Oblomov’s apartment. Residence of Ilya Ilyitch Oblomov on St. Petersburg’s Gorokhovaya Street. Oblomov has settled in so tightly that his apartment has become a prison of his own making. He spends most of each day lying in bed, wrapped in a robe of Asian style, without any hint of the European character Czar Peter the Great had tried to impose upon the Russian aristocracy. Even Oblomov’s manservant, Zakhar, has slipped into the thrall of his master’s lassitude, and the entire apartment has become covered by a layer of dust. Books lie open wherever Oblomov has lost interest in reading them, dusty and often yellowed by exposure to light.
*St. Petersburg. Capital of Imperial Russia, whose northern location is so close to the Arctic Circle that it is subject to extreme variations in the lengths of its days and nights. During the winter, the sun hardly rises before it vanishes again beneath the horizon. Near the summer solstice, the sun hardly sets, creating the “white nights” for which the city is famous. Because of this, St. Petersburg is seen in literature as a city where reality is tenuous at best, where extraordinary things can happen. Although Oblomov lives in the city, he has little contact with the social life of the imperial capital. Occasionally his visitors may mention various activities they plan to attend at prestigious places, but Oblomov cannot find the...
(The entire section is 517 words.)