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              Anton Chekhov

              A picture of the author Anton Chekhov

              Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Jan 29, 1860 - Jul 15, 1904) was a Russian physician and supreme short story writer and playwright. He was the third of six children. His father was a grocer, painter and religious fanatic with a mercurial temperament who "thrashed" his children and was likely emotionally abusive to his wife. Chekhov, like Dickens, was no stranger to financial hardship and in 1875 his father took the family and fled to Moscow to escape creditors. Chekhov stayed behind for three more years to finish school. He paid for his tuition by catching and selling goldfinches and dispensing private tutoring lessons, and selling short sketches to the newspaper. He sent any money he could spare money to his family in Moscow. Chekhov is considered an exemplar author in the genre of Realism. A child-family separation theme plays out in several of Chekhov's stories including Vanka, The Steppe, and Sleepy.

              Painting of Anton Chekhov by Valentine Serov, 1903In 1879 Chekhov was admitted to medical school and he joined his family in Moscow. He assumed financial responsibility for the family and while attending classes at Moscow State University, he wrote and sold a large number of humorous stories and vignettes of contemporary Russian life. He published more than four hundred short stories, sketches and vignettes by the age of twenty-six.

              "Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress; when I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other."

              Some consider Chekhov to be the founder of the modern short story and his influence is observed in a diverse group of writers including Flannery O'Connor, Tennessee Williams, William Somerset Maugham, Raymond Carver and John Cheever. Most of the English-speaking world knows him as a playwright, particularly for The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

              Anton Chekhov quoteSome popular starting points for short story readers include: Ward No. 6, The Darling and Gusev, The Hunstman and The Lady with the Little Dog. A Dreary Story is also an excellent work. Due to it's length I have classified it here as a book. It's also well known under the alternative title A Boring Story which is the title listed in the short story section as a convenience to readers searching under that name. Anton Chekhov himself was personally fond of his short story, The Student.

              In 1897 Chekhov was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He purchased land in Yalta in 1898 after his father's death and had a villa built. He moved into the villa in 1899 with his mother and sister. This was a very prolific period for the great writer and he produced some of his most famous work during this period. Amongst those works is a trilogy featuring Ivan Ivanovitch, a veterinary surgeon and his schoolmaster friend, Burkin. The two are on a small trekking and shooting holiday. Chekhov overlays three stories that are amongst his most famous short stories in a trilogy sometimes referred to as "The Little Trilogy". The three short stories, in order, are: The Man in a Case, Gooseberries, and About Love. It was also during this period in Yalta that he produced Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

              Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper, 1901Witty to the end, Chekhov's last words were, "I haven't had champagne for a long time." His words were a satirical reference to a specific etiquette practiced in German medicine at the time; when it was determined that there was no hope for a patient's recovery, it was customary for the doctor to offer the patient a glass of champagne.

              We feature two volumes of Anton Chekhov's great short stories in our Favorite Short Stories Collection. You may also enjoy reminiscences about Chekhov by Maxim Gorky and Aleksandr Kuprin.

              Chekhov is featured in our collection of favorite Russian Writers

              Enjoy American Literature's Anton Chekhov images at Pinterest.

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              Short Stories

              A Bad Business
              A Blunder
              A Boring Story
              About Love
              A Chameleon
              A Classical Student
              A Country Cottage
              A Daughter Of Albion
              A Day In The Country
              A Dead Body
              A Defenseless Creature
              A Doctor's Visit
              A Father
              After The Theatre
              A Gentleman Friend
              A Happy Ending
              A Happy Man
              A Joke
              A Lady's Story
              A Living Chattle
              A Malefactor
              A Misfortune
              A Mystery
              An Actor's End
              An Adventure
              An Anonymous Story
              An Artist's Story
              An Avenger
              An Enigmatic Nature
              A Nervous Breakdown
              A Nightmare
              An Inadvertence
              An Incident
              An Inquiry
              Anna On The Neck
              An Upheaval
              A Peculiar Man
              A Pink Stocking
              A Play
              A Problem
              A Slander
              A Story Without An End
              A Story Without A Title
              At A Country House
              At A Summer Villa
              At Christmas Time
              At Home
              A Tragic Actor
              A Transgression
              A Trifle From Life
              A Tripping Tongue
              A Trivial Incident
              A Troublesome Visitor
              At The Barber's
              A Woman's Kingdom
              A Work Of Art
              Bad Weather
              Difficult People
              Easter Eve
              Excellent People
              Expensive Lessons
              Fat And Thin
              From The Diary Of A Violent-Tempered Man
              Gone Astray
              In A Hotel
              In A Strange Land
              In Exile
              In Passion Week
              In The Coach-house
              In The Court
              In The Dark
              In The Graveyard
              In The Ravine
              In Trouble
              Ivan Matveyich
              Mari D'elle
              Minds In Ferment
              My Life
              Not Wanted
              Oh! The Public!
              Old Age
              On Official Duty
              On The Road
              Overdoing It
              Panic Fears
              Peasant Wives
              Rothschild's Fiddle
              Shrove Tuesday
              Small Fry
              Strong Impressions
              The Album
              The Beauties
              The Beggar
              The Bet
              The Bird Market
              The Bishop
              The Black Monk
              The Boys
              The Cattle-dealers
              The Chemist's Wife
              The Chorus Girl
              The Cook's Wedding
              The Cossack
              The Darling
              The Death Of A Government Clerk
              The Dependents
              The Doctor
              The Duel
              The Examining Magistrate
              The First-class Passenger
              The Fish
              The Grasshopper
              The Head-gardener's Story
              The Head Of The Family
              The Helpmate
              The Horse Stealers
              The House with the Mezzanine
              The Huntsman
              The Husband
              The Juene Premier
              The Kiss
              The Lady with the Little Dog
              The Letter
              The Lion And The Sun
              The Looking Glass
              The Lottery Ticket
              The Man In A Case
              The Marshal's Widow
              The Murder
              The New Villa
              The Old House
              The Orator
              The Party
              The Petchenyeg
              The Pipe
              The Post
              The Princess
              The Privy Councillor
              The Requiem
              The Runaway
              The Safety Match
              The Schoolmaster
              The Schoolmistress
              The Shoemaker And The Devil
              The Slanderer
              The Steppe
              The Student
              The Swedish Match
              The Teacher Of Literature
              The Trousseau
              The Two Volodyas
              The Wife
              The Witch
              Three Years
              Too Early!
              Ward No. 6
              Who Was To Blame?

              Anton Chekhov
              Nathaniel Hawthorne
              Susan Glaspell
              Mark Twain
              Edgar Allan Poe
              Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
              Herman Melville
              Stephen Leacock
              Kate Chopin
              Bj?rnstjerne Bj?rnson