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If Only We Could Know!: An Interpretation of Chekhov

If Only We Could Know!: An Interpretation of Chekhov

Vladimir Kataev

ISBN: 9781566635233

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It will soon be a hundred years since the death of Anton Chekhov. He was apt to remark that immortality is rubbish, but what has happened to his creative legacy in the last century matches all of man s metaphors that express the idea of immortality. And the process continues, overcoming boundaries of time and space, and taking different form in different countries. In this luminous book of criticism, Chekhov s foremost Russian interpreter offers to Western readers a remarkably clear and commanding appraisal of the master s work. Vladimir Kataev concerns himself chiefly with Chekhov s unique treatment of a wide range of diverse themes, motifs, and situations. With ringing authority and critical common sense, he examines Chekhov s major tales, stories, and plays, pointing out patterns of development in Chekhov s approach to characters and themes, and tracing the roots of Chekhov s ideas as expressed through his plots. The hallmark of Mr. Kataev s interpretations is their clarity. No one who has endured tortuous explanations of Chekhov will fail to welcome his lucid criticism. With his careful arguments, he quietly undermines many conventional (and persistent) approaches to Chekhov, Western as well as Russian, and establishes a radically new position of his own.
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