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Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays (Norton Critical Editions) 2nd Revised Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393924657
ISBN-10: 0393924653
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  • Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays (Norton Critical Editions)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860 in Taganrog, Russia. He graduated from the University of Moscow in 1884. Chekhov died of tuberculosis in Germany on July 14, 1904, shortly after his marriage to actress Olga Knipper, and was buried in Moscow.

Laurence Senelick is the Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University and author of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning The Chekhov Theatre and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and the Theatre. He is director of his own translations of Gogol’s The Inspector General (1998) and Euripides’ The Bakkhai (2001).
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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2nd Revised edition (October 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393924653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393924657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given the Norton Critical reputation for value and excellence, it is not in the least surprising that a collection of Chekhov's essential plays represent only the tip of the iceberg, and appear alongside a wealth of supplemental material that has been carefully selected by a qualified editor.Laurence Senelick is both editor and translator. It must be said that the high level of accuracy which Senelick claims to have obtained in his translation, was achieved at the cost of fluidity and pleasant-soundingness.

The collection of plays is ideal. Chekhov's five major plays--Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard--are included along with three single act comic sketches--The Bear, The Wedding, and The Celebration.

Each play is heavily annotated, perhaps, one could argue, to an excess. The footnotes, many of which seemed superfluous, were so abundant as to distract me from the flow of reading. Far more invaluable were the variants provided after each play. These contain passages that did not make it past the censors, or that appeared in subsequent versions of the play. The omitted passages add to one's understanding of the material, at times providing a cleared glimpse into Chekhov's original artistic vision.

Following the manuscripts, there is an extensive collection of Chekhov's personal letters. Supposedly, Senelick has included every letter that contains mentioned of the selected volume's plays. Most frequently, the letters provide insight into Chekhov's process and his attitudes towards the performance of his plays.

Following the letters there are 200 pages of criticism, including essays by nine established directors. Unfortunately, there were no familiar names among the contributors; likely because inclusion was limited to those who had read Chekhov in Russian. I'd have liked to hear what famous English authors or top film directors had to say about Chekhov
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Format: Paperback
I've been using this text in my Chekhov/Stanislavski class for the past 10 years and the translation by Eugene Bristow is outstanding. Very nuetral and keeping with the poetry of Chekhov's writing. Norton Critical Edition has decided to discontinue this edition and bring out a new edition with Lawrence Senelick's translation, which is absolutely an abomination to the Chekhovian text. It is crass, un-poetic and he has all the serfs and peasants speaking like southern African Americans. It is an embarrassment to the American Classics of Chekhov. I will be using another company for my texts in the future!
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This translation is OK, but there are better ones out there. For example I believe, in my opinion, that Robert W. Corrigan has a better translation, and it is more preferred by Directors and Actors. Corrigan's translation is more typical of modern-day American English. This version is a little more archaic in its English.
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I don't know why another customer (a professor, clearly) thought Senelick's serfs and peasants sound like Afro-American country people. They don't. The plays are very much in Chekhov's tone--a pleasure to read. Above all, Senelick's NOTES are really useful! You can learn about how Chekhov himself thought of the characters, about Stanislavsky's reactions when he saw the plays, etc. A beautifully done edition in every way.

- David Ball
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