Read The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 by Anton Chekhov Ronald Wilks Paul Debreczney Online


This collection contains the following thirteen stories:The House with the MezzaninePeasantsMan in a CaseGooseberriesAbout LoveA Visit to FriendsIonychMy LifeThe Lady with the Little DogIn the RavineDisturbing the BalanceThe BishopThe BrideIn the final years of his life, Chekhov produced some of the stories that rank among his masterpieces, and some of the most highly-regaThis collection contains the following thirteen stories:The House with the MezzaninePeasantsMan in a CaseGooseberriesAbout LoveA Visit to FriendsIonychMy LifeThe Lady with the Little DogIn the RavineDisturbing the BalanceThe BishopThe BrideIn the final years of his life, Chekhov produced some of the stories that rank among his masterpieces, and some of the most highly-regarded works in Russian literature. The poignant 'The Lady with the Little Dog' and 'About Love' examine the nature of love outside of marriage - its romantic idealism and the fear of disillusionment. And in stories such as 'Peasants', 'The House with the Mezzanine' and 'My Life' Chekhov paints a vivid picture of the conditions of the poor and of their powerlessness in the face of exploitation and hardship. With the works collected here, Chekhov moved away from the realism of his earlier tales - developing a broader range of characters and subject matter, while forging the spare minimalist style that would inspire such modern short-story writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. In this edition Ronald Wilks's translation is accompanied by an introduction in which Paul Debreczeny discusses the themes that Chekhov adopted in his mature work. This edition also includes a publishing history and notes for each story, a chronology and further reading. ...

Title : The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904
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ISBN : 9780140447873
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
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The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 Reviews

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2019-04-05 14:59

    I must confess that I hold a deep dislike of Chekhov. Why is this? It is because of his sheer brilliance. The way he writes a short story is effortless and beautiful regardless of translation (I've read a few of the same stories from different translators and they all capture the story elegantly).It is a dislike that stems from earlier in the year of 2012. In my literature class I was forced to attempt to adopt a Chekhovian style of writing to create an imaginative piece. I quickly found that his simple and yet at the same time elegant and complex manner of writing was too difficult for me to adopt for my own devices. His use of words is deceptively tight. It appears that anyone could mimic a Chekhovian style and yet he remains at the top of the short story writing field in my eyes.So while I respect Chekhov's inhuman ability to write such short stories I must say that why oh why did he have to be such a genius? Or at least, why couldn't he have existed after the rest of us 'wanna-be' writers?

  • n* Dalal
    2019-04-01 16:36

    There are moments, when reading this book, where I couldn't even notice how influential Chekhov's style of short story writing has been. These short stories just feel like short stories; it's easy to forget that these are among the first short stories as we know them... The snippets in time, the minimal plots. They're beautiful character sketches, and Chekhov's techniques on sentence length are disarming. I'm looking forward to reading these stories again.

  • Edward
    2019-03-28 14:38

    IntroductionFurther ReadingChronologyNote on TextPatronymics--The House with the Mezzanine--Peasants--Man in a Case--Gooseberries--About Love--A Visit to Friends--Ionych--My Life--The Lady with the Little Dog--In the Ravine--Disturbing the Balance--The Bishop--The BridePublishing History and Notes

  • Saqr Alareqi
    2019-03-30 13:44

    ما يثير الإعجاب حقا في "تشيخوف" أنه في إيجاز ومن غير ثرثرة واستطراد في الوصف، قادر على إيصال معانى وإشارات ذات مغزى. "إنّ القصة التشيخوفية تتسم بأنها في الغالب تبتدئ بداية غير معقولة ولامنطقية، ثم في المنتصف تقريبًا يبدأ يظهر خيط الفكرة، وفي النهاية تصدمك مرارة الفكرة بسخريتها الشديدة ودراميتها اللامحتملة."صحيح أن تشيخوف يكتب قصص قصيرة لكن ثمة الكثير من حرفيته في وصف اللاشيء، وفي رأيي أنه، على عكس دوستويفسكي الذي قد يعجب به السطحي والعميق، يتطلب ذائقة خاصة. في هذه المجموعة المختارة من قصصه المليئة بالمشاعر الإنسانية والبساطة أكثر ما مسني منها هو: - السيدة صاحبة الكلب: يظهر فيها غموض الحياة واقدار البشر والتقاطعات التي تحصل فيها. أيضا حس السخرية من بطل القصة الذي كان يعتقد أنه زير نساء.- العروس: كيف يمكن لإشخاص ان يظهروا في حياتنا ولو بشكل سطحي ويغيروا من مسارها بشكل جذري.- حبوبة: البساطة في وصف هذه المخلوقة رائعة، وكيف أن ثمة أناس بسطاء يعيشون بيننا وعادة لا يلقي لهم أحد بال كما فعل تشيخوف- عنبر رقم ٦: تظهر معاناة الإنسان الواعي الحر في التكيف مع الواقع المليء بالابتذال والسطحية في حياة وعلاقات البشر. ايضا تظهر السلبية والضعف على القيام بالتغيير الإيجابي على الرغم من القدرة على ذلك- اللعوب: يظهر هنا كما في العديد من القصص الأخرى إحتقار تشيخوف للانتلجنسيا الروسية في ذلك الوقت والكسل والتنظير من برج عاجي من غير الإحساس بالآم ومعاناة الأخرين. أيضا البحث عن السعادة والمثالية بعيدا بينما قد تكون متواجدة طوال الوقت أمامنا ولا نتنبه لها.

