Saturday, 16 February 2013

Kto Oblomov? Who is Oblomov!

Kto Oblomov? Who is Oblomov!

Oblomov (Russian: Обломов) is the best known novel by Russian writer Ivan Goncharov, first published in 1859. Oblomov is also the central character of the novel, often seen as the ultimate incarnation of the superfluous man, a symbolic character in 19th-century Russian literature

Oblomov's distinguishing characteristic is his slothful attitude towards life which, Oblomov raises this trait to an art form, conducting his little daily business apathetically from his bed. He is forever contemplating making grand plans for his estate, to arrest its decline, but he never gets around to formulating them, let alone implementing them

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 and just manages to move from his bed to a chair in the first 50 pages.

The character was seen as an allegory for Russia's ills, and russian history since the novel was published has often been viewed as a struggle against Oblomovshinoi (oblomov ism). It is probably best summed up by a famous quote from Viktor Chernomyrdin (9 April 1938 – 3 November 2010) former prime minister of Russia and was the founder and the first chairman of Gazprom:

"We wanted the best, but it turned out as always" (Хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда in Russian)

I have always loved this novel, it struck a chord with me, as I identified with some of Oblomov's character traits, and I have often viewed my own life as struggle against my own inner Oblomovshinoi.

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