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Oblomov (1859)

by Ivan Goncharov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,104633,717 (4.05)125
The novel focuses on the midlife crisis of the main character, Oblomov, an upper middle class son of a member of Russia's nineteenth century landed gentry. Oblomov's distinguishing characteristic is his slothful attitude towards life. While a common negative characteristic, Oblomov raises this trait to an art form, conducting his little daily business apathetically from his bed.… (more)
  1. 21
    How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson (CraigHodges)
    CraigHodges: If the likes of Goncharov's Oblomov is too dense with dialogue, the characters to difficult to grasp, then come down a notch. Yes, take it easy and read a contemporary humorous slacker piece by Hodgkinson.
  2. 12
    The World of Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: Oblomov and Bertie Wooster are quite a lot alike and from the same social class, just in different countries.
  3. 02
    Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Shteyngart's protagonist is an updated Oblomov

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» See also 125 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (6)  Italian (3)  French (3)  German (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
معمولاً هیچوقت از اقتباس خوشم نمیاد چون معمولاً کاری ضعیف‌تر از اصل اثر می‌شن. این نمایشنامه یه اقتباس خیلی وفادارانه به اصل رمان بود که خیلی جاها واو به واو دیالوگ شده بودند. البته فقط دو بخش اول رمان تبدیل به نمایشنامه شده. نویسنده بعضی جاها قالب نمایش رو فدای اصل رمان کرده بود و حتی برای نمایش حس درونی ابلوموف (که توی رمان به کرات استفاده شده) از مونولوگ استفاده می‌کرد. ( )
  Mahdi.Lotfabadi | Oct 16, 2022 |
Putting off writing this as i can't come up with the right way to approach this write up. Short answer: Amazing - loved it - inspired, poignant, funny, beautiful. First 100 pages or so are setting the remarkable milieu of Oblamov reclining at home with his edgy, lazy servant, Zakhar. His friends visit, sponge and chat, but Oblamov is just trying to get out of anything / everything (though he has good intentions). Ennui? No- not that ... hmmm... Middle section: Oblamov's dream. Gauzy memories of home / childhood and semi-aspirations. a bit slow but gorgeous. contrasts with the German- Stoltz - good - but ... banal? I didn't go for the romance with Olga so much- just straightforward, predictable and ultimately sad. Not terrible, but just sort of going through the necessary motions for that part before.... concluding with the wonderful sad section with what will ultimately be his wife- Agafia- she of the powerful elbow motion. Poignant, tear jerker conclusion, but with the ray of hope thrown in. This is by no means a perfect book- neither especially well plotted or paced... but the characters and vignettes.... are superlative. Cherish this one. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
A delightful account of the leisured upper class in Czarist Russia, touted by the Communists because it reveals the laziness of the land-owning class: in this case, Oblomov spends the first fifty pages in bed. In Ch.VIII when he finally gets off the sofa, he dramatically puts on both туфли (slippers) at once.
As the author of BirdTalk, I love the very first page, when his face is described,"Мысль гулала волной птицей по лицу..." thought plays across his face like a bird...." * When he finally gets out of bed (Ch.IV, pt I) he moves to "a large armchair, sank into it, and sat motionless." Lots of friends visit him, Tarantyev, Alexayev, and several others. All have different characters, one filled with laughter, some not.
Before he gets out of bed, he tells each entrant not to approach him, "вы с холода" you're bringing in the outside cold. One tells him he's his usual daft self.
His servant Zakhar ("Grasping") steals small amounts, kopecks for drinking with his buddies, also whoring, which his master is too lazy to do. In fact, sloth and a big appetite make him innocent and virtuous.
This plump and lazy man does eventually fall in love, just after he gives up his literary pretensions (he's no Proust, writing in bed) and Zakhar has bestowed his master's literry efforts on hidden corners of the house. He wants a life of candid friends, not those who'll satirize you as soon as you leave the hall; if he marries, he wants books, a piano and elegant furniture, мебель. That's the French word, "meubles," movables. So many Russian words come from France, which was to Russia as England was to America--all the upper class in War and Peace speak French. And Russian academic introductions I found fairly easy to translate because all their abstractions (like most of ours) are French...like the word "abstraction" itself.

But back to Oblomov in love. He falls for a lady while listening to her... sing. See Andrew Marvell's, "The Fair Singer," "But how should I avoid to be her Slave,/ Whose subtle art invisibly can weave /My Fetters of the very Air I breath?" Goncharov's singing scene is extensive, his friend Stolz almost ordering Olga to sing, and she deferring to Oblomov, who does not ask, not knowing if she'd sing up to his standards-- and he lacks the skills of meaningless compliment. He says, "I can't want what I don't know," and Stoltz reprimands, "You are rude!" After Stolz leaves, Olga confesses she knows Oblomov to be a "sinner." With a laugh, she says he wears unmatched socks...Stolz had told her. Oblomov is so embarrassed he gets his hat to leave, but she talks him down with her candor. Olga has no affectation, no coquetry, no pretense so common in Russian society women.
She had noticed his tears while she was singing...his embarrassment, "a bad trait in men, ashamed of their feelings. They would do better to be ashamed of their intellect: it more often falls into error"(232). Here's Goncharv's version of LaRochefoucault, "Every man complains of his memory, no man of his judgement."
Olga sits at the piano, plays and sings, several songs, her voice dark, and then "fresh and silvery."
She finishes on a long-drawn-out note, her voice dying away. She, "Why do you look like that? Oh My God! слезы в них!" Tears in them..."You feel the music so deeply." Нет, не музыка, а ... любовь. Not the music, but...Love. (p.180, московский рабочий edtion, 1981).

