Quotes from Oblomov

Ivan Goncharov ·  586 pages

Rating: (22.8K votes)


“When you don't know what you're living for, you don't care how you live from one day to the next. You're happy the day has passed and the night has come, and in your sleep you bury the tedious question of what you lived for that day and what you're going to live for tomorrow.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“A close, daily intimacy between two people has to be paid for: it requires a great deal of experience of life, logic, and warmth of heart on both sides to enjoy each other’s good qualities without being irritated by each other’s shortcomings and blaming each other for them.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Memories are the height of poetry only when they are memories of happiness. When they graze wounds over which scars have formed they become an aching pain.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“She never indulged in reveries or tried to be clever in her conversation; she seemed to have drawn a line in her mind beyond which she never went. It was quite obvious that feelings, every kind of relationship, including love, entered into her life on equal terms with everything else, while in the case of other women love quite manifestly takes part, if not in deeds, then in words, in all the problems of life, and everything else is allowed in only in so far as love leaves room for it. The thing this woman esteemed most was the art of living, of being able to control oneself, of keeping a balance between thought and intention, intention and realization. You could never take her unawares, by surprise, but she was like a watchful enemy whose expectant gaze would always be fixed on you, however hard you tried to lie in wait for him. High society was her element, and therefore tact and caution prompted her every thought, word, and movement.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Although people call love a capricious and unaccountable emotion that arises like an illness, nonetheless it has its own laws and reasons, like everything else. If these laws have been little studied so far, that is because a person struck down by love is in no condition to observe with a scholar's eye as the impression steals into his soul and shackles his emotions like a dream, as first his eyes go blind, at which moment his pulse and then his heart begin beating harder, all of a sudden there arises as of yesterday an undying devotion, the desire to sacrifice oneself; one's I gradually vanishes and crosses over into him or her; the mind becomes wither unusually dull or unusually sharp; the will surrenders to the will of another; and the head bows, the knees shake and the tears and fever come.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“When all the forces in your organism come into play, then life will begin to play around you as well. You'll see what your eyes are closed to now, and you'll hear what you've never heard. The music of your nerves will begin to play, you'll hear the music of the spheres, and you'll listen to the grass grow. Just wait, there's no hurry. It will come in its own time!

p. 257”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Yesterday one has wished, to-day one attains the madly longed-for object, and to-morrow one will blush to think that one ever desired it.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Aşk bir ruh kangreni; o kadar çabuk ilerliyor ki.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“She attended the French performance, but the play's content now had a connection to her life. She read a book and the book invariably had lines with sparks from her mind, the fire of her emotions flickered here and there, and words spoken the night before were written down, as if the author had overheard how her heart beat.

The forest held the same trees, but their sound had taken on special meaning; she had established a vibrant consonance with them. The birds did not simply twitter and chirp but were saying something to each other. Everything around her spoke and responded to her mood; a flower would blossom and she seemed to hear its breathing.

pp. 256-257”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Love was life's hardest school of all.

p. 259”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Memories are either the greatest poetry, when they are memories of a vital happiness, or a burning pain, when they touch dried wounds.

p. 479”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Yes, and I think I will have enough strength to live and love my whole life through. One without the other is impossible.

