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Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov
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Uncle Vanya (1899)

by Anton Chekhov

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First saw this at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, nearly five decades ago (1969)--before I had read it in translation or (parts) in Russian. (The title, Дядя Ваня can be understood after two weeks of Russian.) The Guthrie had the tone just right--a comedy with a sad ending? Rather like so many Shakespeare tragedies with (somewhat) happy endings-- RIII,even MacBeth. Back then it was rare to see Checkov anything but dreary, quasi-tragic, similar to Ibsen. Тогда это было редко видеть ​Checkov ничего, кроме тоскливой, квази-трагический, похож​
Dr. Astrov's resounding support for the forest resounded with me, whose family has lived in New England since 1661, and who grew up summers in Maine on 40 acres of field and forest, the nearest inhabited farm a mile away. Astrov might appall modern pretend conservationists paid to manage forests but who sell off the oak to create better hunting. (Even Brazilians who strip rainforest don't pretend they're land protectionists.)
Amazing how telling, how contemporary, land issues here and in the Cherry Orchard are. Of course, land was always a plague in Russia: anybody might own huge property, and not be rich. Wealth required owning the peasants to work tracts, мужики. Gogol's Chichikov discovers a tax loophole which can make him appear rich (thus marriageable), by buying dead people still on the lists. Amusing throughout. Hilarious when one sentimental landowner ironically named Bitch-son, собакевич, refuses to sell his former carriage-repairmen (?).
I suppose trees are the modern tax-roll "souls": valuable when dead, as pretend conservationists know. ( )
  AlanWPowers | Oct 13, 2016 |
Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov; Kindle; play; (3 1/2*)

I think that perhaps Chekhov may be an acquired taste and I am not truly there yet. And though I enjoyed this play I got lost within the characters at times.
In a world full of whining and complaining about insignificant things it's fun to admire Chekhov and his ability to make this seem imperative to human life. While in the setting of Russian gentry everything is falling apart and the lives of the characters are no more gratifying than anyone the lives of anyone else. ( )
  rainpebble | Aug 17, 2015 |
I read while listening to the Librivox full cast recording, which I will recommend. I found having different people reading the different parts (plus their intonations at certain times) really helped me keep track of who was who.

This play struck me as having a lot going on even through it is mostly talk rather than action. Vanya (Ivan) has been caring for his niece Sonia's estate after his sister died; now, his (former?) brother-in-law & his second wife Helena are visiting. Helena exerts a disruptive influence on all the male characters which irresistably reminded me of Helen of Troy.

I was struck by how modern some of the ideas expressed were. One example of this is the doctor's ideas about forests - his thoughts about deforestation and climate could have been spoken by someone today. I hadn't realized that these ideas existed in the late 1800s when Chekhov wrote this play! ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 4, 2015 |
I related to this at at least nine broadly related points (the wasted life, the tragic ridiculousness of the old man who can't catch up with the fact that old he is, the feeling of universal decline emerging from one's own decline, how watching other people laugh and cry makes you laugh and cry for maybe motor neuron reasons, how very very hard it is to walk away from someone you KNOW is gonna kiss you for the second time ever, how sad it is to be smart and unaccomplished and peevish, how it's all a fuckin dumb waste man, etc., etc.), and yet it still didn't really compare to Three Sisters on any level really for me, showing the superiority of art over life I guess. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jan 4, 2014 |
I read this for a LAMDA exam, and to be honest the reason I did not enjoy it was probably due to the amount of times I had to go through one scene, but it's put me off of reading any more Chekov =/ ( )
  Rinnreads | Sep 24, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anton Chekhovprimary authorall editionscalculated
Covan, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fen, ElisavetaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frayn, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mamet, DavidAdaptersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulrine, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Young, StarkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802131514, Paperback)

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet’s Uncle Vanya is a sparkling restoration of a masterpiece of the modern stage, marked by Mamet’s finely tuned ear for dialogue and memorable poetic imagery.

In "Uncle Vanya," a retired professor and his beautiful young wife return to the country estate left by his deceased first wife to find themselves overwhelmed by the stagnant inevitability of the rituals of their life and class, and mercilessly taxed by the encroachment of age at the expense of youth. All of the play’s characters are plunged into that precarious state where, in Beckett’s words, “the boredom of living is replaced by the suffering of being.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Chekhov's tragicomedy, replete with the kinds of characters we have come to know as "Chekhovian, " incorporates unrequited loves and a murder plot while exploring the social roles of women and the notion of progress. Curt Columbus's splendid new translation and adaptation underscores the contemporary relevance of this prophetic play.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 190783270X, 1907832718

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