CONTENT
 
SIMBIRSK MOTIVES IN GONCHAROV'S WORKS
 

The impressions, obtained in the childhood and youth are always strong, deep
and they leave the most noticeable traces in the spiritual life of a man.
And it was the environment, surrounding him in his motherland, in Simbirsk, that influenced his works most of all.

"A Common Story", 1847

It was Goncharov himself, who was writing about the autobiographical character of the novel personage Alexander Aduyev, who came to Saint-Petersburg so that his dreams could come true, as the author of the novel did. Undoubtedly, the "provincial" chapters of the novel are also autobiographical. We recognize Goncharov's home in the Grachi -village, where A.Aduyev was brought up. The author's mother Avdotya Goncharova is considered to be one of the prototypes of Anna Aduyeva, the mother of the main character.
There is an opinion, that Goncharov described faithful servants of Simbirsk house of the Goncharovs- Nikita and Sophia- in the figures of Aduyev's servant Yevsey and house-keeper Agraphena.

"The Frigate "Pallas", 1858

The dream about the circumnavigation was born in Goncharov's head in his early childhood under the impression of the stories of his godfather, who was a sailor, about the naval battles and adventures, under the impression of the books about traveling to the distant lands, which he had read at home or in the boarding school. The broad waters of the Volga were tempting the little boy. "The Frigate "Pallas"-sketch-book was the result of the voyage, undertaken by I.A.Goncharov as a member of admiral Ye.V.Putyatin's expedition to the shores of Japan in 1852-1855. Goncharov had seen many countries, got acquainted to different nations and cultures, and it allowed him to look at the characters born after Simbirsk impressions in a new fashion. For example, speaking about the daily routine of an Englishman he describes the day of a Russian barin Oblomov poetically on the next pages, depicting the scenes well-known to him. Traveling by the frigate Goncharov was thinking of writing the chapter "Oblomov's Voyage" one day, but his intention didn't come true.

"Oblomov", 1859

I.A.Goncharov wrote, that his first impressions of oblomovism appeared in Simbirsk when, being a young boy and then - a teenager, he was observing the leisurely and careless life of Simbirsk nobles, including Goncharov's godfather Nikolay Tregubov, who was living in Simbirsk house of the Goncharovs. N.N.Tregubov, Simbirsk nobles (e.g. famous Jazykov-brothers) are considered to be the prototypes of the main novel character I.I.Oblomov, and Goncharov's home city Simbirsk is referred to as the prototype of the village of Oblomovka.
The author of the novel was often called Oblomov. Goncharov was supporting the idea of the similarity to his personage. At the same time he was emphasizing: it is not pure laziness in its negative meaning but artistic spirit and poetry that is the feature of his nature.
"Oblomov's dream", the chapter which Goncharov used to call "the overture to the novel", is undoubtedly the writer's poetical remembrance about his childhood. Here one can also find Goncharov's mother Avdotya in the figure of little Ilya's mummy and his nanny Anna - in the figure of little Oblomov's nurse. The character of the novel, little Ilya was driven to the classes to village of Verkhlyovo, that is 5 versts (1 verst= 3500 ft) away from Oblomovka, studying at a small boarding school for the children of the local nobles, ruled by Stoltz, a German.. Goncharov received his primary education, including sciences and foreign languages, French and German, at the small private boarding school, ruled by a village priest, a clever and educated person, married to a foreigner.
In the figure of Stoltz Goncharov included his observations about the family of their German relations, the Rudolfs: the author's brother was married to Karl Rudolf's daughter Elizabeth. It's not by chance that name of Stoltz is not Andrei but Karl in the rough copy of the novel. Elizabeth Tolstaya, belonging to the family of Simbirsk nobles is considered to be one of the prototypes of Olga Ilyinskaya.
Agafya Pshenitsyna's house at Vyborgskaya storona (Veaborg Quarter), where Oblomov found his asylum is also Simbirsk-Oblomovka in a sense. Goncharov also used the names of his mother (Avdotya Matveyevna Goncharova) and grandfather (Matvei Ivanovich Shakhtorin) in his novel, having changed them a little and giving the name Agafya Matveyevna to Pshenitsyna and Ivan Matveyevich Mukhojarov - to her brother.

