountain Review legend, although Tolkien's temperament certainly led him to admire and emulate those works. For an account of the origins of Tolkien's brand of fantasy, I would recommend Carpenter's and Shippey's studies and Tolkien's essays on fairy stories, Chaucer, and Beowulf. However, Flieger's is a well researched and sympathetic reading of The Silmarillion, a work whose importance she goes far toward demonstrating. Her analysis indicates that the book, although consisting ofa number ofshort tales composed over many decades, is a unified whole with a deeply felt meaning. Flieger writes clearly and economically, and in her discussion of language, metaphor, and the art of fantasy she opens up an important avenue of inquiry for students of Tolkien and other fantasists. BRIAN ATTEBERY Idaho State University JOHN GARRARD. Mikhail Lermontov. Boston: Twayne Publishers , 1982. 173 p. This study, an addition to the Twayne's World Author Series, is intended for the reader with little or no background in Russian literature. It is a solid introduction to the important Russian author, and is welcome as a supplement to such works as Janko Lavrin's Lermontov, a biography with critical commentary on selected works, and John Mersereau's Mikhail Lermontov, a study of Lermontov's prose. Although Lermontov's significance on the Russian literary scene has long been recognized, there has been no comprehensive overview of his work in English. Discussing little known as well as very familiar works, this volume moves toward filling that gap for the student and general reader. John Garrard's research for this study was undertaken for the most part in the Soviet Union, where he consulted with Lermontov scholars and made use of recently compiled archival materials. As he states in his preface, he has relied chiefly on primary sources, much of which has never before been translated. Making use of letters, memoirs of contemporaries, and other such material, Garrard has provided the fullest account of Lermontov's biography in English. And he lays to rest some long-standing fictions, among them that of Lermontov as incipient revolutionary, hounded to death by official machinations, a view no longer supported even by Soviet critics. The first of the book's seven chapters is a sketch of Lermontov's life and career as an author. Its title — "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know" (an observation made earlier of Lord Byron) — suggests the personality of the young poet. Having entree to the best circles, he disdained society, hating its hypocrisy and superficiality; yet he revelled in its attention, and needed it to feed his penchant for flouting proprieties. His social life included duels, escapades in which he managed to insult the Tsar's daughters, and shameless plots to enhance his own reputation at the expense of others. There were, however, occasional generous impulses, a reckless kind of personal courage, and genuine emotional attachments which lay at the basis of a number of his works. Garrard provides a chronological survey of Lermontov's works in chapters Book Reviews73 two through six. Lermontov's early works — poems and plays for the most part — are not remarkable and were not intended for publication. They are, however, interesting because of the light they shed on Lermontov's life and because they introduce themes and motifs he was to rework throughout his career. They tell of love and fatal exigencies, and are without exception autobiographical. From the very beginning Lermontov made poetry a vehicle of self-expression and self-examination, seemingly formed by nature to fill the role of a "Russian Byron." Indeed, if Lermontov was early influenced by Schiller and Pushkin, Byron was his chief mentor. He admired Byron's verse and imitated it, but he also admired Byron the individual, whose stormy temperament, world-weariness, and rebellion against social strictures were features of his own personality. Garrard traces the Byronic infuence throughout Lermontov's career, and shows how the Byronic hero was a pose with which the author finally became uncomfortable, and which he finally exorcized altogether in A Hero of Our Time. Lermontov's mature work began in 1837 with his famous "Death of a Poet," an accusatory, passionate poem on Pushkin's slaying. From...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 72-74
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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