Friday, February 08, 2019

Ten top books about idleness

Josh Cohen is a professor of modern literary theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of many books, including the newly released Not Working: Why We Have to Stop.

One of his top ten books about idleness, as shared at the Guardian:
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov

A pampered only child raised on an idyllic country estate, Oblomov is stuck with his aged, cantankerous manservant in a dusty St Petersburg apartment, unable to summon the will to get out of bed and face the ominous financial demands and administrative tasks proliferating around him. The rousing pep talks of his tireless, go-getting friend Stolz briefly propel him into life, but in the end Oblomov – whiny, self-pitying yet strangely lovable – can never resist the inexorable pull of inertia. No less than Lenin lamented the chronic malaise of “Oblomovitis” affecting the Russian people. Good for them, I say.
Read about another entry on the list.

Oblomov is among Jeff Somers's top five novels whose main characters are shut-ins, Judith Rosen's funniest books, John Sutherland's top ten overlooked novels, Alexandra Silverman's eight top examples of sloth in literature, Francine du Plessix Gray's five favorite fictional portraits of idleness and lassitude and Emrys Westacott's five best books on bad habits.

The Page 69 Test: Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov.

--Marshal Zeringue