p. 265”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“What? Do you suppose the intellect can work separately from the heart?”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Now or neverI 'To be or not to be!'"—Oblomov raised himself from his chair a little, but failing to find his slippers with his feet at once, sat down again.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Sosyeteymiş, toplummuş! Sen, herhalde kasten götürüyorsun beni bu sosyete ve toplumlara, orada olma isteğinden tümden kurtulmam için. Yaşam, ah güzel yaşam! Onu nerede aramalı? Aklın, kalbin ilgilerinde mi? Bütün bunların çevresinde döndüğü merkezi göster: öyle bir şey yok, derin bir şey, canlı bir şey yok. Bütün bunlar ölü, uyuyan insanlar, benden de kötü bu sosyete ve toplum üyeleri! Onları yaşamda sürükleyen şey ne? Bunlar yatmayıp her gün sinekler gibi, ileri geri uçuşuyorlar, ama ne için? Bir salona giriyorsun ve misafirlerin nasıl simetrik bir şekilde yerleştiğine, nasıl huzurlu ve derin düşüncelere dalmış bir şekilde kâğıt oynamaya oturduğuna şaşakalıyorsun. Diyecek bir şey yok, şanlı bir yaşam vazifesi! Hareket arayan bir akıl için mükemmel örnek! Bunlar ölü değil mi? Yaşamları boyunca oturup pineklemiyorlar mı? Neden ben evde yattığım ve aklımı valelerle, sineklerle bozmadığım için daha suçlu oluyormuşum?” “Yaşlı onların hepsi, bunu bin kez konuştuk,” dedi Ştoltz. “Daha yeni bir şeyin yok mu?” “Peki bizim iyi gençlerimiz, onlar ne yapıyor? Herhalde uyumuyor, Neva Bulvarı’nda geziniyor, dans ediyorlar? Her gün boş yere üst üste yığılan günler! Ama baksana, onlar gibi giyinmeyen, onların unvan ve adını taşımayanlara nasıl kibirle ve tarifsiz bir özgüvenle, küçümseyici bakışlarla bakıyorlar. Ve zavallılar kendilerinin kalabalıktan yüksekte olduğunu hayal ediyor: ‘Bizler, bizden başka kimsenin çalışmadığı yerlerde çalışırız; biz koltukların en ön sırasındayız, Knez N.’nin balosundayız, sadece bizi davet ettiler bu baloya’... Ama bir araya toplanınca da vahşiler gibi içip kavga ederler! Bunlar mı canlı, uyumayan insanlar? Hem sadece gençler de değil: yetişkinlere de bak. Bir araya geliyor, birbirlerini davet ediyorlar, ne büyük konukseverlik, ne iyilik, ne birbirlerine düşkünlük! Öğle yemeğinde, akşam yemeğinde görev gibi toplanıyorlar, neşesiz, soğuk bir halde, aşçılarıyla, salonlarıyla övünmek ve sonra da bıyık altından gülmek, birbirlerine çelme takmak için. Evvelsi gün, yemekten sonra orada bulunmayan ünlüleri karalamaya başladıkları zaman nereye bakacağımı bilemedim, masanın altına saklanmak istedim: ‘O aptal, bu rezil, diğeri hırsız, ötekisi komik’; sanki avlanıyorlar! Bunu söylerken bir de birbirlerine şöyle der gibi bakıyorlar: ‘Haydi çık sen dışarı, sıra sana da gelecek...’ Eğer bunlar öyleyse neden onlarla yan yana geliyorlar? Neden birbirlerinin elini böyle sertçe sıkıyorlar? Ne samimi bir gülüş, ne bir duygudaşlık ışıltısı! Gösterişli unvanlar, rütbeler almaya çabalıyorlar. ‘Benim şuyum var, ben bu oldum,’ diye böbürleniyorlar... Bu mu yaşamak? Ben bunu istemem. Ne öğreneceğim orada, ne alacağım?”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Life is duty and obligation, therefore love, too, is a duty. It's as if God sent it to me,' she said, looking up at the sky, 'and told me to love.'

p. 265”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“The common herd of "burghers", those cattle, complete with horns, who turn millstones with their bare hands.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“I began life with a quenching of the light of day, and, from the first moment that I realized myself, realized also that I was on the wane.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“A lover of comfort might shrug after looking at the whole apparent jumble of furniture, old paintings, statues with missing arms and legs, engravings that were sometimes bad but precious in memory, and bric-a-brac. Only the eye of a connoisseur would have blazed with eagerness at the sight of this painting or that, some book yellowed with age, a piece of old porcelain, or stones and coins.