  • Sara Jesus
    2019-04-19 15:34

    São um conjunto de contos que narram histórias de dramas familiares, traições, loucuras, obsessões e histórias de amores falhados.Não é um livro surpreendente, alguns contos como " A visita de um médico" ou " O marido" são apenas meras descrições. Mas outras como "O monge negro" e " Uma história desconhecida nos deslumbram com uma narração bem detalhada, em que as personagens são repletas de dor, desgosto e uma certa infelicidade existencial.É uma obra que irá agradar aos que adoram ler contos com fins inesperados!

  • M.
    2019-04-19 16:53

    After finishing this collection, I realised I've been reading it, on and off, for almost a year in between other readings. I also realised I read the book in all formats; paperback for few weeks until I had to return it to the library, ebook on computer, kindle edition on tablet, and on mobile. It accompanied me in different countries, seasons, and moods. I managed to enjoy these Russian tales over the weeks and months, and it was generally an entertaining as well as thought-provoking read overall.By shear coincidence, my reading order started with "The House with the Mezzanine", "A Visit to Friends", "Ionych", and "The Lady with the Little Dog" which I, admittedly, thought were slightly monotonic, revolving around the same themes, locations, and characters; the idle Ivan Ivanichs/Dimitri Dimitrichs sipping tea with rich noble families in their drawing rooms, falling in love with the young tender slender daughter playing the piano, and discussing the meaning and purpose of life. Then came the trilogy "Man in a Case, Gooseberries, and About Love" with its special and memorable characters. The splendid "The Bishop", the incomplete story "Disturbing the Balance", and "The Bride" followed, I previously read numerous short stories that were probably inspired by the first, and I think the latter is one of the best in the collection and can be interpreted on different levels. The shocking and jarring depiction of the appalling conditions of the lower class in "Peasants", in addition to human cruelty in "In the ravine" came next. Then finally was the impressive and thought-provoking novella "My Life" with its protagonist's decision to desert the town life with it corrupt bureaucrats and pursue a manual labour life, describing the brutality and scornful side of peasant life as well, and discussing the social debates of that time. So, overall it was something like a panoramic view of the whole Russian society at that time starting from the rich noble families all the way to the lowest class, with the final novella to have both ends in the same story.I was particularly fascinated throughout the whole collection by the realistic characters that you can understand their motives and relate to their feelings despite the time and distance from the 19th century Russia, in addition to the vivid descriptions and disconcerting endings. It has been indeed an interesting journey for a year with the stories of Chekhov who's among the few who influenced the very art of short story - now I recognize that many other short stories I read were inspired by his style, and I'd strongly recommend this collection though I don't know where it stands if compared with other collections of the same author.

  • Diane
    2019-04-13 17:42

    What a surprisingly, insightful collection of literature by the one and only Anton Chekhov. It is absolutely mind-boggling how Chekhov was able to put so much emotion and so much psychology into such short pieces of literature. It seems so unrealistic that so much emotion can be packaged up into a neat little section of a couple of pages but the feeling that is left with the human reading it speaks volumes. Hell, some of his inspired critique is so much longer, drabber and drier than his intimate stories. The intense recollection at the fact that no two human beings can ever feel the same thing is positively saddening or enlightening. Oftentimes, even both! Also, Chekhov's ambiguity sets up for the readers individual interpretations of each of his works. Chances are, you'll feel some sort of camaraderie with one or more of his fluctuating, fantastic, invigorating, and clearly ambiguous characters.

  • Jrobertus
    2019-04-07 19:47

    Chekhov is a world renowned play write and short story author. His skills are obvious in this compilation. Garnett is a well regarded translator and I hope we are seeing the master at his best here. Chekhov was a physician and a member of the upper class. Most of his stories focus on this group near the end of the 19th centruy. Many elite intellectuals were closet revolutionaries and the conflict between their privileged lives and those of the proletariat around them were clearly the source of many long, long philosophical discussions and soul searching about how to shape a life. The stories are generally very interesting, although morose. My favorites here are the title story, "A doctor's visit", "the black monk",and "the husband". They all show the author as a penetrating psychologist and observer of the human condition;the Russian condition tends toward wasted lives and missed opportunities in many of the stories.

  • Noor Al-Zubaidi
    2019-04-14 15:55

    Some stories were brilliant, others a little dull. But the characters are fascinating. This is my first taste of Chekhov, and I can definitely say I am a fan. Short stories aren't my thing but least there weren't 100 characters in a story, as I know that Russian literature can be a little tedious. However, with that said I love it very much.

  • Amanda Lila
    2019-04-11 17:39

    Anton Chekhov writes some great short stories.

