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Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov

Oblomov (1859)

by Ivan Goncharov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,556543,610 (4.02)114
  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 114 mentions

English (43)  Dutch (6)  French (3)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
I know I would have gotten a lot more out of this novel if I had been able to discuss with others.

It doesn‘t feel like a whole lot happens — mainly because, due to his own ideals (and fears), Oblomov decides to spend most of his life doing not much.

I can see why it‘s considered a classic, however.

Read for #1001Books ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Aug 5, 2019 |
I first read this in 2008, after it was strongly recommended to me by multiple friends (who were all of a group that have Russian as a second language, for various divergent reasons). Each of them made the same statement. "You must read Oblomov to truly understand Russians." The Stephen Pearl translation is probably as close as you might come to reading it in the original (he won an award for this in 2008). Oblomov's tale was originally published in 1859, long before the revolution, and yet it's a cautionary tale that still has revelations of the Russian psyche today. ( )
1 vote Lyndatrue | Oct 25, 2017 |
I find it hard to describe this Russian story. Oblomov struck me as more sad than funny, though there were certainly some humor in this novel. ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 6, 2017 |
A reread from years ago when I was going through a phase of reading Russian literature--just as enthralling as before. A social satire on the "landed gentry" class in 19th century Russia, as concentrated in the sloth Oblomov, a feckless, apathetic protagonist--I couldn't call him a "hero"--representing the old order where nothing should be changed and his friend Stolz, the half-German half-Russian, who tries to bring Oblomov from his slough, trying to convince him to go back to his estate from town, even introducing him to a young lady, Olga. The two fall is love but she realizes he'll never change his outlook and consummate laziness, so they part. Stolz represents change and progress. All live their lives and Oblomov finally dies, still in the clutches of his "oblomovitis". A work of great depth of perception. Marvellous character development all through with all characters. Oblomov is one of those archetypes, like, say, Don Quixote; you laugh at him but also he touches your emotions.
I thought this an excellent translation; one would never know it was from decades ago. A masterpiece, most highly recommended. ( )
1 vote janerawoof | Jul 30, 2017 |
Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is not merely indolent. He is virtually inert. He can almost not even wake up, let alone wash or put his clothes on. And as for leaving his apartment, that is out of the question. Everything is too much for him. Thinking is too much. Reading is too much. He can barely muster enough energy to eat and drink and breathe. And he is as defenceless as he is inactive. So it may not be surprising that his “friends” are taking advantage of him and kind heart. All that is except for Andrei Stoltz. Oblomov grew up with Stoltz and the latter has an undying appreciation for Oblomov’s pureness of soul and kind heart. He refers to Oblomov’s intelligence as well, though we rarely see evidence of this. It is Stoltz who initiates much of the action in the novel — the offer (declined) to go abroad, the introduction to Olga, the rescue from the fiends bilking Oblomov of the wealth from his estate, and the care for Oblomov’s inheritance. If Stoltz is the figure of action and industry, then Oblomov is his mirror opposite in inaction and passivity. And yet their love and respect for each other binds them together, perhaps against reason and inclination.

There can be little doubt that Goncharov has created a number of vivid and lasting characters, even beyond the titular figure who lends his name to a recognized condition. But it may be his account of love, indeed of different forms of love, that makes this novel more remarkable. The burgeoning of love between Olga and Oblomov is beyond touching. Its consequences are painful. But equally valuable is the more stable love that each arrives at for another. And of course the love of friendship that Stoltz feels towards Oblomov is richly explored.

It might not stand up against some of the well-acknowledged classics of 19th century Russian literature, but Oblomov is still well worth reading. Just don’t get too comfortable on that divan! Gently recommended. ( )
1 vote RandyMetcalfe | Oct 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (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 (65 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Goncharov, IvanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bukowska, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chagall, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duddington, NatalieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ehre, MiltonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huisman, WilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langeveld, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langeveld, ArthurAfterwordsecondary 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140440402, Paperback)

Oblomov was considered a satirical portrait of the Russian aristocracy, who no longer had a useful role in society. Oblomov is a nineteenth century Russian landowner brought up to do nothing for himself. He, like his parents, only eats and sleeps. He barely graduates from college and cannot force himself to do any kind of work, feeling that work is too much trouble for a gentleman. His indolence results finally in his living in filth and being cheated consistently. Even love cannot stir him. Though he realizes his trouble and dubs it 'Oblomovism,' he can do nothing about it. Eventually his indolence kills him, as his doctors tell him it will.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

First published 150 years ago, Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov is and undisputed classic of Russian literature, the artistic stature and cultural significance of which have been compared to such master pieces as Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Fyodor Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.nbsp; Until now, no English-language edition has done justice to this astonishing, sidesplitting, and deeply poignant novel. Years in preparation, Stephan Pearl's landmark translation, with its innovative lexicon, pitch-perfect ear for dialect and colloquial speech, and superb prose styling, allows today's reader to appreciate Oblomov at new heights of emotional, ironic, and comic satisfaction. Set in Petersburg, Russia, this is the story of Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, an amiable, thirty-something underachiever, who lives in an apartment with his life-long with his life-long servant, Zakhar. Oblomov rarely changes out of his dressing gown, spending his days drifting in and out of sleep, dreaming of his idyllic childhood on his ancestral estate, Oblomovka. His boyhood friend, Stoltz, motivated accomplished, and always alert, often visits Oblomov. When Stoltz introduces him to the beautiful and cultured Olga, Oblomov moves to the country to be near her. Olga is soon smitten with the lovable Oblomov but is determined to change him into a man in action.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Seven Stories Press

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

Editions: 1583228403, 1583229868

Yale University Press

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

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