I am please to announce completion of my latest audio book, Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov. When I started this project, I thought it would be a fairly uninteresting reading of an unknown work by a little-known author. That’s not how it turned out. This is a book that literally everybody was reading in Russia when it came out, and I think it has something to say to modern people as it deals with questions of work and leisure. Here’s my summary (with help from the Wikipedia):

Oblomov 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 is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions. Spoiled as a child to the point of not even being able to put on his own socks, Oblomov is unprepared to deal with the smallest difficulty of adult life. In his fevered dreams he sees the words “Oblomovstchina” (“Oblomovism” or in this translation “the disease of Oblomovka”) in flaming letters on the ceiling putting a name to the disability of which he is all too aware.

This romantic novel was considered a satire of Russian nobility whose social and economic function was increasingly in question in mid-nineteenth century Russia, and from it the word “Oblomovstchina” entered the Russian vocabulary.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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5 Responses to Oblomov

  1. Dorothy says:

    I’ve just been enjoying Daughter of the Commandant… 🙂

  2. Kevin says:

    Found it. Thanks.

    I’ve enjoyed my Librivox projects from Russian literature in English translation. Probably the best is The Daughter of the Commandant.

  3. Denis O'BRIEN says:

    Hi, thought you might like to know that the BBC has just re released their adaptation of Oblomov. I enjoyed the first episode so much I downloaded your reading of the book and have been enjoying it. The BBC have just re packaged their radio offering under the new brand BBC Sounds app which I think is available in America. BBC Sounds gives access to lots of radio programmes as pod casts. Just search for Oblomov

  4. Kevin says:

    Thank you for your kind comments. It’s heartening to learn that someone listens to and benefits from one of my audio books. As you can see from my Librivox catalog, I have read several items of Russian literature.

  5. Rolf - Amsterdam NL says:

    You’ve done a magnificent job with Oblomov. I am very grateful. And thanks to your remarks at the end of (each?) episode / chapter, i have found your site. Currently i’m reading Ulysses, and Oblomov is next on my list. Did you know there was a Broadcast on Bloomsday 1982 by RTE of the entire Masterpiece? It’s on https://archive.org/details/Ulysses-Audiobook/ , 30 hours of bewildering joy, done by a huge team. Your reading of Oblomov – to me – is definitely of similar Value. Thanks once more!

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