Too apathetic to do anything about his problems, he lives in a grubby, crumbling apartment, waited on by Zakhar, his equally idle servant. Terrified by the activity necessary to participate in the real world, Oblomov manages to avoid work, postpones change, and—finally—risks losing the love of his life. This superb translation by David Magarshack captures all the subtle comedy and near-tragedy of the original. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world.

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Nov 19, knig rated it it was amazing Recommended to knig by: howl of minerva Shelves: classics , favourites , I know Im not going to do Oblomov justice: this is what happens when Im in awe.

Im much better really at slagging books off. Masterpieces leave me Im not worthy tongue-tied. Oblomov is so big hes become a word in Russian: oblomovschina. As in, the Russian dictionary. To mean Godot-ism or an existential couch-potato.

The man is wedded to his couch: life bubbles all around him at super sonic speed, but Oblomov: well, he The end. And yet. There are so many layers to this, the proverbial onion can but weep. A helicopter view lays bare a man too lazy and apathetic to emulate a Hamlet simulacra. Oblomov is simply waiting to die: whether he realises it or not.

Zoom in closer and Oblomov is a metaphor, a gynormous symbol. People locked into the mundane, informed of socially accepted barriers which separate them from a degree of greatness: the children, the mortgage, ailing parents they need to care for, health constraints, money woes; all of this and more is why they tread the hamster wheel and live the groundhog day and notch one same old after another. Self limiting, inauspicious, unambitious, unadventurous, dispassionate, locked in analysis paralysis, passive, call it ,sister: because thats what the bulk of us are, sheep!

No excuses. There is no point blaming circumstances in how we turn out: this is very much a nature over nurture battle-cry. Quite a brave introspection. Oblamov is also a bit more than a dissection of individual human psyche. And how. In exploring the collective consciousness of Russia, he does something which I love, love, love, for personal reasons, being a multi-cultural product myself.

In vivisecting and laying bare the dross of Russian trope, he wields the scalpel with infinite care and love. Underlying his condemnation is a profound and unrevokable love for his motherland, a generous tolerance despite his misgivings, an acknowledgement that no matter how deep the scalpel delves, the body is still worth preserving.

I adore that kind dichotomy. We are none of us so big for our britches that we can swipe away the qualia of our entire birth nation. Really, there can be no true negation by a native: he will always be a product. Goncharev knows this. Oblamov is also a bit more than a dissection of individual and collective consciousness.

It is also a riotous satire, a Massala of humour, so understated and elegant, its ephemeral in its delicacy.

The scene with the arrival of a letter at Oblomovo surely must, must, rate as one of the virtuoso moments in literature, of any epoch.

Oblamov is also a bit more than a dissection of individual and collective consciousness and take a deep breath a riotous satire. Its a philosophical treatise on the meaning of life, and non so more touched me as Olga Segeivna. There is perhaps no other literary character I have come across so far who portrays my own conundrums and fears as she does; and its immensely comforting to see that I am not alone in the penumbra.

What a book.


Ivan Goncharov

Early life[ edit ] Ivan Goncharov was born in Simbirsk now Ulyanovsk. His father Alexander Ivanovich Goncharov was a wealthy grain merchant and a state official who served several terms as mayor of Simbirsk. He was educated first by his mother, Avdotya Matveevna, and then his godfather Nikolay Nikolayevich Tregubov, a nobleman and a former Russian Navy officer. Fyodor S. There he spent eight unhappy years, detesting the low quality of education and the severe discipline, taking solace in self-education.


Although Goncharov was not working on Oblomov during his long journey it appears he was thinking about the book, as Oblomov shows up in many of his letters home. When he tried to begin writing again in February , he blamed his delays and inability to write on exhaustion, loss of momentum, and a new and more demanding job as a censor. By the end of August the novel was complete. He spent the following year revising and rewriting the novel until finally on January 14, , Oblomov was published in Otechestvennye zapiski. Oblomov raises this trait to an art form, conducting his little daily business from his bed. The first part of the book finds Oblomov in bed one morning. He receives a letter from the manager of his country estate, Oblomovka, explaining that the financial situation is deteriorating and that he must visit to make some major decisions.

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