Andrey, whom we’ve already met as a perky boy seeing off a young man’s bullying, took his child’s breezy confidence into adulthood.  Here his father is sending him out into the world and lays out the options available to him.  I liked Andrey’s exuberant response, perhaps because Goncharov’s description of him growing up painted a picture of someone dynamic but without arrogance. 

‘You can enter the Civil Service, or become a business man, or even a writer, if you like – I don’t know the one you will choose, which you feel most attracted to …’

 

‘I’ll see whether I can’t do all at once,’ said Andrey.

Source: Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov, trans. David Magarshack (London: Penguin, 1954 (1859)), p. 159

Image credit: Ivan Kramskoi (1837-87), Portrait of Sergei Kramskoi (the artist’s son) (1883), Rostov Regional Fine Arts Museum, public domain

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