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About Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (/ˈtʃɛkɔːf, -ɒf/; Russian: Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов, pronounced [ɐnˈton ˈpavləvʲɪtɕ ˈtɕɛxəf]; 29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904) was a Russian playwright and short story writer who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater.Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress."
Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896, but the play was revived to acclaim in 1898 by Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and premiered his last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" and a "submerged life in the text".
Chekhov had at first written stories only for financial gain, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Unknown[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Anton Chekhov left an indelible impact on every literary form in which he wrote, but none more so than short fiction. Now, renowned translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky give us their renderings of fifty-two Chekhov stories. These stories, which span the complete arc of his career, reveal the extraordinary variety and unexpectedness of his work, from the farcically comic to the darkly complex, showing that there is no one single type of “Chekhov story.” They are populated by a remarkable range of characters who come from all parts of Russia and all walks of life, including landowners, peasants, soldiers, farmers, teachers, students, hunters, shepherds, mistresses, wives, and children. Taken together, they demonstrate how Chekhov democratized the form.
Included in this volume are tales translated into English for the first time, including “Reading” and “An Educated Blockhead.” Early stories such as “Joy,” “Anguish,” and “A Little Joke” sit alongside such later works as “The Siren,” “Big Volodya and Little Volodya,” “In the Cart,” and “About Love.” In its range, in its narrative artistry, and in its perceptive probing of the human condition, this collection promises profound delight.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Aanton Chekhov, widely hailed as the supreme master of the short story, also wrote five works long enough to be called short novels–here brought together in one volume for the first time, in a masterly new translation by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
The Steppe–the most lyrical of the five–is an account of a nine-year-old boy’s frightening journey by wagon train across the steppe of southern Russia. The Duel sets two decadent figures–a fanatical rationalist and a man of literary sensibility–on a collision course that ends in a series of surprising reversals. In The Story of an Unknown Man, a political radical spying on an important official by serving as valet to his son gradually discovers that his own terminal illness has changed his long-held priorities in startling ways. Three Years recounts a complex series of ironies in the personal life of a rich but passive Moscow merchant. In My Life, a man renounces wealth and social position for a life of manual labor.
The resulting conflict between the moral simplicity of his ideals and the complex realities of human nature culminates in a brief apocalyptic vision that is unique in Chekhov’s work.
Fifty-two stories spanning Chekhov’s career.
Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories contains a wide spectrum of classics and new favorites, including “Ward No. 6,” “The Lady with the Little Dog,” “Anna on the Neck,” “The Name-Day Party,” “The Kiss,” An Incident at Law,” and “Elements Most Often Found in Novels, Short Stories, Etc.” This edition features twenty-five brand-new translations, commissioned expressly for this volume from Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Peter Constantine, Rosamund Bartlett, Michael Henry Heim, among others. Twenty translations have been selected from the published work of such master translators as Patrick Miles and Harvey Pitcher, Ann Dunnigan, and Ronald Hingley. Seven additional translations are by Constance Garnett, substantially revised by Cathy Popkin. All stories are annotated to clarify unfamiliar material and to point out differences in the translators’ strategies.
"Life and Letters" includes a rich selection of Chekhov’s letters, some in English for the first time, some with previously redacted passages restored, as well as Aileen Kelly’s portrait of Chekhov.
“Criticism” explores the wide range of approaches and interpretations in two sections. “Approaches” juxtaposes five different perspectives on how to read Chekhov, represented by Peter Bitsilli, Alexander Chudakov, Robert Louis Jackson, Vladimir Kataev, and Radislav Lapushin. “Interpretations” contains ten divergent readings of stories in this edition. Case studies include Michael Finke on “At Sea”; Cathy Popkin on “[A Nervous] Breakdown”; Julie de Sherbinin on “Peasant Women”; Liza Knapp on “Ward No. 6”; Robert Louis Jackson on “Rothschild’s Fiddle” and “The Student”; Wolf Schmid on “The Student”; John Freedman on “Man in a Case,” “Gooseberries,” and “About Love”; Caryl Emerson on “A Calamity,” “Anna on the Neck,” “About Love,” and “The Lady with the Little Dog”; and Rufus Mathewson on “The Lady with the Little Dog” and “The Beauties.”
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are included, as is a postscript on the translators and their work. A special section, “Comparison Translations,” gives passages from selected stories in multiple translations.
Considered the greatest short story writer, Anton Chekhov changed the genre itself with his spare, impressionistic depictions of Russian life and the human condition. From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as “The Huntsman” and the tour de force “A Boring Story,” to his best-known stories such as “The Lady with the Little Dog” and his own personal favorite, “The Student,” Chekhov’s short fiction possesses the transcendent power of art to awe and change the reader. This monumental edition, expertly translated, is especially faithful to the meaning of Chekhov’s prose and the unique rhythms of his writing, giving readers an authentic sense of his style and a true understanding of his greatness.
From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as The Huntsman and his masterpiece A Bet to his bestknown stories such as The Lady with the Little Toy Dog and The Requiem, this collection of Chekhov’s remarkable short fiction possesses the unmatched power of art to awe and change the reader.
This endlessly pleasing edition, expertly translated, is especially faithful to the meaning of Chekhov’s prose and the unique rhythms of his writing, giving readers an authentic sense of his style and a true understanding of his greatness.
At a banker’s party fifteen years ago, a young lawyer defends the position that life in prison is far less humane than capital punishment. The banker disagrees and proposes they bet—two million rubles in exchange for fifteen years of solitary confinement. The terms of their agreement allow the lawyer to have access to books, food, and wine, and over the course of his imprisonment, he reads widely. Nearing the end of the fifteen years, the banker comes to realize that he will be ruined by the lawyer’s winning of the bet, and both men find their lives changed by the lessons that the bet has taught them.
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Highly valuable both as a detailed depiction of the Tsarist system of penal servitude and as an insight into Chekhov s motivations and objectives for visiting the colony and writing the exposé, Sakhalin Island is a haunting work which had a huge impact both on Chekhov s career and on Russian society.
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