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Bunim & Bannigan Books

There's a crack in everything,
That's what lets the light in.
Leonard Cohen, Anthem   


$45.00 CAD
  • Product Code: 009

Also Available in Softcover



Translated by Stephen Pearl

Awarded the 2008 AATSEEL Prize for best translation 
from Slavic language to English 

ATSEEL is the Association of Teachers of Slavic 
and Eastern European Languages

Introduction by Galya Diment
Foreword by Tatyana Tolstaya

What happens when a loveable, indolent man falls in love? A classic of world literature.

Even though Ivan Goncharov wrote several books that were widely read and discussed during his lifetime, today he is remembered for one novel, Oblomov, published in 1859, an indisputable classic of Russian literature, the artistic stature and cultural significance of which may be compared only to other such masterpieces as Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls, Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and Fyodor Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.

Stephen Pearl's new translation, the first major English-language publication of Oblomov in more than fifty years, succeeds exquisitely in introducing this astonishing and endearing novel to a new generation of readers. Rich in situational comedy, psychological complexity, social satire, and incisive depictions of class, ethnicity, and sexuality, Oblomov is clearly a novel that was written for all time.

Stephen Pearl (translator) was a simultaneous interpreter at the United Nations for more than thirty years and was Chief of English Interpretation there for fifteen years. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, Oxford University with an M.A. in Classics.

Galya Diment (Introduction) is Professor and Chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of Pniniad: Vladimir Nabokov and Marc Szeftel (University of Washington) and the Autobiographical Novel of Co-Consciousness: Goncharov, Woolf, and Joyce (University Press of Florida). She edited Goncharov's Oblomov: A Critical Companion (Northwestern).

Tatyana Tolstaya (Foreword) is a Russian short-story writer, essayist, novelist, and greatgrandniece of Leo Tolstoy. Her translated collections include On the Golden Porch (1990) and Sleepwalker in a Fog (1992), stories, and Pushkin's Children: Writings on Russia and Russians (2003), essays.

  • Alternate selection of the Readers’ Subscription Book Club
  • Adopted at undergraduate and graduate levels —
    a definitive academic edition Russian Literature 6 x 9, 472 pages


"[Goncharov] is ten heads above me in talent." - Anton Chekov

"Oblomov is a truly great work, the likes of which one has not seen for a long, long time I am in rapture over Oblomov and keep rereading it." - Leo Tolstoy

"A deep warm bath of a book, something you can slip down into silently and fall gently through its pages until you are drowsy with pleasure... It's a longish book, but it’s not heavy-going thanks to a new translation by Stephen Pearl." - Michael Enright, Canadian Broadcasting’s Sunday Edition

"A new translation, a snappily colloquial and readable one, has just been published..." - Joseph N. Frank, The New Republic

"This is an excellent translation... I have no hesitation recommending it... Pearl's rendering is fluid, elegant, and witty, and it is a great relief to have a replacement for the 1954 translation by David Margarshack, which is dated." - Barbara Henry, University of Washington

"A fine new translation." - Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"Though it would be absurd to expect that Pearl has unveiled a new Oblomov—one that significantly alters the reader's view of Goncharov's masterpiece—this translation clearly surpasses its predecessors. Eschewing the dangerous "be-literal-at-all-costs" principle observed by some translators, Pearl offers a consistently smooth, supple, and idiomatic rendition of the novel—a version that preserves the "spirit" of the original Russian text. Summing up: Highly recommended. All readers; all levels." - R. Gregg, emeritus, Vassar College, Choice Magazine

"Stephen Pearl's translation is by far the best I've read... it boasts a livelier, more contemporary idiom while it faithfully reproduces Goncharov's 19th-century Russian." - John Givens, university of Rochester

"Marvelously translated by Stephen Pearl without sounding overwhelmingly British or American." - Keith Garebian, The Globe & Mail

"Beautiful new edition and translation..." - Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer