Chekhov, Anton (Pavlovich) biographical name
(born Jan. 29, 1860, Taganrog, Russiadied July 14/15, 1904, Badenweiler, Ger.) Russian playwright and short-story writer. The son of a former serf, he supported his family by writing popular comic sketches while studying medicine in Moscow. While practicing as a doctor, he had his first full-length play, Ivanov (1887), produced, but it was not well-received. He took up serious themes with stories such as The Steppe (1888) and A Dreary Story (1889); later stories include The Black Monk (1894) and Peasants (1897). He converted his second long play, The Wood Demon (1889), into the masterpiece Uncle Vanya (1897). His play The Seagull (1896) was badly received until its successful revival in 1899 by Konstantin Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theatre. He moved to the Crimea to nurse his eventually fatal tuberculosis, and there he wrote his great last plays, Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904), for the Moscow Art Theatre. Chekhov's plays, which take a tragicomic view of the staleness of provincial life and the passing of the Russian gentry, received international acclaim after their translation into English and other languages, and as a short-story writer he is still regarded as virtually unmatched.
Anton Chekhov, 1902.—David Magarshack
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