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Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya;…
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Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The CherryOrchard (Penguin Classics) (edition 2002)

by Anton Chekhov (Author)

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2,24096,999 (3.96)16
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 ́1904) overturned the dramatic conventions of his day and laid the groundwork for contemporary approaches to directing and acting. Now, for the first time, the full lyricism, humor, and pathos of his greatest plays are available to an English-speaking audience. Marina Brodskaya's new translations of Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard not only surpass in accuracy all previous translations, but also provide the first complete English text of the plays, restoring passages entirely omitted by her predecessors. This much-needed volume renders Chekhov in language that will move readers and theater audiences alike, making accessible his wordplay, unstated implications, and innovations. His characters' vulnerabilities, needs, and neuroses ́their humanity ́emerge through their genuine, self-absorbed conversations. The plays come to life as never before and will surprise readers with their vivacity, originality, and relevance.… (more)
Member:Treestarcat
Title:Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The CherryOrchard (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Anton Chekhov (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (2002), Edition: Revised ed., 416 pages
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Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I think my love for Chekov actually comes from my current state of lolling and malaise of ease.
He just seems to illuminate the true nothingness that perhaps is life.
( )
  mayalekach | Sep 25, 2021 |
Chekhov is perhaps the most dedicated chronicler of unhappy, dissolute minor aristocrats there's ever been. The five major four-act plays selected here examine in grim detail the joyless lives of cash-strapped gentry with their best days behind them, forced to pawn off what's most dear to them merely to preserve a life that, on reflection, hasn't been worth much to anyone anyway. Chekhov's work is "funny" in that same melancholy way that Kafka's oeuvre strikes a certain bleak-minded kind of person as funny, so in striking contrast to Gogol's weirdly cheerful absurdity, the "comedy" involves characters being required to continually revise their expectations of life downwards, the previously fixed emotional scaffolding supporting their cherished conceptions of life getting knocked out bit by bit, until their lives collapse into lovesickness or destitution or terminal misery or all of the above. Midway through Uncle Vanya, an odd comparison struck me: Chekhov's plays are like a gloomier, more realistic Seinfeld, bone-dry modernist studies of small people in ill-fitting clothing too big for them, going through the motions of their meaningless lives with only themselves to blame. Unlike the harmless slapstick of a a sitcom though, Chekhov thoughtfully includes murder or suicide at the end to punctuate the unavoidable futility of everyone's existences, so there's that.

The perennial downside of reading plays instead of seeing them is that you lose the different emotional valences that performers bring out of the text; you might as well read an opera's sheet music instead of hear it, or judge a movie by its script alone. Chekhov worked very closely with Konstantin Stanislavski, the inventor of "method acting", on these plays, so I can only imagine the contrast between the somber action and the intense performances in a contemporary production. Reading all these plays back to back is a bit bleak, although it must be said that there's a sparse perfection to the construction of the scenes and flow to the dialogue that's impressive even if you feel the need to detox with some lighthearted farces afterwards. Chekhov keeps his characters on a tight leash for the most part, only occasionally letting their frustrations loose in volcanic monologues. One can't help but sympathize with Ivanov, Triplev, Astrov, Vershinin, or Trofimov's agonizing, and yet their passionate declamations are typically dismissed instantly by their loved ones. It's a great example of theater as tempo and cumulative effect, and although he does occasionally dip into the dangerous waters of metafiction, like the play-within-a-play in The Seagull, he always returns from his abstractions to the hard facts of his characters' lives. Perhaps all our most cherished possessions, experiences, and even thoughts themselves are like cherry orchards, fated to be consigned to oblivion in the end; or perhaps I just need a refreshing dose of Molière. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Great plays; perhaps not the best translation. ( )
  deckla | Aug 26, 2018 |
Ivanov - 3.5 stars
The problem with reading classics after reading tons of contemporary fiction is that it's hard to remember that stories/themes have been done to death by now, but you still have to give props to the original even though it feels like a repeat. It makes you think about what makes a man good or bad, who should be sympathized with, and how easy it is to lose sight of what's important. I liked it, but it was short and choppy. I might have liked it better if I had seen it on stage instead of reading it. ( )
  ladonna37 | Oct 11, 2011 |
There are reviews of The Cherry Orchard; Uncle Vanya; and The Seagull on my blog. ( )
  johnbakeronline | Apr 29, 2010 |
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Fen, ElisavitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 ́1904) overturned the dramatic conventions of his day and laid the groundwork for contemporary approaches to directing and acting. Now, for the first time, the full lyricism, humor, and pathos of his greatest plays are available to an English-speaking audience. Marina Brodskaya's new translations of Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard not only surpass in accuracy all previous translations, but also provide the first complete English text of the plays, restoring passages entirely omitted by her predecessors. This much-needed volume renders Chekhov in language that will move readers and theater audiences alike, making accessible his wordplay, unstated implications, and innovations. His characters' vulnerabilities, needs, and neuroses ́their humanity ́emerge through their genuine, self-absorbed conversations. The plays come to life as never before and will surprise readers with their vivacity, originality, and relevance.

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Book description
Contains:
Ivanov

The Seagull

Uncle Vania

Three Sisters

The Cherry Orchard

The Bear

The Proposal

A Jubilee
Haiku summary

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