Oblomov

Oblomov

1859

Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Throughout the novel he rarely leaves his room or bed. In the first 50 pages, he manages only to move from his bed to a ch...

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NovelSatireFiction

496 Pages
3.7

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Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Throughout the novel he rarely leaves his room or bed. In the first 50 pages, he manages only to move from his bed to a chair. The book was considered a satire of Russian intelligentsia.

Oblomov is the second novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov, first published in 1859. Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is the central character of the novel, portrayed as the ultimate incarnation of the superfluous man, a symbolic character in 19th-century Russian literature. Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Throughout the novel he rarely leaves his room or bed. In the first 50 pages, he manages only to move from his bed to a chair.The book was considered[by whom?] a satire of Russian intelligentsia.

The novel focuses on the life of the main character, Ilya Ilyich Oblomov. Oblomov is a member of the upper middle class and the son of a member of Russia's nineteenth century landed gentry. Oblomov's distinguishing characteristic is his slothful attitude towards life. 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. But Oblomov can barely leave his bedroom, much less journey a thousand miles into the country.

 

As he sleeps, a dream reveals Oblomov's upbringing in Oblomovka. He is never required to work or perform household duties, and his parents constantly pull him from school for vacations and trips or for trivial reasons. In contrast, his friend Andrey Stoltz, born to a German father and a Russian mother, is raised in a strict, disciplined environment, and he is dedicated and hard-working.

 

Stoltz visits at the end of Part 1, finally rousing Oblomov from sleep. As the story develops, Stoltz introduces Oblomov to a young woman, Olga, and the two fall in love. However, his apathy and fear of moving forward are too great, and she calls off their engagement when it is clear that he will keep delaying their wedding and avoiding putting his affairs in order.

 

Oblomov is swindled repeatedly by his "friends" Taranteyev and Ivan Matveyevich, his landlady's brother, and Stoltz has to undo the damage each time. The last time, Oblomov ends up living in penury because Taranteyev and Ivan Matveyevich are blackmailing him out of all of his income from the country estate, which lasts for over a year before Stoltz discovers the situation and reports Ivan Matveyevich to his supervisor. Meanwhile, Olga leaves Russia and visits Paris, where she bumps into Stoltz on the street. The two strike up a romance and end up marrying.

 

However, not even Oblomov could go through life without at least one moment of self-possession and purpose. When Taranteyev's behavior at last reaches insufferable lows, Oblomov confronts him, slaps him around a bit and finally kicks him out of the house. Sometime before his death he is visited by Stoltz, who had promised to his wife a last attempt at bringing Oblomov back to the world. During this visit Stoltz discovers that Oblomov has married his widowed landlady, Agafia Pshenitsina, and had a child - named Andrey, after Stoltz. Stoltz realizes that he can no longer hope to reform Oblomov, and leaves. Oblomov spends the rest of his life in a second Oblomovka, continuing to be taken care of by Agafia Pshenitsina as he used to be taken care of as a child. She can prepare the food he likes, meal, and makes sure that Oblomov does not have a single worrisome thought.

 

By then Oblomov had already accepted his fate, and during the conversation he mentions "Oblomovitis" as the real cause of his demise. Oblomov dies in his sleep, finally fulfilling his wish to sleep forever. Stoltz adopts his son upon his death.

 

in the latter, the book is divided into 4 parts as well, but in the Russian, Part I contains 11 chapters, Parts II and III contain 12 chapters each, and Part IV, 11 chapters. Standard Russian edition's chapters are rather even, perhaps tailored to fit into the literary magazine where the novel was originally published.

 

 

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