Thursday, November 23, 2006

"Oblomov" review

Keith Garebian penned an excellent review of Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov for the Globe & Mail:

Just as Dickens's readers know what it is to be a Scrooge or Shakespeare's audiences know what it is to be a Shylock or a Hamlet, Russians know the many connotations of the name Oblomov, some of which are indolence, inertia, apathy and indifference to change. Peggy Guggenheim called Samuel Beckett (one of her lovers) an Oblomov because of his lack of zest for life. Lenin used the name to ridicule his political opponents who were opposed to dialectical change.

Yet, most North Americans don't know who Oblomov is because he appears as the eponymous character in a classic Russian novel, a fiction that took its author, Ivan Goncharov, 10 years to write (1849-1859) and that took 55 years to reach the English public, despite the author's reputation in his homeland for critical realism about patriarchal and conservative petty nobility. [click here to read the rest of the review]

The scholar Galya Diment wrote a fine "page 69" treatment of the novel; click here to read it.

--Marshal Zeringue