Vladimir's Reviews > Oblomov

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
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's review
Sep 21, 09

i'm glad many people here liked the book, which is one of my most favorite among Russian literature. I'm even more glad since very few Russian people seem to like it or it's main hero.

I would like to offer you my point of view on Oblomov. To me, it's difficult to talk about his "salvation", for he's nothing to be saved from. Neither he nor the author (who himself bore strong resemblance to his protagonist) believe he needs to be saved. He lives the life of a "poet and philosopher", as we hear in the first chapter from one of his guests.

Those guest who keep coming to him come for a reason - they all want his advice, which means they respect him. Meantime, they all represent the vanity of this world, Stolz (which is Pride in German) being the most powerful of them. Oblomov doesn't want to participate in this swirling of meaningless world around him, living in peace and serenity of his dreamworld - Oblomovka, where he was raised in love, and that's what he represents - the Love itself.

His relationship to Olga may seem romantic, even self-sacrificial on Olga's behalf. Apparently, she's trying to save him - but she never asks him what he really wants in his life, acting as if she's the one who knows better. We can also remember that for her it was "like a game", the whole relationship thing, and that she actually acted as a part of Stoltz's plot to transform his friend to a more sociable being. So, i wouldn't call it love at all, at least, not on the part of Olga.

Finally, I would like to say a few words about what seems to be the "happy end" - Olga and Stolz living together in their house, reading books, discussing them and so on. My own personal impression after i read those pages was that of complete, almost desperate boredom of such living. It's too calm, too placid, too emotionless. I could feel no love it their union - and perhaps that's because none of them was capable of loving.

This tragic book to me is more than just a sigh for old, disappearing Russia, submitting to inevitable progress. It's a statement that nothing will be the same anymore, and that people who preserved the spirit of the nation that was carefully created for thousands of years were becoming extinct and useless. The saddest part, they really are useless in any practical sense, but should we always judge everything depending on how useful it is?
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Luiz Souza great review.

Julia This is an amazing review. I feel that you capture everything Goncharov wanted to say!

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