Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (January 29 [O.S. January 17] 1860 – July 15 [O.S. July 2] 1904) (Russian: Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов, was a Russian short-story writer and playwright, considered to be one of the greatest short story writers in world literature. His playwriting career produced four classics: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard; and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practised as a doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife," he once said, "and literature is my mistress."
Chekhov renounced the theatre after the disastrous reception of The Seagull in 1896; but the play was revived to acclaim by Konstantin Stanislavsky's Moscow Art Theatre, which subsequently also produced Uncle Vanya and premiered Chekhov’s last two plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. These four works present a special challenge to the acting ensemble as well as to audiences, because in place of conventional action Chekhov offers a "theatre of mood" and a "submerged life in the text."
Chekhov had at first written stories only for the money, but as his artistic ambition grew, he made formal innovations which have influenced the evolution of the modern short story. His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later adopted by Virginia Woolf and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure. He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.
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