“A Journey around His Room”: Genre Uniqueness of I.A. Goncharov’s Novel “Oblomov” Cover Image

"Путешествие вокруг его комнаты": жанровое своеобразие романа И.А. Гончарова "Обломов"
“A Journey around His Room”: Genre Uniqueness of I.A. Goncharov’s Novel “Oblomov”

Author(s): Lyubov' Aleksandrovna Sapchenko
Subject(s): Comparative Study of Literature, French Literature, Russian Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Казанский (Приволжский) федеральный университет
Keywords: genre of travel; anti-travel; Sternian variety of sentimentalism; "A Journey around My Room" by Xavier de Maistre; “Oblomov” by I.A. Goncharov; transformation of tradition;

Summary/Abstract: The paper is the first attempt to reveal the genre specificity of I.A. Goncharov’s novel in the light of the parodic variety of sentimental travel (“A Journey Around My Room” by Xavier de Maistre). It has been noted that the plot of journey in the work by I.A. Goncharov, which is connected, as it would seem, only with the book of essays “Frigate Pallas”, is actually present in all three novels of the writer, showing itself as a theme or a motive and as a symbolic image or an ideal form of human activity. The author gives a number of examples proving that the novel “Oblomov” can be defined as “anti-travel”: as a book about a man who “did not go”: did not travel through Europe, did not go to the springs, did not visit Oblomovka, did not keep his promise to come to Paris… The comparative-historical method of analysis (historical-typological and “contact”) have been used during the research. As a result, the following conclusions have been drawn: 1) the artistic entity of the novel contains the genre signs of “anti-travel”; 2) this genre component represents the actualization of the sentimentalist tradition in a parody aspect and in part - the transformation of Xavier de Maistre’s famous book “A Journey Around My Room”; 3) the commonality of the two works reveals itself at various levels: at the genre level, the central character and the plot and in the system of characters and in the figurative and symbolic system. The version of the title translation adopted by the researchers (“A Journey around My Room” as opposed to “A Journey through My Room”) does not enclose the character within the space of his home but brings him out into the limitless imagination. The most important of the results obtained is the following: the tradition of sentimental travel, with its reduction of the external space, minimization of movement and actualization of the inner world, with irony characteristic of the Sternian variety of sentimentalism, turns out to be kindred to Goncharov. The obtained results are important for understanding the genre specificity of the novel “Oblomov”, for recreating the historical and literary context, for determining the place of I.A. Goncharov’s work in the history and theory of the travel genre, and for preparing comments for the complete collection of works by I.A. Goncharov.

  • Issue Year: 160/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 91-101
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Russian