  • Inderjit Sanghera
    2019-03-30 17:41

    THE HOUSE WITH THE MEZZANINEThe House With The Mezzanine is the story of a somewhat diffident young man, a painter, and his somewhat tenuous romance with two sisters during a vacation; the story is laden with the impressionistic images conjured up by its narrator and is one of Chekhov’s finest short stories.The narrator, feeling bored during his holidays, decides to go for a walk and during his walk he comes across the grounds of an unfamiliar manor house; “The sun was already thinking and the evening shadows lay across the flower rye. Two rows of closely planted, towering fir trees, stood like solid, unbroken walls, forming a handsome, sombre avenue…It was quiet and dark, only high up in the trees a vivid golden light quivered here and there and transformed spiders webs into shimmering rainbows” Chekhov brilliantly renders the picture from the perspective of a talented impressionist, the narrators keen eye picking out the oscillations of the spiders web via the sinking son, a sombre atmosphere pervades the scene, a kind of ethereal beauty lingers as the ephemeral beauty of the sun lingers in the avenue; “I went past a white house with a terrace and a kind of mezzanine-and suddenly a vista opened: a courtyard, a large pond with a bathing place, a clump of green willows and a village on the far bank, with a slender tall tower whose cross glittered in the setting sun.” You feel as if you are drifting from one painting to another, the narrator comes across two young women, “One of them-the elder, who was slim, pale and very pretty with a mass of auburn hair and a stubborn mouth-wore a stern expression and hardly looked at me. But the other girl-still very young, no more than seventeen or eighteen-similarly slim and pale, with a large mouth and big eyes, looked at me in astonishment as I walked past.” Note the contrast between his description of the two women, he obviously finds the older attractive and is slightly piqued by her perceived indifferent of him, whereas the description of the younger is less sensuous. Notice also, the description of her ‘stubborn mouth’ and the girls ‘astonished’ gaze at the narrator, who is obviously somewhat unreliable as he is using his later relationship with them to colour his first meeting with them.Not long after this, the older sister, whose name is Lida, pays a visit to the narrator’s friend’s house, where he is staying and, after giving a speech on various social projects she is leading and needs help with, invites him to visit as she and her mother are admirers of his work. (Was she therefore really as indifferent as the narrator makes her out to be when he first sees her?) The narrator is again piqued by her behaviour towards him when they visit; she feels he is misusing his talents by not representing the hardships of the poor and he feels her constant interference in their lives leads to more harm than good. His is treated more favourably, however, by her young sister, Zhenya, he describes her underdeveloped breasts and her child like habit of touching him with her shoulder, he finds her charming and inoffensive, somewhat indolent like him, irrepressibly childish, whereas Lida, whose views he claims he deplores he finds fascinating, “She was a vivacious, sincere young girl, with strong views. And it was fascinating listening to her, although she said a lot-and in a loud voice…”He becomes a regular visitor to the house and his thoughts invariably turn to Lida, whose mouth now becomes ‘finely modelled’, he watches her distribute aid the poor, yet the two get along no better than before and he feels she holds him in contempt for his supposed indifference to the plight of the poor. The two indeed, stand in stark contrast to one another, her social causes cause him to become subconsciously aware of his own diffidence and lack of purpose, whereas his arguments maker her aware of the hypocrisy of her own attitude; after all by raising the peasants aspirations is she not setting them up to fail in a society in which they cannot progress and “it is easy enough to play the good Samaritan when one had five thousand acres of one’s own” Lida, who has established an autocratic power over family and friends, is not having her ideas questioned and responds badly to the narrator’s caustic criticisms, yet the two are irretrievably drawn to one another. On a conscious level at least, the narrator is more drawn to Missy, who obviously admires him as a person and an artist, no doubt stroking his bruised ego, though there is an obvious romantic element to this; “When I came she would bush slightly on seeing me, put down her book, look into my face with her big eyes and tell me enthusiastically what had been happening…” The narrator is aware of this but gently encourages it, they go for walks, go boating and pick cherries, but it is important to note that he does not reciprocate the feelings; only able to observe Missy through the lenses of adolescence, he sees her as a kindred spirit of sort and if he does encourage her affections it is merely to fan the flames of jealousy that Lida feels when she sees them two going for walks; “Lida had just returned from somewhere and she stood by the front porch, crop in hand, looking graceful and beautiful in the sunlight; she was giving orders to one of the workmen. Talking very loudly, she hurriedly spoke to one or two of the patients, and then, with a preoccupied and busy look, marched through the rooms, opened one cupboard after another, after which she went to the attic storey.”The narrator’s revels in the reverence in which Missy and her mother hold him, he notes, with some trepidation, that they regard Lida as an enigma, a general of sorts, yet perhaps he is mixing his own feelings in with theirs? His friendship with the family makes him want to paint again, but also makes him question his lack of direction in life, despite the fact that it is this very idleness that attracts him Missy and her mother and divides him from Lida. He muses to his friend, “Lida could only fall in love with a council worker who