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The Cambridge Introduction to Chekhov
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Book description

Chekhov is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential literary figures of modern times. Russia's preeminent playwright, he played a significant role in revolutionizing the modern theatre. His impact on prose fiction writing is incalculable: he helped define the modern short story. Beginning with an engaging account of Chekhov's life and cultural context in nineteenth-century Russia, this book introduces the reader to this fascinating and complex personality. Unlike much criticism of Chekhov, it includes detailed discussions of both his fiction and his plays. The Introduction traces his concise, impressionistic prose style from early comic sketches to mature works such as 'Ward No. 6' and 'In the Ravine'. Examining Chekhov's development as a dramatist, the book considers his one-act vaudevilles and early works, while providing a detailed, act-by-act analysis of the masterpieces on which his reputation rests: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

Reviews

'James N. Loehlin’s book offers the undergraduate student an expert analysis of Anton Chekhov’s prose works and drama in their literary-historical context … This highly recommended book encourages the reader to appreciate Chekhov’s unquestioned mastery of both drama and fiction … Loehlin explores adroitly Chekhov’s humane if unsentimental vision, which combines comedy, dark humor, despair, skepticism, irony, and a 'yearning for the transcendent'. The book’s annotated bibliography guides students in pursuing further research into Chekhov’s works.'

William M. Hawley Source: The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms

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Contents

Guide to further reading
Chekhov's life and cultural context
Bartlett, Rosamund, ed., Anton Chekhov: A Life in Letters, trans. Bartlett, Rosamund and Phillips, Anthony. London: Penguin, 2004. The most recent English-language collection of Chekhov's letters, including many that had previously been censored or unavailable.
Clyman, Toby W., ed., A Chekhov Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. A valuable collection of essays on Chekhov's context, life and works.
Emerson, Caryl, The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. A guide to the literary world in which Chekhov wrote.
Figes, Orlando, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia. New York: Picador, 2002. Provides a broad picture of Russian culture and the complex transformations of Russian's national identity.
Hingley, Ronald, trans. and ed., The Oxford Chekhov. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964. The comprehensive English-language edition of Chekhov's oeuvre.
Malcolm, Janet, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey. New York: Random House, 2002. An accessible and provocative meditation on Chekhov's life and works.
Rayfield, Donald, Anton Chekhov: A Life. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1997. An important biography incorporating materials unavailable during the Soviet era.
Chekhov's short stories
Texts
Garnett, Constance, trans., The Tales of Chekhov (13 vols., 1915–1922). New York: Ecco, 2006. Landmark translations that introduced Chekhov's fiction to the English-speaking world.
Pevear, Richard, and Volokhonsky, Larissa, trans., Anton Chekhov: Stories. New York: Bantam, 2000. Versions of thirty important stories by the leading translators of Russian literature into English.
Pevear, Richard, and Volokhonsky, Larissa, trans., Anton Chekhov: The Complete Short Novels. London: Everyman, 2004. The five longest prose works of Chekhov's mature career, from “The Steppe” to “My Life.”
Criticism
Chudakov, A. P., Chekhov's Poetics (1971), trans. Jannie Cruise, Edwina and Dragt, Donald. Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1983. Analysis of narrative voice in Chekhov by a major Soviet critic.
Eekman, Thomas A., ed., Critical Essays on Anton Chekhov. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989. A collection of essays, mostly on the prose, including works by Shestov, Derman, and Nabokov.
Finke, Michael, Seeing Chekhov: Life and Art. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. Penetrating psychological/biographical reading of Chekhov, focusing on the ideas of seeing and being seen.
Jackson, Robert Louis, Reading Chekhov's Text: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1993. Collection of essays by major Chekhov scholars, mainly focusing on individual stories.
Kataev, Vladimir, If Only We Could Know!, trans. and ed. Pitcher, Harvey. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2002. Selection of criticism by an important Russian scholar, from both before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Rayfield, Donald, Understanding Chekhov. London: Bristol Classical Press, 1988. Revealing study encompassing the prose, drama, and life of Chekhov.
Chekhov's plays
Texts
Senelick, Laurence, trans., Anton Chekhov: The Complete Plays. New York: Norton, 2006. The fullest translation of Chekhov's dramatic work, including the dramatic sketches and vaudevilles.
Criticism
Brustein, Robert, The Theatre of Revolt (1964). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1991. Powerful, readable study of Chekhov in relation to other innovators of modern drama.
Gilman, Richard, Chekhov's Plays: An Opening into Eternity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. Insightful discussions of the major plays.
Gottlieb, Vera, Chekhov and the Vaudeville. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. Definitive analysis of the short plays.
Gottlieb, Vera, and Allain, Paul, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Contains essays on Chekhov's drama by scholars, directors, and actors.
Magarshack, David, Chekhov the Dramatist. New York: Hill and Wang, 1960. Pioneering study of Chekhov as a playwright of “indirect action.”
Senelick, Laurence, The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Magisterial survey of Chekhov performance history.
Senelick, Laurence, trans. and ed., Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays. New York: Norton, 2005. Incorporates Chekhov's letters relating to the theatre as well as a good collection of critical essays.
Styan, J. L., Chekhov in Performance: A Commentary on the Major Plays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1971. A sensitive act-by-act reading of the plays as performance texts.

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