Ivan Goncharov


“Emotional quicksand … illuminating a spiritual and social condition.” — The New Yorker

Oblomov is a timeless novel and a monument to human idleness.

From the pen of Ivan Goncharov (1812–1891) emerged a portrait of a young man — Ilya Ilyitch Oblomov — a dreamer, content above all to spend most of the day in bed. Rich in situational comedy, psychological complexity and social satire, Oblomov is a masterpiece of skilled and imaginative literature; comparable in its stature to Gogol's Dead Souls, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.

This vivacious translation by Natalie Duddington captures all the subtle comedy and near-tragedy of the original.

For fans of Ottessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the classic Russian novel about an indolent aristocrat who spends most of his days in bed.


«From the start, Oblomov was recognized as a masterpiece. 'Goncharov is ten heads above me in talent,' said Chekhov. 'I am in rapture over Oblomov and keep rereading it,' said Tolstoy. And Dostoevsky came to rank it with Dead Souls and War and Peace. Who are we to disagree?” — Robert Gottlieb

“In each of us there resides a significant part of Oblomov.” — Nikolay Dobrolyubov

“Emotional quicksand … illuminating a spiritual and social condition.” — The New Yorker

“In its particular sensitivity to the subtlety of Goncharov's Russian, in its liveliness and its elegance [Duddington's translation has] a freshness of manner that admirably matches the same enduring quality in the original.” — Richard Freeborn, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of London.

“Goncharov is ten heads above me in talent.” — Anton Chekhov

“I am in raptures over Oblomov and keep re-reading it.” — Leo Tolstoy

About the author

Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov (1812–1891) was a Russian novelist and travel writer, whose highly esteemed novels dramatize social change in Russia and contain some of Russian literature's most vivid and memorable characters.

Goncharov's most notable achievement lies in his three novels, of which the first was A Common Story (1847), a novel that immediately made his reputation when it was acclaimed by the influential critic Vissarion Belinsky. Oblomov (1859), a more mature work, generally accepted as one of the most important Russian novels, draws a powerful contrast between the aristocratic and capitalistic classes in Russia and attacks the way of life based on serfdom. Goncharov's third novel, The Precipice (1869), is a brilliant work of psychological prose.

In all three novels Goncharov contrasts an easygoing dreamer with an opposing character who typifies businesslike efficiency; the contrast illumines social conditions in Russia at a time when rising capitalism and industrialization uneasily coexisted with the aristocratic traditions of old Russia.

Oblomov is an indisputable classic of Russian literature, the artistic stature and cultural significance of which may be compared only to other such masterpieces as Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and Fyodor Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.
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