is as devoted as she is to hospitals and schools. Oh, for a girl like her one would not only do welfare work but wear a pair of iron boots, like the girls in the fairy tale! And there’s Missy! Isn’t she charming, this Missy?” The narrator is extolling the ‘charms’ of Missy, in a language redolent with indifference, yet is perhaps perturbed that Lida would only fall for a council worker and not, perhaps, a landscape painter.At their next meeting the two again begin a juvenile argument about politics; the narrator is obviously watching her closely as she enters the room as he mentions her removing her gloves (details he rarely gives Missy, who he finds so charming), the narrator argues that her changes to living standards of the poor are shallow and egocentric, she retorts that is better to do something than nothing at all and the most pathetic hospital is worth more than any landscape painting. The narrator leaves for home after the argument and meets Missy at the gates; “It was a sad August night-sad because there was already a breath of autumn of the air.” The narrator is obviously aware that the summer of his holiday and acquaintance with the Volchaninovs will soon be coming to an end. “The moon was rising, veiled by a crimson cloud and casting a dim light on the road and the dark fields of winter corn along its sides. There were many shooting stars. Zhenya walked along the road at my side, trying not to see the shooting stars, which frightened her for some reason.” The narrator realizes that he is in love with Missy-he loves because her because she admires him as an artist and reveres him as a person, he is astonished by the depth of her mind and somewhat fatuously “suspects she is very intelligent”, her beauty moves him, to what I am not too sure, except for an eloquent soliloquy about her appreciation of his art, one suspects why, after spending so much time with Missy he is still unsure about her intelligence, his declaration of love for her is somewhat vague and empty and completely egocentric, his still thinks bitterly about her pretty sister who has no appreciation of his artistic talents, despite the fact that Lida stated she admired his work, and criticised it for its lack of purpose. He kisses her and she, flushed with excitement, departs for home, where he follows her and watches the house. “I walked past the terrace and sat down on a bench on the darkness under the old elm by the tennis court. In the window of the attic storey where she slept, a bright light suddenly shone, turning soft green when the lamp was covered with a shade. I was full of tenderness, calm and contentment- because I had let myself get carried away and fallen in love. And at the same time I was troubled by the thought that a few steps away, Lida lived in one of the rooms of that house, Lida who disliked and possibly hated me.” Given that Lida retires to the attic after seeing the narrator and Missy returning from a walk and that he hears voices in the attic, Lida probably sleeps there with Missy, again although the narrator states he is in love with Missy, his thoughts stray back to and are dominated by Lida and her apparent dislike to him; he feels the attic window where she sleeps staring at him with comprehending eyes, unlike the sad, gentle looks which Missy gives him.The narrator returns the next day, to be confronted by Lida, who tells her Missy and her mother left that morning, Later he is handed a letter from Missy, telling him that Lida disapproves of their relationship and so has sent her away. The narrator is despondent, on his way back home he notes; “Then came the dark fir avenue, the broken down fence.” The story has come full circles as the narrator departs the estate via the route he first entered, “On that same field where I first saw the flowering rye and hear the quails calling, cows and hobbled horses were grazing. Here and there on the hills were the bright green patches of winter corn. A sombre, humdrum mood came over me and I felt ashamed of all I had said at the Volchaninovs.” Perhaps he is ashamed of leading Missy on or being so acerbic and rude to Lida? He soon leaves for home and never sees them again, though he does learn that Lida has strengthened her political grip on the area, though he had no news on Missy, he sometimes harks back to the time and remembers the green lamp in the attic or his footstep as he walked home. The narrator is still, however, consumed by loneliness and diffidence.The House With the Mezzanine is amongst Chekhov’s most beautiful short stories; it conjures up and idyllic picture of the youth of the narrator and of his falling in love-that he attributes this love to the wrong person is a symbol of not only by his naiveté but his egocentricity, although he is critical of Lida for the egocentric element of her charity he fails to recognise this element of his own personality and how it blinds him to his true emotions. Perhaps Lida and the narrator are more similar than they care to imagine; both are driven by immense passion, for entirely different causes, both are stubborn, arrogant and intelligent, both are attracted to each other but fail to acknowledge this attraction and the innocent, naïve Missy is dragged in between. Both are wrong in their assertions-firstly the narrator is his somewhat portentous political statements, after all, as Lida state, in nobody acts to redress the inequalities of society then there will never be any progress. As for Lida’s myopic statement that art has no aesthetic value and that it must have a social element, there is no greater irony that this being said in a work of Chekhov, whose work is ‘art-for-arts sake’ and yet did more to increase awareness of the plight of the poor than any social works and immortalized the lives of the Russian of the time more than any history book. After all, the emotional underplay of the novel and the beautiful descriptions of the environment are eternal, as is all great art, and so will resonate so long as humans feel love and appreciate beauty, whereas art concerned with political is ephemeral by its very nature.

