Literary Bicentenary: Goncharov

Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov was born on 18 June 1812 (adjusting for the vagaries of the Russian calendar). Today is his 200th birthday. Goncharov wrote Oblomov, and Oblomov made Goncharov’s reputation forever. Very few writers in world literature have been so identified with a single iconic character. In fact, very few literary characters have become so iconic. Not being Russian, I can’t begin to understand the depths to which Oblomov (and…

The Flow of Research

The phone rings again, and for the second time this month, it’s my old mentor Lars Abraham, Professor of English Semi-Emeritus, calling from his office at Seattle State. “Lars!” I said. “Twice in a row! How are things at Seattle State?” “Not so good,” said Lars. Five seconds pass. “Do you want to elaborate?” “I am going to teach more next fall, Tim – more classes, same pay. But it…

The University as Crunchyco

So the phone rings, and it’s my mentor and old friend Lars Abraham, eightysomething Professor of English Semi-Emeritus at Seattle State University. “Lars!” I said, feeling bad for not having called him since the late 20th century. “How are you doing? How’s everything at Seattle State these days?” “Not so good,” said Lars. “Budget cuts . . . you know, state support for state universities is down everywhere.” [Lars didn’t actually link…