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Short Stories [trans. Elisaveta Fen] by…
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Short Stories [trans. Elisaveta Fen]

by Anton Chekhov

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This collection contains only thirteen of the hundreds of stories written by Chekhov. It does not contain the longer stories like The Steppe of Ward No. 6, but it does include a judicious selection by the translator Elisaveta Fen.

Chekhov's stories portray individuals and their relations with each other in specific situations. These often demonstrate the results of difficult choices with sometimes devastating results. I particularly enjoyed stories like "Enemies", "Teacher of Literature", and "The Cross of Anna". Each of these were a little further developed than some of the briefer sketches.

"The Cross of Anna" tells of the loss of innocence of a young girl when she marries a pompous and boring middle-aged man, with the idea of helping her young motherless brothers and a weak father who is a drunkard. At first she is dominated by her older husband, but when noticed by the governor of the province at a charity ball she is launched into provincial society. Her enjoyment of the new pleasures this brings turns her head away from her family and leads her to despise and defy her husband. In response to her success with the governor he awards her husband the cross of Anna, which he wears on a ribbon around his neck. This is the source of the Russian idiom, 'Anna around his neck' describing an unwanted burden.
"Teacher of Literature" portrays a favorite Chekhovian theme -- the emptiness of material prosperity and the tedium of provincial life with the gradual erosion of the 'happiness' of a young man.
While "Enemies" is the story of a clash between classes with a relatively poor doctor juxtaposed with a wealthy landowner. Surprisingly Chekhov explicitly states the moral of the necessity for greater tolerance and understanding between different types of people at the end of the story.

The most notable aspect in my reading was the modern feeling that I encountered in reading Chekhov. These stories, while set in a very different place and time are still relevant in the twenty-first century. The irony and sometimes melancholy nature of the stories shapes the realism that is found throughout Chekhov.. ( )
  jwhenderson | Mar 5, 2017 |
great translation ( )
  mahallett | Aug 20, 2015 |
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Contents:

The Death of a Civil Servant

Fat and Thin

The Huntsman

Sergeant Prishibeyev

Misery

Easter Night

Romance with Double-Bass

Vanka

The Reed-Pipe

Boys

Kashtanka

A Lady's Story

No Comment

The Beauties

A Dreary Story

Gusev

The Grasshopper

In Exile

Ward No. 6

The Black Monk

Rothschild's Fiddle

The Student

The House with the Mezzanine

Peasants

Ionych

Encased

Gooseberries

About Love

A Doctor's Visit

On Oficial Duty

The Darling

The Lady with the Dog

In the Ravine

The Bishop
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