  • Ernest Junius
    2019-04-15 19:46

    I enjoyed reading Chekhov much more than I imagined. Everybody has been so crazy about this man. Writers confessed that Chekhov made them, scholars quoted him every time, and his work continues finding larger and larger audience. I believe this is for a reason. Chekhov, unlike most classical canons, is not hard to read. Despite considered classic, he is modern in many ways. Vladimir Nabokov noted that Chekhov is not a great prose stylist but a writer who dealt with street language:The magical part of it is that in spite of his being quite satisfied with man in the street among words, the word in the street so to say, Chekhov managed to convey an impression of artistic beauty far surpassing that of many writers who thought they knew what rich beautiful prose was. He did it by keeping all his words in the same dim light and of the exact tint of gray, a tint between the color of an old fence and that of a low cloud. The variety of his moods, the flicker of his charming wit, the deeply artistic economy of characterization, the vivid detail and the fade-out of human life, all the peculiar Chekhovian features are enhanced by being suffused and surrounded by a faintly iridescent verbal haziness.—Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Russian LiteratureHis stories are never clear-cut and easy to digest (not hard to read doesn’t mean easy to digest) and some might even irritate reader because of the ineffectuality of the characters. Like in the first story, The House with the Mezzanine, a young and unsuccessful landscape painter is involved in a strange relationship with a wealthy household of a widowed and her two daughters. He was always picking a fight with the eldest daughter, Lida, for her idealism in helping the poor. To the painter, the poor peasants were beyond helping. Building more schools or hospitals wouldn’t help them from their suffering (which Lida did). But in return Lida criticised the painter for not doing anything at all. While her mother was meek and indecisive (but weakly favoured Lida for unknown reasons), her sister Zhenya silently admired the painter and loved him. The painter in the end of the story also finally realised how he loved Zhenya, however, Zhenya and her mother was sent away to a faraway place by Lida so the painter would not see them again. The painter did nothing in the end, but willingly accept everything albeit of his love.Again, in the story, In the Ravine, a gory scene happened when a baby was died because of being poured boiling water by his mother’s sister in law. The mother (Lipa) was there and she was aware of her sister in law (Aksinya) action, and despite of Lipa’s physique which was described as possessing “large arms, just like a man’s” and resembling “two huge crab claws” she did nothing to prevent the maiming of her precious baby. What’s interesting in this case though, Paul Debreczeny in the introduction explained that this was probably “a didactic which amounts to satire on the Tolstoyan dictum ‘Resist not evil by force’ by showing that if you do not resist evil, it will simply triumph.” Although noted for its many-faceted interpretation I was struck by similarities between some his stories and my life stories. In one of my favourite stories in the book, My Life (A Provincial’s Story), Chekhov created Misail, a delinquent that is so relevant in today’s world. The son of a highly reputable man who refused to take up clerical and high position jobs, dismissing them as mental work and opt for physical work of painting and building houses reserved for lowly, uneducated people. I mean, who hasn’t experience or heard this kind of thing? If this isn’t happening to you it is happening to your friends: to reject office work to be stationed in the kitchen? Totally relevant. It is worth to note that in his darker stories, we can see Chekhov’s agnosticism (always picturing the futilities of God’s influence in human lives) and his lack of faith in doctors and medicines (his characters are always dying of sickness even though most of them received help from doctors—an irony considering Chekhov himself is a doctor), which also might be caused by his poor health (Chekhov died young because of tuberculosis). In his two last stories, which he wrote just before his death, there were always some fellas dying of sickness: in the story The Bishop, the bishop died because of Typhoid, and in The Bride, a man died because of Tuberculosis. What’s interesting, though, there is a passage which told the bride going away from her marriage which was probably what Chekhov was thinking about himself in the face of death:Only now did she realize that she was actually leaving—even when she had said goodbye to Grandmother and looked at her mother she still hadn’t believed it. Farewell, dear old town! Suddenly she remembered everything: Andrey, his father, the new house, the naked lady with the vase. None of these things frightened or oppressed her any more—it all seemed so mindless and trivial, and was receding further into the past. When they climbed into the carriage and the train moved off, all that past existence which had seemed so large, so serious, now dwindled into insignificance, and a vast, broad future opened out before her, a future she had hardly dreamt of… Suddenly she gasped for joy: she remembered that she was travelling to freedom…Chekhov was highlighting that life as we know it might be insignificant when we are faced with death. Following is another one of his fine quality passages to tell us, in a beautiful way, about death and the insignificance of life. A wonderful passage from The Lady with the Little Dog, another of my favourite story:In Oreanda they sat on a bench near the church and looked down at the sea without saying a word. Yalta was barely visible through the morning mist; white clouds lay motionless on the mountain tops. Not one leaf stirred on the trees, cicadas chirped, and the monotonous, hollow roar of the sea that reached them from below spoke of peace, of that eternal slumber that awaits us. And so it roared down below when neither Yalta nor Oreanda existed. It was roaring now and would continue its hollow, indifferent booming when we are no more. And in this permanency, in this utter indifference to the life and death of every one of us there perhaps lies hidden a pledge of our eternal salvation, of never-ceasing progress of life upon earth, of the never-ceasing march towards perfection. Passages like this (and many more others) create a great intimacy while reading Chekhov, as if we are talking to somebody who understands us. Although his stories don’t have any sense of finality in them, I felt connected with them. This might have to do with Chekhov’s approach to his art: When confronted with criticisms about his stories, Chekhov offered no apology and replied that the task of an artist is to provide questions and not to answer them. This is important. Because by posing questions—by offering pieces of puzzle for the readers to put together—Chekhov can reach everybody. Questions are universal while answers are personal. Putting up questions brings out answers from each one of us while putting up answers brings out rejection from some of us. This is why Chekhov moved so many people. This is the brilliance of this guy. So if you’ve been stalling Chekhov, there can’t be a better time to start than now. There is even a study that reading literary fiction like Chekhov might greatly improve your social skills (compared to reading popular fictions like Fifty Shades of Grey, for example).

