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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 June 1812Simbirsk, Russian Empire [now Ulyanovsk, Russia]
Date of Death 27 September 1891St. Petersburg, Russian Empire  (pneumonia)
Birth NameIvan Aleksandrovich Goncharov

Mini Bio (1)

Ivan Goncharov was a classic Russian writer whose novel 'Oblomov' was adapted to film by director Nikita Mikhalkov.

He was born Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov on June 18, 1812, in Simbirsk, Russian Empire (now Ulyanovsk, Russia). His father, a wealthy merchant, died when Goncharov was only seven, and he was brought up by his Godfather, Nikolai Tregubov, a retired Navy sailor. Goncharov received an excellent private education at the home of his parents. From the age of 10 he studied at a private boarding school in Moscow, specializing in commerce. From 1830 - 1834 Goncharov attended Moscow University, having such schoolmates a Mikhail Lermontov, Alexander Gertsen, and Ivan Turgenev among other distinguished Russians. Upon his graduation from Moscow University in 1834, Goncharov served as a government official for the next thirty years. He specialized in translations of foreign correspondence with the Russian government.

Between 1852 and 1855 Goncharov served as a secretary to the legendary Navy Admiral Yevfimy Putyatin. Goncharov took part in the historic Russo-Japanese Treaty of 1855, serving as the official interpreter between the Russian and Japanese governments. At that time Goncharov made voyages aboard the Russian Navy frigate "Pallada" ('Pallas'), visiting many countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Upon his return to Russia, Goncharov eventually experienced disillusionment with the Russian social and economic traditions. His 1858 publication of his travelogue, a chronicle of his three-year journey, became a sensation in the Tsarist Russia. His next book, Oblomov', made Goncharov a classic, and was praised by such figures as Fyodor Dostoevsky, and others.

In 1867 Goncharov fell under pressure for his independent views, and retired from his position as a government interpreter and censor. He eventually became a professional writer, living in St. Petersburg, Russia. He wrote numerous short stories, critiques, essays and memoirs, and continued traveling outside of Russia. During the 1860s Goncharov was part of the St. Petersburg cultural milieu, albeit his independent political position and his advanced and original views on Russian reality were causing him problems with the rigid hard-liners in the Russian establishment. He eventually suffered from negative criticism that was orchestrated by his conservative opponents. Goncharov struggled for twenty years writing his third big novel, 'Obryv' (aka.. The Precipice), dealing with romantic rivalry of three men, and sporting a veiled critique of disintegrating Russian society. Ivan Goncharov never married, he died if pneumonia in his home in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was laid to rest in the writer's corner of cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Ivan Goncharov's most important novel, 'Oblomov', was published in 1859, and became widely successful in Russia. It was even compared with the Shakespeare's Hamlet, albeit the title character, Oblomov, is giving the answer "No!" to the question "To be or not to be?". The story of Oblomov and Russians around him is dealing with a conundrum of problems of social and economic nature that are typical of Russia. The novel was adapted into the eponymous film, Oblomov (1980), by director Nikita Mikhalkov, starring Oleg Tabakov in the title role.

Ivan Goncharov's writings are included in the Russian school curriculum and reissued in massive printings.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

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