Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Chekhov Lexicon by William Boyd

Check out this Chekhov Lexicon by William Boyd at The Guardian. Here's the entry for A:

Anton Chekhov died 100 years ago, on July 15 1904. He was 44 years old. His lungs were ravaged by tuberculosis. In Russia, Chekhov is revered as a short-story writer of genius; his plays are considered as extremely interesting but somehow ancillary and complementary to his main achievement. And this Russian conception of his work has some validity: Chekhov, whatever his standing as a playwright, is quite probably the best short-story writer ever. Like certain great pieces of music, his stories repay constant revisitings. The two dozen or so mature stories he wrote in the last decade of the 19th century have not dated: what resonated in them for his contemporaries resonates now, 100 or more years on. Chekhov, it can be argued, was the first truly modern writer of fiction: secular, refusing to pass judgment, cognisant of the absurdities of our muddled, bizarre lives and the complex tragi-comedy that is the human condition.



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