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Anton Chekhov

author of short stories and playwright

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in Taganrog, Russia, on January 29, 1860, the son of a grocer. After his father fled Taganrog in 1875 because of bankruptcy, his family was kicked out of their house. In 1879, Chekhov rejoined his family in Moscow, where he enrolled at the University to study medicine.

To supplement the meager income provided by his medical practice, Chekhov began contributing humorous articles to minor magazines under the pen name of Antosha Chekhonte in 1880. By 1882, he was a regular contributor of short stories and sketches to the St. Petersburg humorous journal Oskolki; he also wrote a regular column on Moscow life. By 1886, he had become known as a writer and decided to devote himself full time to pursuing a literary career.

Chekhov's stories concentrate on average men and women who cannot seem to understand each other and become lonely. His best-known stories include:
The Steppe
(1888) [won the Pushkin Prize]
The Party (1888)
The Duel (1891)
Ward No. 6 (1892)
The Darling (1898)

Chekhov's plays have little dramatic action and no real heroes and heroines. Like the people in his stories, the characters in his plays find existence difficult and rather meaningless because they fail to understand each other in their search for a purpose in life. His most famous plays include:
Ivanov (1887)
The Wood Demon (1888)
The Bear (1888)
The Wedding (1889)
The Sea Gull (1896)
Uncle Vanya (1898)
The Three Sisters (1901)
The Cherry Orchard (1904)

All of Chekhov's plays were originally produced and performed by the Moscow Art Theatre.

In addition to the above, Chekhov also wrote The Island of Sakhalin (1893-1894), a report on his visit to a penal colony in 1890.

Chekhov spent his later years living in the Crimea, where he had gone for his health. He died of tuberculosis at the German spa of Badenweiler, on July 14, 1904, and was buried in Novodevichy Cemetery, in Moscow.

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This page was last updated on 07/11/2018.