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The Cambridge Introduction to Chekhov

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Part of Cambridge Introductions to Literature

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  • Chekhov is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential literary figures of modern times. Russia's preeminent playwright, he played a significant role in revolutionizing the modern theatre. His impact on prose fiction writing is incalculable: he helped define the modern short story. Beginning with an engaging account of Chekhov's life and cultural context in nineteenth-century Russia, this book introduces the reader to this fascinating and complex personality. Unlike much criticism of Chekhov, it includes detailed discussions of both his fiction and his plays. The Introduction traces his concise, impressionistic prose style from early comic sketches to mature works such as ‘Ward No. 6' and ‘In the Ravine'. Examining Chekhov's development as a dramatist, the book considers his one-act vaudevilles and early works, while providing a detailed, act-by-act analysis of the masterpieces on which his reputation rests: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

    • Provides a clear account of Chekhov's life and the cultural and historical context of his works, making these complex and often difficult works much more accessible
    • Covers both Chekhov's fiction and his drama, demonstrating how he was a leading figure in both fields equally - other Chekhov criticism tends to focus mainly on his plays and so gives an incomplete picture of the writer
    • Includes detailed discussions of all of Chekhov's most important works, guiding the reader episode by episode or scene by scene through Chekhov's masterpieces of the short story and the drama
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "James N. Loehlin’s book offers the undergraduate student an expert analysis of Anton Chekhov’s prose works and drama in their literary-historical context … This highly recommended book encourages the reader to appreciate Chekhov’s unquestioned mastery of both drama and fiction … Loehlin explores adroitly Chekhov’s humane if unsentimental vision, which combines comedy, dark humor, despair, skepticism, irony, and a "yearning for the transcendent". The book’s annotated bibliography guides students in pursuing further research into Chekhov’s works."
    William M. Hawley, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2010
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511911545
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Chronology
    1. Life
    2. Chekhov in context
    3. Early stories
    4. Early plays
    5. Later stories
    6. Later plays
    7. Reception
    Guide to further reading.

  • Author

    James N. Loehlin, University of Texas, Austin
    James N. Loehlin is Shakespeare at Winedale Regents Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard in the Cambridge Plays in Production series, and the editor of Romeo and Juliet in the Cambridge Shakespeare in Production series. He has also written books on Shakespeare's Henry V, and Henry IV, Parts I and II. He has directed, acted in, or supervised productions of all Chekhov's major plays, as well as twenty-five of Shakespeare's plays.

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