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- [Oblomov:] "Picture a thief or a fallen woman or a cheated fool, if you like, but do not forget the rest of mankind. What about humanity, pray? Writers like yourself try to write only with the head. What? Do you suppose the intellect can work separately from the heart? Why, the intellect needs love to fertilize it. Rather, stretch out your hand to the fallen and raise him, weep over him if he is lost beyond recall, but in no case make sport of him, for he is one to whom there should be extended only compassion. See in him yourself, and act accordingly. That done, I will read you, and bow my head before you." [...] "Give me man, and man alone" said Oblomov. "And, having given me him, do you try to love him."
Quotes about the novel
- [Goncharov's] best work is Oblomov (1857), which exposed the laziness and apathy of the smaller landed gentry in Russia anterior to the reforms of Alexander II. Russian critics have pronounced this work to be a faithful characterization of Russia and the Russians. Dobrolubov said of it, “Oblomofka [the country-seat of the Oblomovs] is our fatherland: something of Oblomov is to be found in every one of us.” Peesarev, another celebrated critic, declared that “Oblomovism,” as Goncharov called the sum total of qualities with which he invested the hero of his story, “is an illness fostered by the nature of the Slavonic character and the life of Russian society.”