In Slate, Jessica Winter claims to offer a list of great literary works about procrastination. Oddly, she doesn’t mention the only two indisputable masterpieces on the subject. One, of course, is Hamlet, who spends four acts not killing Claudius, the uncle who killed his father and married his mother. The other is Oblomov, Ivan Goncharov’s peerless comic novel of 1859, which opens with its title character in bed — a bed from which he does not actually emerge for nearly 100 riveting and hilarious pages. “Oblomov…must be washed, cleaned, pulled about, and flogged for a long time before any kind of sense will emerge,” stated Lenin as he began the monstrous and failed work he undertook to revise the Russian character.
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