Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is a member of Russia's dying aristocracy - a man so lazy that he has given up his job in the Civil Service, neglected his books, insulted his friends and found himself in debt. Too apathetic to do anything about his problems, he lives in a grubby, crumbling apartment, waited on by Zakhar, his equally idle servant. Terrified by the bustle and activity necessary to participate in the real world, Oblomov manages to avoid work, postpone change and - finally - risks losing the love of his life. Written with sympathetic humour and compassion, Oblomov made Goncharov famous throughout Russia on its publication in 1859, as readers saw in this story of a man whose defining characteristic is indolence, the portrait of an entire class in decline.
Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891) Russian writer, is best-known for his humorous novel OBLOMOV (1859), a leading work in Russian Realism. Milton Ehre is Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. Among his publications are Oblomov and His Creator: The Life and Art of Ivan Goncharov, Isaac Babel, translations of the plays of Gogol and Chekhov and poems by Anna Akhmatova.