  • Peter Pinkney
    2019-04-09 12:36

    What a great book! I only know Chekhov from his plays, and this is the first time that I have read his prose. I normally don't like short stories as I always feel slightly cheated. I never felt that once with these stories, and I loved everyone of them. They are stories, about real life, covering love, death, poverty, and the general struggle to survive. The writing is sparse, but still manages to convey so much of life and its meaning. Melancholy it may be, but there is also wry humour in there. I especially liked My Life and In The Ravine-heartbreaking, but, as the man himself said, all things must pass....

  • Rachel
    2019-04-19 15:39

    This was a short story collection starting with possibly the worst short story EVER. I would have been very tempted to abandon the volume altogether if I weren't both determined to continue and in despair over dropping yet another book unfinished. Fortunately (for me) the stories get progressively better, but I'm still confused about the strategy of starting with the worst story. Or indeed including it at all - much less naming the volume after it.(view spoiler)[1. The Lady with the DogSo this lady with a dog and this other dude visit Yalta on holiday and have an affair. They are both married (and thus reprehensible). The man is used to having affairs and has them on purpose to amuse himself, but he can't get this one chick out of his head, so he ends up following her back to her hometown. He sees her at the opera and they start hanging out again. They lament the difficulty of being together properly when they're both, you know, ALREADY MARRIED. Then it ENDS.This was the man I admired for that wonderful writing advice: 'If there are crossed pistols over the fireplace in the first scene, they must be discharged by the third scene.' Not only was there no discharging in this story, THERE WERE NO PISTOLS.Pretty description here, though:They walked and talked of the strange light on the sea: the water was of a soft warm lilac hue, and there was a golden streak from the moon upon it.2. A Doctor's VisitA doctor goes to visit the daughter and heir to a great industrialist who is suffering recurrent migraines. He ends up having to stay the night and during his stay he has a chat with the girl, decides her problem is that she's burdened by her riches, and tells her so. She agrees that she's caught an infection from the filthy lucre. Doctor goes home satisfied.3. An UpheavalA governess works in a house where the mistress loses a brooch and has all the servants searched. The governess resigns in indignation at such disrespect. Rather interesting conclusion, and the first story I kind-of liked.4. IonitchThis is where things started to look up. Ionitch is the story of another doctor who starts up a practice in a fairly provincial town. He starts visiting the Number One family who are apparently extremely talented at various things. The daughter of the family wants to be a great pianist. The doctor falls in love with her and proposes, but she turns him down in favour of going to study music in Moscow. A few years later she comes back chastened and willing to indulge his suit, but in the meantime he's lost interest. They all end up bored and unhappy. It's great!5. The Head of the FamilyThis is BRILLIANT. It's very short, possibly the shortest story in here, and recounts the standard exploits of one Zhilin on a typical morning when he has a hangover. It's such a normal scene and yet so laden with menace.6. The Black MonkVery intelligent guy, Kovrin, develops schizophrenia (by my diagnosis) and goes to stay with his old mentor and his daughter, who have an amazing garden. They grow both crops for sale and flowers for pleasure, but it's on such a huge scale they are completely obsessed by it. Kovrin ends up marrying Tanya mainly because his mentor wishes it so, but he brings nothing but misery on everyone due to the state of his illness.where pines grew with bare roots that looked like shaggy pawsAnother A+ description.7. VolodyaRussians sure are depressing. Volodya, a teenaged student, misses an exam in favour of trying - and failing - to seduce an older woman. His mother is an amazing character, I must say; in only one or two scenes Chekhov showed completely how responsible she was for how Volodya turned out.8. An Anonymous StoryThis was pretty amazing too - at least, the parts showing the conflict between Zinaida’s idealised version of Orlov and the reality are. The last few parts drag rather, and we have another pistol-less ending. Basically a ... revolutionary? Bolshevik? comrade takes a job as a butler to the son of a high-up in the government, hoping to uncover state secrets. (I'm assuming.) Instead, he gets pulled into the petty intrigues of a idle dilettante. Your everlasting attacks on female logic, lying, weakness and so on - doesn't it all look like a desire at all costs to force woman down into the mud that she may be on the same level as your attitude to her?Yay for Chekhov the feminist![...] a decent and orderly man's house ought, like a warship, to have nothing in it superfluous - no women, no children, no rags, no kitchen utensils.Except for how sailors without a few pots and pans or spoons might be both hungry and very messy.Overall, a decent reading experience! (hide spoiler)]

