From Bildungsroman to Schlafroman: Goncharov’s Oblomov

  • Michael Greaney


Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov (1859) is, arguably, the first novel in literary history to devote itself to the sleep-life of its protagonist; it is also a recognizable prototype for the ‘world-from-a-bed’ school of fiction that would come into its own in the modernist writings of Kafka, Proust, Woolf and others. For Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, the apathetic St Petersburg landowner who manages to doze through most of his own Bildungsroman, sleep is a form of obstinately languorous resistance to the imperatives of capitalist productivity and compulsory heterosexuality; even so, I will suggest that Goncharov’s Schlafroman has a lingering dependence on the energies of the genre that it seeks to subvert.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Greaney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and Creative WritingLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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