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Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on January 29th in the year 1860, in the small seaport of Taganrog, Ukraine. He is regarded as one of Russia’s most cherished story tellers. He has produced some hilarious one-acts, but his tragic stories have gained him the name of being one of the major dramatists. Today, he is remembered as a playwright and one of the masters of the modern short story. He was the grandson of a serf and the son of a grocer, whose religious fanaticism caused much of his early years to reside under its shadow. While he was doing medicine in the University of Moscow, he began writing short stories. After graduating in 1884, he worked as a freelance writer and journalist related to comics. He used the money gathered from it to support himself and his family, and by 1886, he had gained wide fame as a writer. Chekhov’s works were published in various St. Petersburg papers, including Peterburskaia Gazeta in 1885, and Novoe Vremia in 1886. The Shooting Party published by him was translated into English in 1926.

In the early part of his career, he mastered the art of one-act and produced some fine pieces. In 1888, he wrote a story, The Bear, in which a creditor pursues a young widow, but later proposes marriage to her after being impressed that she’s agreed to fight a duel with him. In 1889, he wrote The Wedding, which also has a very nice story attached to it, and became an instant hit amongst his fans.

In 1886, he began contributing regularly to St. Petersburg daily Novoe Vremia and that was when he developed the style of calm writing. He was criticized by his opponents because his story lacked social commentary, but at the same time, he was praised by authors such as Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Leskov.

In 1888, Chekhov was rewarded the Pushkin Prize and the very next year, he was elected a member of the Society of Lovers of Russian Literature.  He withdrew from Literature and turned to Science for a while when his play, The Wood Demon failed in 1889. As a part of his doctoral research, he made a trip to the penal colony of Sakhalin, north of Siberia, where he surveyed 10,000 convicts sentenced to life on the island. During the latter half of the year, he traveled all over the word, including places as South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Middle East.

In 1901, Chekhov finally married an actress, Olga Knipper, who had performed in his plays.  On July 15, 1904, in Badenweiler, Germany, Chekhov died. He is buried in the cemetery of the Novodeviche Monastery in Moscow.

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