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Old 01-30-2009, 06:31 PM   #1
Madam Broshkina
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Goncharov, Ivan: Oblomov. v1 30 Jan 2009

From the Guardians 1000 Novels everyone must read article:


Nineteenth-century Russian writers were obsessed by the figure of the "superfluous man" — the well-bred, well-educated man who could find no role in an inert, dysfunctional society. Oblomov, the greatest comic character in Russian literature, is just such a figure: a nobleman who can barely be bothered to get out of bed, which is where most of the novel takes place. An early love affair is thwarted by his inertia, his associates betray him, and his friend Stolz fails in repeated attempts to galvanise him. Yet still we warm to the kind, gentle, all-too-human Oblomov, because we see in him an essential part of ourselves. The book was an instant sensation in Russia; "Oblomovitis" became a recognised malady, and Lenin used the character to encapsulate what had to be swept away in 1917. Apparently, Russian mothers still tell their children to stir themselves or they will turn into little Oblomovs.
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