But the furniture and paintings of different ages, the bric-a-brac that meant nothing to anyone but had been marked for them both by a happy hour or memorable moment, and the ocean of books and sheet music breathed a warm life that oddly stimulated the mind and aesthetic sense. Present everywhere was vigilant thought. The beauty of human effort shone here, just as the eternal beauty of nature shone all around.

pp. 492-493”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“All at once he found his mind drawing a parallel between that destiny and his own existence; all at once questions of life arose before his vision, like owls in an ancient ruin flushed from sleep by a stray ray of sunlight. Somehow he felt pained and grieved at his arrested development, at the check which had taken place in his moral growth, at the weight which appeared to be pressing upon his every faculty. Also gnawing at his heart there was a sense of envy that others should be living a life so full and free, while all the time the narrow, pitiful little pathway of his own existence was being blocked by a great boulder. And in his hesitating soul there arose a torturing consciousness that many sides of his nature had never yet been stirred, that others had never even been touched, and that not one of them had attained complete formation. Yet with this there went an aching suspicion that, buried in his being, as in a tomb, there still remained a moribund element of sweetness and light, and that it was an element which, though hidden in his personality, as a nugget lies lurking in the bowels of the earth, might once have become minted into sterling coin. But the treasure was now overlaid with rubbish--was now thickly littered over with dust. 'Twas as though some one had stolen from him, and besmirched, the store of gifts with which life and the world had dowered him; so that always he would be prevented from entering life's field and sailing across it with the aid of intellect and of will.
Yes, at the very start a secret enemy had laid a heavy hand upon him and diverted him from the road of human destiny. And now he seemed to be powerless to leave the swamps and wilds in favour of that road.
All around him was a forest, and ever the recesses of his soul were growing dimmer and darker, and the path more and more tangled, while the consciousness of his condition kept awaking within him less and
less frequently--to arouse only for a fleeting moment his slumbering faculties. Brain and volition alike had become paralysed, and, to all appearances, irrevocably--the events of his life had become whittled
down to microscopical proportions. Yet even with them he was powerless to cope--he was powerless to pass from one of them to another. Consequently they bandied him to and fro like the waves of the ocean. Never was he able to oppose to any event elasticity of will; never was he able to conceive, as the result of any event, a reasoned-out impulse. Yet to confess this, even to himself, always cost him a bitter pang: his fruitless regrets for lost opportunities, coupled with burning reproaches of conscience, always pricked him like needles, and led him to strive to put away such reproaches and to discover a scapegoat.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“He had never clearly fathomed the true weight of a word of good, truth, and purity cast in the stream of human speech and the deep bend it cut in it. Nor had he thought that a word spoken boldly and loudly, with no hint of false shame, but rather with courage, that this word would not drown in the ugly cries of fashionable satyrs but would plunge like a pearl into the abyss of public life and always find itself a shell.

Many stumble over a good word, blushing in embarrassment, and utter a careless word boldly and loudly, never suspecting that it, too, unfortunately, will not go for naught but will leave a long trail of often times ineradicable evil.

p. 296”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Ah! This is retribution for Promethean fire! Besides being patient, you must also love this sadness and respect your doubts and questions. They are an abundant excess, a luxury of life, and they appear more at the summits of happiness, when you have no crude desires. They are not born in the midst of mundanity. They have no place where there is grief and want. The masses go along without knowing the fog of doubts or the anguish of questions. But for anyone who has encountered them at the right time they are dear visitors, not a hammer.'

'But there's no coping with them. They bring anguish and indifference to nearly everything.' she added indecisively.

'But for how long? Afterward they refresh life,' he said. 'They lead to an abyss from which nothing can be gained, and they force you to look again at life, with even greater love. They summon up your tested powers to struggle with it, as if expressly to let them sleep afterward.'

'This fog and these specters torment me!' she complained. 'Everything is bright and all of a sudden a sinister shadow is cast over life! Are there no means against this?'

