Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov

oblomov yale cover.jpg

By Ivan Goncharov 

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz 

Afterword by Mikhail Shishkin

Seven Stories Press, 2008; paperback ed., Yale University Press, 2009  

Winner, 2009 Best Translation into English Award given by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Literature

Winner, 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize sponsored by the German Studies Association

Finalist, 2009 Souerette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book, sponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters

Finalist, 2008 National Translation Award, sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission

Finalist, 2008 National Translators Award, sponsored by the American Literary Translators Association

Finalist, 2010 Lewis Galantiere Award sponsored by the American Translators Association.

A Slate Best Book of 2008

Set at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when idleness was still looked upon by Russia’s serf-owning rural gentry as a plausible and worthy goal, Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov follows the travails of an unlikely hero, a young aristocrat incapable of making a decision. Indolent, inattentive, incurious, given to daydreaming and procrastination, Oblomov clearly predates the ideal of the industrious modern man, yet he is impossible not to admire through Goncharov’s masterful prose. Translator Marian Schwartz breathes new life into this Russian masterpiece in this, the first translation from the generally recognized definitive edition of the original, as well the first to attempt to replicate in English Goncharov’s wry humor and all-embracing humanity. Replete with ingenious social satire and cutting criticism of nineteenth-century Russian society, this edition of Oblomov will introduce new readers to the novel that Leo Tolstoy praised as “a truly great work, the likes of which one has not seen for a long, long time.”


"Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov and Mikhail Bulgakov’s White Guard are a new and noteworthy pairing, and their translations are brought to us by Marian Schwartz, a prize-winning translator of Russian fiction, history, biography, and criticism."Karen Vanuska, Quarterly Conversation

"Other translations describe his favourite posture as lying down, but Marian Schwartz boldly goes for ‘recumbence’, with its suggestion of ornate Latin repose: 'For Ilya Ilich, recumbence was neither a necessity, as it would be for an ill or sleepy man, nor an occasional occurrence, as for someone who was weary, nor a pleasure, as for a lazy man; it was his normal state.'” Michael Wood, London Review of Books


"[Goncharov is] ten heads above me in talent.”—Anton Chekhov

Oblomov is a truly great work, the likes of which one has not seen for a long, long time. I am in rapture over Oblomov and keep rereading it.”—Leo Tolstoy

"Offers a fine example of sly and compassionate satire, a very rare genre indeed"—Michael Wood, London Review of Books

"You can't help but be captivated by the 'rapture' that Tolstoy spoke of when reading and rereading it."—Ron Rosenblum, Slate, A Slate Best Book of 2008

“The combination of Goncharov's edits and Schwartz’s translation left me thumbing back to the copyright page to confirm 1862, not 1962, as this translation sparkles with contemporary lyricism and humor."—Karen Vanuska, Quarterly Conversation

“Long before Jerry Seinfeld and Samuel Beckett, there was Ivan Goncharov, a minor government official in czarist Russia, and his classic novel about an ordinary Russian aristocrat mired in his own extraordinary inertia.”—Chris Lehman, Bookforum

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