The Comic Stories by Anton Chekhov

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By 1888, when he was just twenty-eight, Chekhov had published a staggering 528 stories, about half of them comic. Unpretentious, lively, and inventive, these comic stories have long been affectionately regarded in Russia, but publishers in the West, overawed by the prevailing image of Chekhov as a melancholy genius, have resisted the down-to-earth humorist. This collection is the first substantial volume in English devoted solely to the comic stories. The forty stories here reveal the full range of Chekhov’s comic mastery: simple sketches, almost like verbal cartoons; outrageous parodies and stories with a comic twist; satirical and subversive pieces that foreshadow the anti-authoritarian attitudes of his later work; and excursions into the absurd that hint of his later stage dialogue. In these early comic stories Chekhov found himself as an artist. Readers unfamiliar with them may miss the countless touches of humor in the later and more famous plays and stories. Tolstoy, who disliked Chekhov’s plays, was reduced to helpless fits of laughter by his comic stories. They have a sense of fun and infectious good humor.

About Anton Chekhov

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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in Taganrog, Ukraine in 1860. First published in the eighteen-eighties, he was a celebrated figure in Russia by the time of his death in 1904, but he remained relatively unknown internationally until the years after World War I, when his works were translated into English. His essays, plays, poetry, and short fiction have been translated into countless languages and he is remembered today as a master of the modern short story. Arthur Rimbaud, born in 1854 in Charleville, France, is hailed as the father of Symbolism. His most famous works of poetry include The Drunken Boat and A Season in Hell. He died in 1891.Paul Schmidt was, in addition to a translator, a playwright, actor, and author of two books of poetry.
Published February 23, 1999 by Ivan R. Dee. 226 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Anton Chekhov began writing comic sketches for newspapers when he was in school, continuing this practice for years to help support his family. Many of those short comic works were humorous variations

Feb 22 1999 | Read Full Review of The Comic Stories

Publishers Weekly

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Pitcher closes the collection with two of Chekhov's better-known, later stories, ""The Darling"" and ""Encased,"" connecting these tragicomic tales with Chekhov's humorous forms.

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