Sofa, So Good
by Ivan Goncharov
translation by Marian Schwartz
$33.95 List Price
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. Originally published in 1859, Oblomov chronicles the misadventures of Ilya Ilich Oblomov, a protagonist who doesn’t leave his apartment, indeed scarcely shifts off his sofa, for the first 180-odd pages. Instead, like many Russian men of his era and station, Oblomov remains stolidly in place and worries ineffectually about the prospect of change—the planned uprooting of his Saint Petersburg household, distressing notices of declining fortune from his country estate, even casual invitations to dinner.
Which is not to say he is free of anxiety or preoccupation. Like all good aristocrats, he has a
… full text available to registered users