"The Precipice", 1869.

Goncharov wrote that the plan of the novel "The Precipice" appeared in 1849, when he was staying near the Volga in Simbirsk for 4 months.
It is thought, that describing the Malinovka - estate, where the events of the novel take place, the author bears in mind the estate of Simbirsk nobles Kindyakovs, called Kindyakovka or Vinnovka, and located at the south neighborhood of Simbirsk near the Volga precipice. Just like in the estate of the Kindyakovs, whom I.A.Goncharov was acquainted to, there are a precipice, a grove, a village, a greenhouse, some ponds and two manor houses in Malinovka, and they are described in the novel very alike. Moreover, Malinovka is situated near the city "S.", i.e. Simbirsk.
Anna Kindyakova, the owner of Vinnovka in 1849, is mentioned among the prototypes of Tatiana Berezhkova, a Grandmother. She was bringing up two orphan granddaughters, as the Grandmother in the novel was. So, the granddaughters are considered to be the prototypes of Vera and Marfinka. Goncharov wrote that he embodied many traits of his mother's character in the figure of Berezhkova. Among the prototypes of Vera and Marfinka the researchers also name the following people: two sisters of the author's sister-in-law, Adelaide and Emily Rudolf; Goncharov's nieces, the daughters of his sister Alexandra, Katherine and Sophie Kirmalova; his another niece, the daughter of the writer's sister Anna, Yevdokiya Muzalevskaya-Levenstein ( Vera); the niece of his sister Anna's husband (Marfinka). Speaking about the prototypes of Mark Volokhov, we could mention Goncharov's nephew, Vladimir Kirmalov. Goncharov described his brother Nikolai, who served as the teacher of Simbirsk Masculine Classical Grammar School for 30 years, in the figure of the teacher Leontij Kozlov. The wife of the writer's brother- Elizabeth Goncharova-became the prototype of Leontij Kozlov's wife, Ulinka.
The house-serfs in the novel- Marina, Savelij, Yegor and others-are, according to Goncharov, the portraits of those house-serfs, who were observed by him while he was staying in Simbirsk in 1849.

"In the Homeland", 1887

This sketch was written by Goncharov as the recollections about his childhood in Simbirsk (1812-1822) and his service in the office of Simbirsk governor A.Zagryazhskij (1834-1835). The characters of the sketch are real people, whom Goncharov had known well, they were his relatives and acquaintances from Simbirsk. Yakubov - Nikolai Tregubov, his godfather.
Leo Uglitskij - Alexander Zagryazhskij, Simbirsk governor in 1831-1835.
Sophie Uglitskaya - Elizabeth Zagryazhskaya, the daughter of Alexander Zagryazhskij.
Bravin - Michael Baratayev, Simbirsk Province Marshal of the Nobility, the founder of Simbirsk Masonic Lodge "Klyuch k dobrodeteli" (i.e. "The key to virtue")
General I. - Peter Ivashev, Simbirsk landed gentleman, the participant of the war with Napol?on Bonaparte (1812). His son Vasilij Ivashev was a Decembrist.
Sigov - Erasmus Stogov, a gendarmerie colonel in 1834-1938, the grandfather of Anna Akhmatova, a Russian poetess.

"A Trip along the Volga", 1874-

It is an unfinished sketch, where Goncharov apparently uses the material of his last trip along the Volga to his motherland in 1862. In the summer of 1862 he returns to Nizhniy Novgorod from Simbirsk, accompanying his Sister Anna Muzalevskaya and his niece Yevdokiya Muzalevskaya-Levenstein to Moscow by the "Uspekh"-steamer (i.e. "Success").

"A Fish-soup", the exact date of creation is not known, the last years of his life

The story is based on an anecdote or a real case of Simbirsk life. The events take place in the neighborhood of the city "S.", or Simbirsk.

 

 
 
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