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The Plays of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

The Plays of Anton Chekhov (edition 1998)

by Anton Chekhov (Author)

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362748,115 (4.3)7
These critically hailed translations of The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters and the other Chekhov plays are the only ones in English by a Russian-language scholar who is also a veteran Chekhovian actor. Without compromising the spirit of the text, Paul Schmidt accurately translates Chekhov's entire theatrical canon, rescuing the humor "lost" in most academic translations while respecting the historical context and original social climate. Schmidt's translations of Chekhov have been successfully staged all over the U.S. by such theatrical directors as Lee Strasberg, Elizabeth Swados, Peter Sellars and Robert Wilson. Critics have hailed these translations as making Chekhov fully accessible to American audiences. They are also accurate -- Schmidt has been described as "the gold standard in Russian-English translation" by Michael Holquist of the Russian department at Yale University.… (more)
Title:The Plays of Anton Chekhov
Authors:Anton Chekhov (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial (1998), 387 pages
Collections:Books to Borrow

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The Plays of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

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Although I have read so far only three of the plays, I have found them very sensible, funny and enjoyable. They depict the characters in common situations with common feelings. Entanglements, either love or otherwise, give the plays a clear realism,
I am looking forward to reading more of them over thenext few weeks. ( )
  xieouyang | Dec 19, 2018 |
Favorites: seagull, cherry orchard, ivanov, bear
  adriennefriend | Nov 3, 2014 |
This is a lovely edition of Chekhov's Plays that I picked up a few years ago in a charity shop. Amazingly enough, this is the first time I have read a Chekhov play in English (read some in Russian when doing my degree). Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard are definitely my favourites, whereas I thought little of Uncle Vanya and Ivanov. Overall, though, I prefer Chekhov's short stories to his plays. 3.5/5 overall and a few thoughts below on each individual play.

Three Sisters

This is an amusing play, with distinctive characters who quite quickly impress the reader with their individual personalities. There is very much a theme of longing in the play, whether to return to Moscow or to be in love or whatever.

Uncle Vanya

I was less impressed with this one, which didn't seem to get anywhere. And the title character isn't particularly the most important or interesting one.

The Cherry Orchard

Perhaps Chekhov's most famous play, this is a bittersweet piece, with the themes of love and loss between characters reflected in the sale and subsequent destruction of the Orchard. There are also some interesting reflections on the emancipation of the serfs, with the ancient valet Firs having been against it as he valued the certainty of the old life.


I found this one rather tedious and shapeless for the most part.

The Seagull

More complicated love relationships and literary competition, but didn't really resonate for me. ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 8, 2013 |
Cherry Orchard, 1/6

I thought this was excellent. I'm just coming off Ibsen, who's sorta punch-you-in-the-face powerful, so I was underwhelmed a bit too, but I think it's a really elegant, subtle play with a lot going on. It's specifically about this huge transition from old to modern Russian culture, right? (I hope so.) An elegy for the old way, and a "Here we go" for the new. I thought it was eloquently done.

Not gonna change my life. Which Hedda Gabler may actually have done, in some small way. But I totally dug it.


Uncle Vanya, 1/22

I liked this more, and I wonder if maybe it's just because I'm getting a tiny bit more used to Chekhov; I understand his sortof idiosyncratic use of anguished, expository soliloquy better, and his weird sense of humor, and his quiet form of depression. Vanya's cool, anyway. Some remarkably prophetic stuff on the environment here, by the way. (Although I somewhat suspect the translator of politically charging it.)

Nice echo to Dorothea and Casaubon in Middlemarch, too, btw.

"People are freaks, you know? You spend all your time with them, before you know it you're a freak yourself." (Act one)

"I used to think freaks were sick, but I've changed my mind. Now I think being a freak is the normal human condition. I think you're completely normal." (Act four)

Minor confusion: I, ah, I missed the gun in Act One. Where the fuck does that show up? I mainly read this play because of a weird minor obsession with Chekhov's Gun that I've recently developed, and now I didn't even notice it. Can anyone bail me out here? ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
The 2 star rating is for the translation. More to come, when I can get the taste out of my mouth. ( )
  jburlinson | Oct 19, 2010 |
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Contains 12 plays: Swan Song, The Bear, The Proposal, Ivanov, The Seagull, A Reluctant Tragic Hero, The Wedding Reception, The Festivities, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Dangers of Tobacco and The Cherry Orchard
Contains "The Cherry Orchard", "Ivanov", "Uncle Vanya", "Three Sisters", "The Sea-Gull", "The Swan Song", "On the High Road", "The Proposal", "The Wedding", "The Bear", "A Tragedian in Spite of Himself", and "The Anniversary"
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