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Chekhov's Reception in England and America

  • Charles W. Meister (a1)

Extract

A summary of British and American evaluations of Anton Chekhov's writings affords an insight into the nature of international literary criticism. Chekhov's slow, steady climb to recognition shows the extent to which non-literary factors influence the formation of critical judgment. It also shows how a critical approach can slowly evolve until it is very useful in explaining novel literary effects.

As might be expected, Chekhov's works were known earlier in France and Germany than in England, and earlier in England than in America. As early as 1888, the year his collection of stories In Twilight received the Pushkin Prize from the Imperial Academy of Sciences, Chekhov began to be mentioned in the annual reviews of continental literature published in the Athenaeum. The first extended notice of Chekhov in England, however, came in 1891, when E. J. Dillon cited Chekhov as an example of the Russian writer whose works suffered because he was subjected to a number of fetters. As important as the rigid governmental censorship, and perhaps stemming ultimately from it, said Dillon, was the tyrannous yoke of a capricious and coarse-minded public, the cupidity of uneducated editors and publishers, and the narrow limits of self-appointed critics.

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1 The Review of Reviews, IV (July, 1891), 79-83.

2 Ibid., p. 80.

3 The Fortnightly Review, N. S. LXII (July 1, 1902), 103-18.

4 Victor Yarros, the Dial, XX (January 16, 1896), 3940.

5 The Forum, XXVIII (September, 1899), 119–28. Though one of America's best-informed writers on Russian literature at the time, Cahan called Chekhov “a nobleman by birth and education,” and like many subsequent critics said Chekhov had never attempted a full-length novel. Cahan, , the Bookman, XVI (December, 1902), 333.

6 Brinton, Christian, the Critic, XLV (October, 1904), 318–20.

7 Lowell Institute Lectures (Boston, 1901).

8 Brinton, , op. cit., p. 320.

9 Anthology of Russian Literature (New York, 1903), II, 459–60.

10 The Academy, LXXII (June 15, 1907), 585.

11 New Quarterly Review, I (1008), 405–29.

12 The Cherry Garden (New Haven, 1908).

13 The Times (London), May 30, 1911, p. 13d.

14 The New Age, N. S. IX (June 8, 1911), 132.

15 The Saturday Review, CXI (June 3, 1911), 677-78.

16 Two Flays by Tchekhof (London, 1912).

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Selver, P., the New Age, N. S. XVI (February 4, 1915), 376.

20 The New Statesman, V (July 24, 1915), 373–74.

21 Ibid., VIII (November 18, 1916), 159–60.

22 The Atlantic Monthly, CXVI (July, 1915), 6068.

23 The Nation, CI (November 11, 1915), 572.

24 The Best Short Stories of 1917 (Boston, 1018), p. 512.

25 The Bookman, XLVIII (November, 1918), 356-64.

26 The Dial, LXV (November 30, 1918), 498-99.

27 Current Literature, XL (April, 1906), 407-8.

28 The Nation, CII (June 1, 1916), 603.

29 The Theatre, XXIV (June, 1916), 1011.

30 The New Republic, VII (July 8, 1916), 256-58.

31 The Letters of Katherine Mansfield (New York, 1936), p. 204.

32 The Common Reader (New York, 1925), pp. 248-49.

33 Chehov, Anton: A Critical Study (London, 1923), pp. 14, 18.

34 Times Literary Supplement (London), December 6, 1923, p. 841b.

35 The Freeman, III (April 6, 1921), 9092.

36 Heartbreak House (New York, 1919), introduction, p. x.

37 The North American Review, CCXVII (March, 1923), 351.

38 The Monthly Criterion, VI (October, 1927), 292304.

39 New York Times, June 2, 1929, Part 8, p. 1.

40 Chekhov, Anton: The Voice of Twilight Russia (New York, 1937).

41 Chekhov and His Russia (London, 1948).

42 Chekhov, : A Biographical and Critical Study (New York, 1951).

43 Chekhov the Man (London, 1946).

44 Lavrin, Janko, An Introduction to the Russian Novel (New York, 1947).

45 Simmons, Ernest J., An Outline of Modern Russian Literature (1880-1940) (Ithaca, New York, 1943).

46 Yarmolinsky, Avrahm, The Portable Chekhov (New York, 1947).

Chekhov's Reception in England and America

  • Charles W. Meister (a1)

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