Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov was a Russian novelist best known for his novels A Common Story (1847), Oblomov (1859), and The Precipice (1869). He also served in many official capacities, including the position of censor.
Goncharov was born in Simbirsk into the family of a wealthy merchant; as a reward for his grandfather's military service, they were elevated to gentry status. He was educated at a boarding school, then the Moscow College of Commerce, and finally at Moscow State University. After graduating, he served for a short time in the office of the Governor of Simbirsk, before moving to Saint Petersburg where he worked as government translator and private tutor, while publishing poetry and fiction in private almanacs. Goncharov's first novel, A Common Story, was published in Sovremennik in 1847.