Anton Chekhov, short-story writer and dramatist, is unquestionably one of the greatest writers in Russian history. Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860 in Taganrog, Ukraine, and was educated at the Moscow University Medical School. While attending school Chekhov began to publish comic short stories and used the money to support himself and his family.
Modern critics consider Chekhov one of the masters of the short story form. Using themes relating to the everyday middle class, Chekhov portrayed the pathos of life in Russia before the 1905 Revolution. He depicted the futile, boring, and lonely lives of people unable to communicate with one another.
In the Russian Theater, Chekhov's plays, like his stories, are studies of the spiritual failure of characters in an aristocratic society that is disintegrating. His most famous plays included The Sea Gull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), The Three Sisters (1901), and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
Chekhov developed a new dramatic technique, which he called "indirect action." In a Chekhov play, important dramatic events take place offstage. Some of his plays were originally rejected by Moscow, but his technique has become accepted by modern playwrights and audiences.
Chekhov died while at a spa in Germany on July 15, 1904.