Czarist wealth, as I observed in my Gogol review, depended not on land, but on the slaves with a right to the land, мужик, the workers. Many owned versts and versts of land, worthless without workers. Here Oblomov says he's too poor to marry. His friend says, "Three hundred souls?" Ob, "That's not enough to live on with a wife"(205).

Especially not enough when the devoted Zaxar nevertheless filches coins (he drinks and whores with kopeks) or leftover food, swearing to his master никакога куска, no piece of cheese left. (p.68, 1981) Oblomov, "There WAS!" Zaxar, "Was not!" Then Zaxar complains, Who ever heard of a lunch right before dinner? Meanwhile, Oblomov dreams of his extensive gardens at his country estate, how he's going to reform them. If only he once decides to go there, make the long trip.

*Read in Ann Dunnigan's translation (Signet. 1963), but also some in Russian, 1981 edition bought at Schoenhof's, Cambridge in 1983. ( )
  AlanWPowers | May 18, 2022 |
Kitabı okurken az daha bende Oblomovluk hastalığına tutunacaktım.Bu yönüyle kitabı çok başarılı buluyorum. ( )
  Tobizume | Jun 9, 2020 |
***** Excellent. These are the books that I carry with me, that make you think or reflect. Usually these are not the easy reads.

It took me some time before being able to write a something on this book, as it did need some digestion. In short, I think Oblomov is an example of the much used adagium 'most people die at 25, but are buried at 75'.


The book takes you through the high and the low of Oblomov's life, which, being honest, isn't all that exciting. His best friend, Andrej Stoltz, is a sharp contrast to the main character, living the busy life. I think a lot of us can relate to both Oblomov as well as Andrej, the only difference being the absence of a TV in Gontsjarov's time.

The book is broken up for the story of Oblomov's dream, which was a short story from which the full novel grew. It was a weird intermezzo at first, but its influence is notable all the way through the rest of the book. In itself it would make a compelling and well-written, though mediocre story. But the way of living described as roots of Oblomov's wishes in life makes it great in hindsight, a beautiful way of describing the influences of nurture in later life.

I just want to say I greatly appreciated Gontsjarov's writing. He does what those Russians do so damn well: the rich choice of words. It makes the read somewhat tough at times, but such a pleasure to do so.

To end it, a quote which illustrates what Oblomov's life constitutes of:
“When you don't know what you're living for, you don't care how you live from one day to the next. You're happy the day has passed and the night has come, and in your sleep you bury the tedious question of what you lived for that day and what you're going to live for tomorrow.” ( )
  friso | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
In a world of planners Oblomov plans himself to sleep. In a world of action he discovers the poetry of procrastination. In a world of passion he discovers the delicacies of reluctance. And when we reject his passivity he bears our secret desire for it like a martyr. For us he sleeps, for us he lies in bed daydreaming, for us his mind goes back to the Arcadia of childhood, drinking the opiate of memory. For our sakes who live in clean rooms and who jump out of bed when the alarm clock goes, Oblomov lies among his cobwebs and his fleas, his books unread, his ink dry in the bottle, his letters unanswered. While we prosper, he is cheated...

There is a transcendent gentleness, an ineffable prosaic delicacy, in the book. But we can’t get away from it; the second part, although benign and moral, is dull... The undertone of dream and fairy-tale runs through the book like the murmur of a stream, so that to call Goncharov a realist is misleading. Oblomov himself becomes one of those transfigured characters which have grown over a long period of writing, which exist on several planes, and which go on growing in the mind after the book is put down. Now he seems to symbolise the soul, now he i£ the folly of idleness, now he is the accuser of success. He is an enormous character.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Review of Books, V.S. Pritchett

» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Goncharov, Ivanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andreyev, NikolayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bukowska, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chagall, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duddington, NatalieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ehre, MiltonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huisman, WilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langeveld, ArthurAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langeveld, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearl, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, MarianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wijk, N. vanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ilya Ilyitch Oblomov was lying in bed one morning in his flat in Gorohovy Street, in one of the big houses that had almost as many inhabitants as a whole country town.
“Yesterday one has wished, to-day one attains the madly longed-for object, and to-morrow one will blush to think that one ever desired it.”
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The novel focuses on the midlife crisis of the main character, Oblomov, an upper middle class son of a member of Russia's nineteenth century landed gentry. Oblomov's distinguishing characteristic is his slothful attitude towards life. While a common negative characteristic, Oblomov raises this trait to an art form, conducting his little daily business apathetically from his bed.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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Seven Stories Press

2 editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.

Editions: 1583228403, 1583229868


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