Wherefore Oblomovshchina: The Relationship Between Geography and National Identity in Four Seminal Novels of Russian Literature
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AbstractRussian writers played a key role in the initiation of national conversations about the country's geography and identity in the early part of the nineteenth century. This study examines one particular component of Russian national identity-the trait of oblomovshchina-and its relationship to geography as presented through the voices of four famous Russian authors in novels written over a span of 150 years. Through the lens of literature, this study addresses the following questions: How is the geography of Russia depicted in novels by Russian authors? How do Russian authors portray oblomovshchina? In what ways do the authors connect oblomovshchina and landscape in their works? How do these depictions change with the passage of time?
The literary representation of Russia's geography, especially in terms of landscape and weather, leaves no doubt that geography is partially culpable for the prevalence of oblomovshchina in many Russian people. The discussion about Russian national identity remains a topic of interest in the post-Soviet Russian Federation, and Russia's literary voices continue to be involved and thoughtfully contribute to the dialogue.
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