Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-Three New Stories Anton Chekhov

ISBN: 9781583220887

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108 pages


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Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-Three New Stories  by  Anton Chekhov

Undiscovered Chekhov: Forty-Three New Stories by Anton Chekhov
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Heres a treat for any Chekhov lover: a collection of 43 previously untranslated stories by the Russian master. Even better, these stories date back to the 1880s, when the author was still in his 20s and at his most prolific. That he wrote at all isMoreHeres a treat for any Chekhov lover: a collection of 43 previously untranslated stories by the Russian master. Even better, these stories date back to the 1880s, when the author was still in his 20s and at his most prolific. That he wrote at all is something of a miracle--unlike other great Russian authors of his time (Dostoevski, Pushkin, Tolstoy, to name a few), Anton Chekhov was not a member of the nobility.

The son of a bankrupt grocer, he entered medical school and became, at the same time, the breadwinner for his impoverished family by cranking out stories for magazines. His revolutionary approach to literature was apparent from the get-go. In Sarah Bernhardt Comes to Town, for example, Chekhov uses a string of telegrams instead of a conventional narrative to tell his story. (Telegram: Have been drinking to Sarahs health all week! Enchanting! She actually dies standing up! Our actors cant touch the Parisians!) Even more unusual for 19th-century literature is the apparent lack of a plot.

The telegrams are simply a collection of reactions to a single performance, from an usher (Let in four. Fourteen rubles. Let in five. Fifteen r. Let in three and one madame. Fifteen rubles) to a doctor (Last night I saw S.B. Her chest--paralytic and flat.

Skeletal and muscular structure--unsatisfactory) to various members of the audience (Darling! When it comes to Sarah Bernhardt, as the saying goes: you can dip a frog in honey but it doesnt mean Ill eat it). All the qualities the more mature Chekhov is known for in his later works are apparent in these early stories: unconventional narratives, tremendous wit, psychological perspicacity, and above all that peculiarly modern interest in why human beings behave the way they do.

Translator Peter Constantines introduction gives readers both a good overview of Chekhovs life and a literary context for appreciating the stories collected here, but it is Chekhov himself whose remarkable brilliance will keep readers coming back for more. --Alix Wilber



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