'What do you mean? Your buttress is in life! Without it, life is sickening, even without any questions!'

p. 508”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“But what was he to do? Stay where he was or move on? This Oblomovian question was for him of even deeper significance than Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be’.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“The moments of nature's universal, triumphant silence had come, those minutes when the creative mind works harder, poetic thoughts seethe more ardently, the heart's passion blazes more brightly and its longing aches more painfully, the grain of criminal thought ripens in a cruel soul more imperturbably and powerfully.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“To think that just when one's happiness is full to overflowing, and one is thoroughly in love with life, there should come upon one a taint of sorrow!" she murmured.

Yes; such is the payment exacted for the Promethean fire. You must not only endure, you must even love and respect, the sorrow and the doubts and the self-questionings of which you have spoken: for they constitute the excess, the luxury, of life, and show themselves most when happiness is at its zenith, and has alloyed with it no gross desires.
Such troubles are powerless to spring to birth amid life which is ordinary and everyday; they cannot touch the individual who is forced to endure hardship and want. That is why the bulk of the crowd goes on its way without ever experiencing the cloud of doubt, the pain of self-questioning. To him or to her, however, who voluntarily goes to meet those difficulties they become welcome guests, not a scourge.

But one can never get even with them. To almost every one they bring sorrow and indifference.

Yes; but that does not last. Later they serve to shed light upon life, for they lead one to the edge of the abyss whence there is no return--then gently force one to turn once more and look upon life.
Thus they seem to challenge one's tried faculties in order that the latter may be prevented from sinking wholly into inertia.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“As a young man, he had instinctively husbanded the freshness of his powers. At the time, it was too soon to see that this freshness was giving birth to vivacity and gaiety, and shape to the courage needed to forge a soul that does not pale, no matter what life brings, regards life not as a heavy burden, a cross, but merely as a duty, and does battle with it with dignity.

He had devoted much mental care to his heart and its wise laws. Observing the reflection of beauty on the imagination, both consciously and unconsciously, then the transition from impression to emotion, its symptoms, play, and outcome and looking around himself, advancing into life, he derived for himself the conviction that love moves the world like Archimede's lever, that it holds as much universal and irrefutable truth and good as misunderstanding and misuse do hypocrisy and ugliness.

p. 494”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Sono furbe e giocano d'astuzia solo le donne più o meno limitate. Mancando loro l'intelligenza pura e semplice, muovono le leve della vita spicciola, quotidiana, per mezzo dell'astuzia, e intrecciano come un merletto la loro politica domestica, senza accorgersi di come si dispongano attorno a loro le linee principali della vita, senza capire a cosa tendano e dove s'incontreranno. L'astuzia è una moneta spicciola con cui non si compra molto. Come di spiccioli si può vivere un'ora o due, così l'astuzia può servire a dissimulare qualcosa, ingannare, alterare qua e là, ma non basta per abbracciare l'orizzonte lontano, per dominare dall'inizio alla fine un grande, importante avvenimento.
L'astuzia è miope: vede bene solo quel che ha sotto il naso, ma non vede lontano, e perciò finisce spesso per cadere nella trappola che aveva teso agli altri.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Короткое, ежедневное сближение человека с человеком не обходится ни тому, ни другому даром: много надо и с той и с другой стороны жизненного опыта, логики и сердечной теплоты, чтоб, наслаждаясь только достоинствами, не колоть и не колоться взаимными недостатками.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Bir gün bir şeyi istersin, ertesi gün tutkuyla, ölesiye ona bağlanırsın, daha ertesi gün onu istediğinden utanırsın, arzun yerine geldiği için hayata lanet edersin. İşte insan hayatta kendi isteğinin peşinden serbestçe giderse böyle olur. Bastığımız yeri yoklayarak yürümeliyiz; bazı şeylerden gözlerimizi çevirmeliyiz, mutluluk hülyalarına kapılmamalıyız, mutluluk elimizden kaçarsa isyan etmemeliyiz; hayat budur işte...”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


“Hatıralar mutlu bir hayatın hatıraları olursa güzeldir; insana güç kapanmış yaraları hatırlatınca acı şeylerdir.”
― Ivan Goncharov, quote from Oblomov


About the author

Ivan Goncharov
Born place: in Simbirsk, Russian Federation
Born date June 18, 1812
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