Best of Russian Life: Biographies

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The effects of tuberculosis caused his health to decline over several years, and, some six months after The Cherry Orchard was first performed in Moscow January 17, , Chekhov died of the disease. He compelled his son to serve in his shop, also conscripting him into a church choir, which he himself conducted.

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Despite the kindness of his mother, childhood remained a painful memory to Chekhov, although it later proved to be a vivid and absorbing experience that he often invoked in his works. After briefly attending a local school for Greek boys, Chekhov entered the town gimnaziya high school , where he remained for 10 years. There he received the best standard education then available—thorough but unimaginative and based on the Greek and Latin classics. During his last three years at school Chekhov lived alone and supported himself by coaching younger boys; his father, having gone bankrupt, had moved with the rest of his family to Moscow to make a fresh start.

In the autumn of Chekhov joined his family in Moscow, which was to be his main base until By that time he was already the economic mainstay of his family, for his father could obtain only poorly paid employment. As unofficial head of the family Anton showed great reserves of responsibility and energy, cheerfully supporting his mother and the younger children through his freelance earnings as a journalist and writer of comic sketches—work that he combined with arduous medical studies and a busy social life.

Chekhov began his writing career as the author of anecdotes for humorous journals, signing his early work pseudonymously. And he had, in the process, turned the short comic sketch of about 1, words into a minor art form. He had also experimented in serious writing, providing studies of human misery and despair strangely at variance with the frenzied facetiousness of his comic work.

Gradually that serious vein absorbed him and soon predominated over the comic. Petersburg , each successive vehicle being more serious and respected than its predecessor. Although the year first saw Chekhov concentrating almost exclusively on short stories that were serious in conception , humour—now underlying—nearly always remained an important ingredient.

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There was also a concentration on quality at the expense of quantity, the number of publications dropping suddenly from over a hundred items a year in the peak years and to only 10 short stories in The ingenuity and insight displayed in that tour de force was especially remarkable, coming from an author so young. They explore the experiences of the mentally or physically ill in a spirit that reminds one that the author was himself a qualified—and remained a sporadically practicing—doctor.

By the late s many critics had begun to reprimand Chekhov, now that he was sufficiently well known to attract their attention, for holding no firm political and social views and for failing to endow his works with a sense of direction.

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Such expectations irked Chekhov, who was unpolitical and philosophically uncommitted. In early he suddenly sought relief from the irritations of urban intellectual life by undertaking a one-man sociological expedition to a remote island, Sakhalin.

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Situated nearly 6, miles 9, km east of Moscow, on the other side of Siberia , it was notorious as an imperial Russian penal settlement. After arriving unscathed, studying local conditions, and conducting a census of the islanders, he returned to publish his findings as a research thesis, which attained an honoured place in the annals of Russian penology: The Island of Sakhalin — Chekhov paid his first visit to western Europe in the company of A.

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Eventually Chekhov broke with Suvorin over the attitude taken by the paper toward the notorious Alfred Dreyfus affair in France, with Chekhov championing Dreyfus. During the years just before and after his Sakhalin expedition, Chekhov had continued his experiments as a dramatist. Vladimir Putin gifted President Donald Trump an Adidas soccer ball to celebrate the World Cup, held in Russia, which had markings indicating it had a chip that allows fans to access mobile content and could theoretically be programmed to initiate an attack on nearby phones.

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