  • Matthew
    2019-04-13 18:36

    i haven't read Chekhov in a while, so perhaps I have forgotten the impression of his stories, but this short story collection feels like Chekhov at some of his most brutal and precise. These are essentially portraits -- besides the eopnymous Lady With the Little Dog and the much longer An Anonymous Story, most are very short, but a few pages, with not much character development or just a simple plot -- and provide a sketch of various characters in their social settings. They are all depressing -- not one of them has a happy ending, although it is arguable that in Lady With the Little Dog the characters do end up fulfilled in the sense that they are mutually and willingly locked into a relationship that is, nonetheless, likely to complicate their lives and cause them grief. All the stories here centre around love -- requited but most usually unrequited -- and Chekhov uses this plot device to explore class and social structure. I know very little Russian history but it strikes me now that late 19th century Russia must have been an extremely stratified and somewhat miserable place, income and class structures calcified, people conscious of but cynical of the need for change -- and thus ripe for the Bolshevik revolution of the early 20th. My favourite story is probably An Anonymous Story, not only because I prefer narrative but because the philosophical debate represented by the transparently disguised characters is very stirring to me. The narrator is a former navy lieutenant who is a closet revolutionary and takes a footman's position in the house of the son of an official, in order to discover more about the official through his son's conversations. But it is really about the relationship between the son -- also himself a wealthy bureaucrat -- with his mistress, and later, the lieutenant's relationship with the same woman. Yet, though the lady figures strongly, the foregoing plot (which ends with the lady's suicide in childbirth) ends up serving really as the subject for a philosophical discussion toward the end, between the two men. Both recognise the problems in their society but the bureaucrat is detached and cynical, though transparently (even honestly) so, while the latter is more compassionate but also has his own hidden (romantic) agenda. We learn that the idealist has in fact lost his idealism during the time spent as a footman; in the end like the bureaucrat (with whom he shares class and education) he recognises the futility of his idealism but determines still to live a life of compassion and kindness, rather than deliberate callousness. This, perhaps, is Chekhov's own answer to his times. It is unclear, though, that he thought this response was effective or even meaningful -- the idealist brings up the baby (which survived her mother's death), loving her gently, but after a few years he dies of illness, having arranged for her to be brought up on the beneficience of (who else) the official.

  • CatherineMustread
    2019-03-28 17:37

    Chekhov is a master of the short story and I thoroughly enjoyed the DailyLit.Com version* of this classic which contained nine stories, the best known being the title story but my favorites being the two shortest, The Head of the Family about a man who alternates between being tyrannical and guilty and The Husband  which has a great example of Chekhov's pithy character descriptions: "Among the husbands was Shalikov, the tax-collector--a narrow, spiteful soul, given to drink, with a big, closely cropped head, and thick, protruding lips."  DailyLit is a great way to read short stories online and this makes the 28th book I have finished through DailyLit since I joined in 2009.  Click here for my DailyLit profile.*See Status Updates for more about each story. Contents of this version are:The Lady with the DogA Doctor’s VisitAn UpheavalIonitchThe Head of the FamilyThe Black MonkVolodyaAn Anonymous StoryThe Husband

  • Mariam El hage
    2019-03-22 13:51

    In his stories Chekhov's shows us how our experience of life depends on our minds, more than on the reality of what happens around us, how any situation can be experienced differently according to how we feel and how we approach it at that time. This allows Chekov's stories to be both straightforward and insightful.I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but I think Chekhov is not for everyone. You have to be some kind of literally geek to really appreciate his work :)

  • Malak Alrashed
    2019-04-19 17:55

    *I read the book on Google books; I found two copies of the book and each has different collections of short stories by Anton Chekhov, so I chose several of each one..Each story has a very creative way of writing I loved them all Anton Chekhov is absolutely the best when it comes to short stories everyone who's staring a new book should read his works he knows how to write a little short story without ruining the meaning of it you will simply fall in love with his works.

  • latner3
    2019-04-07 13:50

    I loved the stories. Vladimir Nabokov thought "The Lady with the Little Dog" was one of the greatest short stories ever written and i agree sort of. But here is the dilemma. In 1960 Josef Heifitz made a film of this short story which left a more lasting impression on me than the reading of the story itself. The film for me was as good as the writing if not better.

  • Roshanak
    2019-04-18 11:39

    این اولین داستانی بود که از چخوف خوندماصلا باهاش حال نکردماز سبک داستان نویسی اش خوشم نیومدآخر هر داستان کوتاه این سوال برام پیش میاد که :خوب که چی ؟؟هدف از این داستا ن چی بودو جوابی پیدا نمیکنم

  • Trea
    2019-04-16 15:36

    I like the author, but not the main characters. Don't care to find out whatever happens to them.

  • Andrew Noselli
    2019-04-13 13:47

    Read on Project Gutenberg, which was only 100 pages. I might want to re-read this book, if not simply for the story of "The Black Monk."

  • Dave Morris
    2019-04-11 16:57

    At least one of the stories is among the most powerful fiction I've ever read in my life. The others are mere genius.

