Download e-book for kindle: Anton Chekhov by Laurence Senelick (auth.)

By Laurence Senelick (auth.)

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In letters to would-be dramatists, Chekhov continually came back to the need to see and understand how plays worked in the theatre. He was reluctantly compelled to reject Bjfl)rnstjerne Bjfl)rnson's spiritual drama Beyond Human Power, whieh he found moving and intelligent, because 'it won't do for the stage, because it can't be played, there's no action, no living characters, no dramatie interest' (To Suvorin, 20 June 1896). ) However, no cohesive theory of drama is to be cobbled together from Chekhov's voluminous correspondence.

Like Platonov, his past is nobler than his present; his projects for serving the people, rational farming, higher education have eva porated. But Chekhov wanted to get away from the apotheosis of this disillusionment, by then astale treatment, to an examination by the character hirnself of the reasons for his empty life and contemptible behaviour. Ivanov was to suffer through his own awareness of was ted potential and vestigial honour. A basic dramatic problem was to keep the audience from idealising Ivanov's pessimism and, at the same time, to keep Ivanov from looking like the immoralist that Doctor Lvov makes hirn out to be.

His first experiments with a 'long short story' were The Futile Victory (1882), a spoof of the popular Hungarian romancer M6r J6kai, and A 31 AnIon Chekhov Hunting Drama (1884), a detective story in the style of Gaboriau. If Plalonov is meant as parody, that would save it from being a failed attempt at a society melodrama in the style of Shpazhinsky or Dyachenko. Then again, it may not be a case of either/or: the immature dramatist was unsure of the direction to take. He may have seriously intended to explore certain social issues, but was ineluctably drawn to the comic side of things.

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