I love a doctor’s advice to the apathetic aristocrat Oblomov, suggesting he minimize stress by avoiding the awkward and exhausting business of thinking. 

Would that it were so easy…

‘Avoid worry and vexation –‘

‘It’s all very well for you to talk,’ said Oblomov. ‘You don’t get such letters from the bailiff.’

‘You must also avoid thinking,’ the doctor went on.


‘Yes, mental strain.’

Source: Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov, trans. David Magarshack (London: Penguin, 1954 (1859)), p. 89

Image credit: Ilya Repin (1844-1930), ‘Portrait of the poet and Slavophile Ivan Sergeyevich Aksakov’ (1878), Tretyakov Gallery, public domain


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