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Anton Chehov Essay

  • Submitted by: luiza1970
  • on February 28, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 17,810 words

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Below is an essay on "Anton Chehov" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in Taganrog, a southern Russian port, in 1860. The son of a shopkeeper and grandson of a serf, Chekhov was himself well educated and aspired to a career in medicine. His family entered financial difficulties when Chekhov was a medical student in Moscow, prompting the young man to write short stories for publication. (Throughout his life, Chekhov would juggle two careers, devoting his energies to the professions of medicine and writing.) These tales appeared in monthly periodicals and later, as his reputation grew, more illustrious journals. By 1888, Chekhov was recognized as an outstanding literary talent, popular with both critics and public alike. In this same year he was awarded the prestigious Pushkin Prize for a collection of short stories. Most of Chekhov's tales were written between 1885 and 1899, which was his most creative period as a short story writer. Over the following years until his death, Chekhov cemented his literary renown by writing works for the stage. However, plays such as Uncle Vanya (1900) and The Cherry Orchard (1904) earned Chekhov criticism as well as praise. Many Russian critics deny that these works display the mastery of form and language reflected in Chekhov's tales.
As a writer of short fiction, Chekhov is indebted to such literary giants as Maupassant, Tolstoy, and Turgenev, but his own influence on western literature has been immense. The author's masterful handling of prose, as well as his sensitivity towards character, mood, and setting, impressed authors as diverse as E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf. Indeed, his economical use of language and ambivalent style—Chekhov weaves humor with pathos to magnify the inconsequential details of people's lives—helped redefine the short story genre. He also developed a technique of ending stories with what have been termed "zero endings"—or anti-climactic conclusions. This technique makes the stories seem more realistic, and often more pathetic,...

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