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He also served in many official capacities, including the position of censor. Goncharov was born in Simbirsk into the family of a wealthy merchant; as a goncarog for his grandfather’s military service, goncaorv were elevated to gentry status. After graduating, he served for a short time in the office of the Governor of Simbirsk, before moving to Saint Petersburg where he worked as government translator and private tutor, while publishing poetry and fiction in private almanacs.

Goncharov’s first novel, A Common Storywas published in Sovremennik in Goncharov’s second and best-known novel Oblomov was published in in Otechestvennye zapiski. His third and final novel The Precipice was published in Vestnik Evropy in He also worked as a literary and theatre critic.

Ivan Goncharov – Wikipedia

Towards the end of his life Goncharov wrote a memoir called An Uncommon Storyin which he accused his literary rivals, first and foremost Ivan Turgenevof having plagiarized his works and prevented him from achieving European fame. The memoir was published in Fyodor Dostoyevskyamong others, considered Goncharov an author of high stature. Anton Chekhov is quoted as stating that Goncharov was ” Ivan Goncharov was born in Simbirsk now Ulyanovsk. His father Alexander Ivanovich Goncharov was a wealthy grain merchant and a state official who served several terms as mayor of Simbirsk.

He was educated first by his mother, Avdotya Matveevna, and then his godfather Nikolay Nikolayevich Tregubov, a nobleman and a former Russian Navy officer. Tregubov, a man of liberal views and a secret Masonic lodge member, [5] who knew some of the Decembrists personally, and who was one of the most popular men amongst the Simbirsk intelligentsiawas a major early influence upon Goncharov, who particularly enjoyed his seafaring stories.

All the practical issues were now mother’s, and she proved to be an excellent housewife; all the official duties were his,” Ivan Goncharov remembered. In — Goncharov studied at a private boarding-school owned by Rev. It was here that he learned the French and German languages and started reading European writers, borrowing books from Troitsky’s vast library.

There he spent eight unhappy years, detesting the low quality of education and the severe discipline, taking solace in self-education. Then Pushkin came as a revelation; the serial publication of his poem Evgeny Onegin captured the young man’s imagination. At the University, with its atmosphere of intellectual freedom and lively debate, Goncharov’s spirit thrived. One episode proved to be especially memorable: Katchenovsky on the authenticity of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.

I was enchanted by his poetry at the time Reading and translating were his main occupations.

Ivan Goncharov

Inthe Telescope magazine published two chapters of Eugene Sue ‘s novel Atar-Gulltranslated by Goncharov. This was his debut publication. InGoncharov graduated from the University and returned home to enter the chancellery of Simbirsk governor A. A year later, he moved to Saint Petersburg and started working as a translator at the Finance Ministry ‘s Foreign commerce department.

Here, in the Russian capital, he became friends with the Maykov family and tutored both Apollon Maykov and Valerian Maykov in the Latin language and in Russian literature. The Maykovs’ almanac Snowdrop featured many of Goncharov’s poems, but he soon stopped dabbling in poetry altogether. Some of those early verses were later incorporated into the novel A Common Story as Aduev’s writings, a sure sign that the author had stopped taking them seriously.

Goncharov’s first piece of prose appeared in an issue of Snowdropa satirical novella called Evil Illnessridiculing romantic sentimentalism and fantasizing. Another novella, A Fortunate Blundera “high-society drama” in the tradition set by MarlinskyVladimir Odoevsky and Vladimir Sollogub[5] tinged with comedy, appeared in another privately published almanac, Moonlit Nightsin Published in Sovremennik six years later, it failed to make any impact, being very much a period piece, but later scholars reviewed it positively, as something in the vein of the Nikolay Gogol -inspired genre known as the “physiological essay”, marked by a fine style and precision in depicting the life of the common man in the city.


It dealt with the conflict between the excessive romanticism of a young Russian nobleman who has recently arrived in Saint Petersburg from the provinces, and the sober pragmatism of the emerging commercial class of the capital. A Common Story polarized critics and made its author famous. The novel was a direct response to Vissarion Belinsky’s call for exposing a new type, that of the complacent romantic, common at the time; it was lavishly praised by the famous critic as one of the best Russian books of the year.

Leo Tolstoywho liked the novel, used the same obolmov to describe social egotism and the inability of some people to see beyond their immediate interests. In Sovremennik published Oblomov’s Dreaman extract from Goncharov’s future second novel Oblomovknown kblomov the working title The Artist at the timewhich worked well on its own as a short story.

Again it was lauded by the Sovremennik staff. Slavophileswhile giving the author credit for being a fine stylist, reviled the irony aimed at patriarchal Russian ways.

In Goncharov embarked on a long journey through England, AfricaJapan, and back to Russia, on board the frigate Palladaas a secretary for Admiral Yevfimy Putyatinwhose mission was to inspect Alaska and other distant outposts of the Empire, and also to establish trade relations with Japan. The log-book which it was Goncharov’s duty to keep served as a basis for his future book. He returned to Saint Petersburg on 25 Februaryafter traveling through Siberia and the Uralsthis continental leg of the journey oblomlv six months.

