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The Superfluous Man ( ) is a 19th century Russianmarker literary concept. It relates to an individual, possibly of talent and capability, who does not fit into the state-centered pattern of employment. Often the individual is born into the upper class and is rich and affluent. He may pursue a military career and can often be seen as a nihilist or fatalist. This is supported by the fact that superfluous men participate in duels and chances of fate such as gambling. Their actions can be attributed to their self-destructive nature and their disregard for the social values and standards of the time. The consequence is a character bored with life, cynical and withdrawn, often causing distress to whatever occupies his attention which is often members of the opposite sex. Scholar David Patterson characterises the superfluous man as "not just...another literary type but as a paradigm of a person who has lost a point, a place, a presence in life", concluding that "the superfluous man is a homeless man".

The term was popularized by Ivan Turgenev's novella The Diary of a Superfluous Man (1850) and was thereafter retroactively applied to characters from novels of the earlier part of the nineteenth-century. This character type originates out of Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, which inspired Alexander Pushkin to write his novel in verse Eugene Onegin. Many of Pushkin's short stories characterize superfluous men, notably The Queen of Spades. Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time also depicted a superfluous man as the hero of his novel. Both Pushkin and Lermontov memorably died in duels. Vasily Ivanovich Bazarov, one of the main characters of Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons (1862) is also considered a superfluous man, as is the titular character of Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov (1859).



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