  • Jim Coughenour
    2019-04-12 11:33

    "Chekhov attracts a kind of sickening piety," writes the always acerbic Janet Malcolm in Reading Chekhov. "You utter the name 'Chekhov' and people arrange their features as if a baby deer had come into the room." I hope I'm not so cervine, but I probably am. I've been a desultory reader of Chekhov for decades, starting with the Constance Garnett translations, followed by the Pevear/Volokhonsky collection. Yet this recent Penguin Classic from Ronald Wilks is surprisingly fresh, capturing the rich range of tones in a way earlier translations have not. His translation of "My Life" starts with premonitory echoes of Saki, shifts into the wry, wise territory of Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilyich" then settles into the timbre that is inimitably Chekhov himself. "My Life" made my day.I'll append one example of what I mean. The P/V translation of "The Man in a Case" beginsAt the very edge of the village of Mironositskoe, in the headman Prokofy's shed, some belated hunters had settled down for the night.For all I know, this is an exact rendering of the Russian – but see how Wilks builds the sentence so that it's almost a perfect short story in itself:Two men who had come back very late from a hunting expedition had to spend the night in a barn belonging to Prokofy, the village elder, at the edge of Mironositskoye.Instead of starting with two mildly confusing subordinate clauses, Wilks puts the "two men" right at the top, and by the end of the sentence the scene is set. And what an improvement on "belated hunters"!This collection made me happy. I don't know if that's high praise or not, but I understand the sappy sentiments of all those Chekhov lovers. In his quickly-written comic sad deeply humane stories, he dashed off a style of perfection unmatched by any other writer ever.

  • Simon
    2019-04-13 13:33

    My first volume of Chekhov short stories and I liked it a lot. Chekhov really manages to pull you in instantly without any effort, where in other short stories the beginnings wear on you. I can see why he is regarded as a master of the short story now. Too bad there was such a long, unsactisfactory story in it though. Also, I can't help but wonder why so many of his characters are resigned, play vint (cards) and gamble, and drink too much vodka. Also, almost every marriage is unhappy, because people fall out of love. Let's see if that pattern continues with Chekhov. Otherwise each story is fresh and unique though, and full of ideas.The Lady with the dog - 4/5.A doctor's visit - 3/5.An Upheaval - */5. hard to rate, very short. liked it though.Ionitch - 5/5. wow. this one has it all. i have my own review for this story: Head of the Family - */5. see An Upheaval. Excellent image of a choleric father.The Black Monk - 4/5. Interesting case of mental illness and genius, but a bit too unconcise I feel.Volodya - */5. it is really refreshing to have these short short stories in between.An Anonymous Story - 2/5. Too long, doesn't feel like a Chekhov story. Some nice ideas, but spread too thin, and too many characters.The Husband - 5/5. Perfect miniature.

  • Nikoline
    2019-03-23 11:54

    I did not read all of the stories in The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 by Anton Chekhov because this copy has different stories in it than the copy I own. I chose this copy, however, because I could not find one for my very old, Danish one, and this version came very close to my own. This first paper I ever wrote in the university was about Chekhov's The Student, and by that time I had not yet had the chance to read any of this stories. As I wrote the paper, I fell for this message rather than the story, and I think perhaps this is also why I only gave The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 two stars: I did not really like his stories, of course some more than others. I think the reason for this is that I did not analyse these short stories as I had to with The Student. Anyway, I really liked his The Lady With the Little Dog because that was the only short story that came natural to me with its message.

  • Mike Goldstein
    2019-04-17 15:34

    OK, gotta be honest here. I'm giving four stars to a book I didn't even finish. These stories are bleak. Every single one is about vague dissatisfaction. Every character is so far from being fulfilled that they don't even have an idea of what that would look like. Most of the stories involve middle aged men creeping on women half their age, too. I've been going through some things lately, and this just felt like an extra weight on my back. Honestly.But with all that said, the writing is obviously, objectively wonderful. The sentiments are real and affecting, clearly, and Chekhov's description of brutal poverty is captivating, more so than his middle class ennui. Just maybe intersperse your reading with some cheerier material.EDIT: Adjusting my ratings scale. Down to 3 stars. Sorry Anton.

  • Paul
    2019-03-23 18:38

    This compilation of Chekhov's short stories display the brilliance, as well as the frustration, of his writings. While there is no doubt that Chekhov creates short stories extremely well, they outline the society that he lives in - the boredom and frustration of pre-revolution Russian life. Some stories are extremely bland, which was the point of Chekhov's writing. However, within the blandness comes the fable-esque story of 'Man in the Case', and the disturbing effects of poverty in 'In the Ravine', to the charming and consequential beauty of 'House with the Mezzanine' and the titular story. The only story that seems out of place is 'My Life'.

  • Anne
    2019-03-31 11:34

    I have only read The Lady With the Lapdog but I would surely love to try Anton Chekhov's other stories. After reading this magnificent piece of work, I have decided I have to finish his other works. I love his writing style - it was easy to understand, seemingly simple and yet quite great in depth. I am not supposed to be reading an adulterous love affair, and yet he was able to present this fact as though it were the sole conflict and dilemma all throughout the story. The emotions of Gustave were described very vividly, without the use of unnecessary words. This might be a little long for an average short story, but it is worth reading again and again.

  • Hannah Cliff
    2019-04-09 11:35

    I have only read the Lady with the little dog from this. I'm on my second reading of it. My first was in English and now I am reading it (much more slowly as I am only a second year Russian student) in Russian. It is perfection in its subtle complexity, as a reader make sure to relish the apparent trivialities because not a single phrase is wasted in this novella about an adulterous affair. The character building in so few words is masterful and it is easy to see why this is considered a classic. This is, a sit down on a chilly spring morning with a cosy jumper, a playful mind and and cup of tea as you while away the time, kind of story.