In Frigate “Pallada” was published as a separate book; it received favourable reviews and became very popular. For the midth century Russian readership the book came as a revelation, providing new insights into the world, hitherto unknown. Goncharov, a well-read man and a specialist in the history and economics of the countries he visited, proved to be a competent and insightful writer. Again, the anti-romantic tendency prevailed: Throughout the s Goncharov worked on his second novel, but the process was slow goncarrov many reasons.

In he accepted the post of censor in the Saint Petersburg censorship committee. In this capacity, he helped publish important works by Ivan Turgenev, Nikolay NekrasovAleksey Pisemskyand Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a fact that brought resentment from some of his bosses.

According to Pisemsky, Goncharov was officially reprimanded for permitting his novel A Thousand Souls to be published. Despite all this, Goncharov became the target of many satires and received a negative mention in Herzen’s Kolokol. In the summer of Goncharov went to Marienbad for medical treatment. There he wrote Oblomovalmost in its entirety.

But it’d been growing in me for several years, so what I had to do then was just sit and write everything down,” he later remembered.

It had evolved from the earlier “Oblomov’s Dream”, which was later incorporated into the finished novel as Chapter 9.

The novel caused much discussion in the Russian press, introduced another new term, oblomovshchinato the literary lexicon and is regarded as a Russian classic.

In his essay What Is Oblomovshchina? Nikolay Dobrolyubov provided an ideological background for the type of Russia’s ‘new man’ exposed by Goncharov. The critic argued that, while several famous classic Russian literary characters — OneginPechorinand Rudin — bore symptoms of the ‘Oblomov malaise’, for the first time one single feature, that of social apathy, a self-destructive kind of laziness and unwillingness to even try and lift the burden of all-pervading inertia, had been brought to the fore and subjected to a thorough analysis.

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Fyodor Dostoyevskyamong others, considered Goncharov a noteworthy author of high stature. A moderate conservative [11] at heart, Goncharov greeted the Emancipation reform ofembraced the well-publicized notion of the government’s readiness to “be at the helm of [social] progress”, and found himself in opposition to the revolutionary democrats.

In the summer of he became an editor of Severnaya Potchta The Northern Postan official newspaper of the Interior Ministry, and a year later returned to the censorship committee.

In this second term Goncharov proved to be a harsh censor: Openly condemning ‘ nihilistic ‘ tendencies and what he called “pathetic, imported doctrines of materialismsocialismand communism “, Goncharov found himself the target of heavy criticism. All the while he was working on his third novel, The Precipicewhich came out in extracts: Sophia Nikolayevna Belovodova a goncrov he himself was later skeptical aboutGrandmother and Portrait.

InGoncharov retired from his censorial position to devote himself entirely to writing The Precipicea book he later called “my heart’s child”, which took him twenty years to finish. Towards the end of this tormenting process Goncharov spoke of the novel as a “burden” and an “insurmountable task” oblomog blocked his development and made oblomoc unable to advance as a writer.

In a letter to Turgenev he confessed that, after finishing Part Three, he had toyed with the idea of abandoning the whole project. In The Precipicea story of the romantic rivalry among three men, condemning bolomov as subverting the religious and moral values of Russia, was published in Vestnik Evropy. According to scholar S. The novel had considerable success, but the leftist press turned against its author.

While the latter “had been driven by ideas assimilated by its author from the best men of the s”, The Precipice featured “a bunch of people wandering to and fro without any sense of direction, their lines of action having neither beginning nor end,” according to the critic. Yet, as Vladimir Korolenko later wrote, “Volokhov and all things related to him will be forgotten, as Gogol ‘s Correspondence has been forgotten, while Goncharov’s huge characters will remain in history, towering over all of those spiteful disputes of old.

Goncharov planned a fourth novel, set in the s, but it failed to materialize. Instead he became a prolific critic, providing numerous theater and literature reviews; his “Myriad of Agonies” Milyon terzaniy, is still regarded as one of the best essays on Alexandr Griboyedov ‘s Woe from Wit. In the first edition of The Complete Works of Goncharov was published. After the writer’s death, it became known that he had burnt many later manuscripts.

Towards the end of his life Goncharov wrote an unusual memoir called An Uncommon Storyin which he accused his literary rivals, first and foremost Ivan Turgenevof having plagiarized his works and prevented him from achieving European fame.

Some critics claimed that the book was the product of an unstable mind, [13] while others praised it as oblokov eye-opening, if controversial piece of writing. Goncharov, who never married, spent his last days absorbed in lonely and bitter recriminations because of the negative criticism some of his work had received. In his ashes were moved to the Volkovo Cemetery in Leningrad.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Portrait of Gonvarov Goncharov by Ivan Kramskoi Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Goncharov Remembered by Contemporaries. Retrieved 10 October Goncharov and His Legacy. Foreword to The Works of I. Goncharov in oblonov Volumes. Budanova’s “The confessions of Goncharov. Literaturnoe Nasledstvo, p. New York Review of Books. Literature Debates of Our Times. Gale Encyclopedia of Biography. Retrieved 25 September