Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian short story
writer and a playwright. His playwriting career produced four
classics, while his best short stories are held in high esteem by
writers and critics. Chekhov practiced 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 Constantin Stanislavski'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." His originality consists in an early use of the
stream-of-consciousness technique combined with a disavowal of the
moral finality of traditional story structure.
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