The Major Plays
Ivanov * The Sea Gull * Uncle Vanya * The Three Sisters * The Cherry Orchard
“Let the things that happen onstage be just as complex and yet just as simple as they are in life,” Chekhov once declared. “For instance, people are having a meal, just having a meal, but at the same time, their happiness is being created, or their lives are being smashed up.” So it is that his plays express life through subtle construction, everyday dialogue, and an electrically charged atmosphere in which even the most casual words and actions assume great importance in his characters’ lives. This principle sets his plays apart from the rest, steering them clear of melodrama, and draws the audience into the lives of Chekhov’s colorful characters. Because of his adherence to realism, the playwright has been called an “incomparable artist of life.”*
“What makes his work great is that it can be felt and understood not only by any Russian but by anybody in the world.”—*Leo Tolstoy
With a Foreword by Robert Brustein and an Afterword by Rosamund Bartlett
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Chekhov’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the plays and other texts
* ALL 15 plays, each with individual contents tables
* Rare plays like PLATONOV and THE WOOD DEMON appearing here for the first time digital publishing
* Excellent formatting of the texts
* The complete short stories – over 210 tales, first time available complete in English
* Special chronological and alphabetical contents tables for the short stories
* Easily locate the short stories you want to read
* Chekhov’s only novel THE SHOOTING PARTY, available in no other collection
* Also features rare novellas
* Includes Chekhov’s letters and notebooks - spend hours exploring the author’s personal correspondence and thoughts
* Features a bonus biography - discover Chekhov’s literary life
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
* UPDATED with revised texts, introductions and more images
Please note: there are no translations of THE ISLAND OF SAKHALIN available in the public domain. Once a translation becomes available, it will be added to the eBook as a free update.
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ON THE HIGH ROAD
ON THE HARMFULNESS OF TOBACCO
A RELUCTANT HERO
THE WOOD DEMON
THE THREE SISTERS
THE CHERRY ORCHARD
THE SHOOTING PARTY
The Short Stories
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SHORT STORIES
ALPHABETICAL LIST OF SHORT STORIES
AN ANONYMOUS STORY
LETTERS OF ANTON CHEKHOV TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS
NOTE-BOOK OF ANTON CHEKHOV
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH by Constance Garnett
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Considered the greatest short story writer, Anton Chekhov changed the genre itself with his spare, impressionistic depictions of Russian life and the human condition. From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as “The Huntsman” and the tour de force “A Boring Story,” to his best-known stories such as “The Lady with the Little Dog” and his own personal favorite, “The Student,” Chekhov’s short fiction possesses the transcendent power of art to awe and change the reader. This monumental edition, expertly translated, is especially faithful to the meaning of Chekhov’s prose and the unique rhythms of his writing, giving readers an authentic sense of his style and a true understanding of his greatness.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Aanton Chekhov, widely hailed as the supreme master of the short story, also wrote five works long enough to be called short novels–here brought together in one volume for the first time, in a masterly new translation by the award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
The Steppe–the most lyrical of the five–is an account of a nine-year-old boy’s frightening journey by wagon train across the steppe of southern Russia. The Duel sets two decadent figures–a fanatical rationalist and a man of literary sensibility–on a collision course that ends in a series of surprising reversals. In The Story of an Unknown Man, a political radical spying on an important official by serving as valet to his son gradually discovers that his own terminal illness has changed his long-held priorities in startling ways. Three Years recounts a complex series of ironies in the personal life of a rich but passive Moscow merchant. In My Life, a man renounces wealth and social position for a life of manual labor.
The resulting conflict between the moral simplicity of his ideals and the complex realities of human nature culminates in a brief apocalyptic vision that is unique in Chekhov’s work.
After a fortnight in Yalta, Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov has grown tired of the seaside. He is looking for a more interesting way to pass his vacation when a woman with a Pomeranian catches his eye. Gurov loathes his wife, and has spent his marriage chasing women, even though the affairs always end in disappointment. But Anna Sergeyevna will be different. For the first time in his life, Gurov will know love—and he will find it a very harsh mistress.
Widely recognized as one of literature’s sharpest observers of human nature, Anton Chekhov has influenced generations of writers. Including such heartbreaking gems as “A Doctor’s Visit,” “The Head of the Family,” and “The Black Monk,” this sparkling collection showcases a brilliant craftsman at the top of his form.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
Set on an estate in nineteenth-century Russia, this deeply emotional tale of misplaced idealism and unrequited love concerns the complex interrelationships between a retired professor, his second wife, and his brother-in-law and daughter from a previous marriage. In deceptively mundane dialogue, the characters reveal their private tragedies — weakness and inability to communicate — the failures that lead them to lives of frustration and despair. Nevertheless, Chekhov's delineation of human frailties elicits sympathy for even the most irresolute and deluded characters, and the play's underlying message is one of courage and hope.
Essential reading for any course in modern theater, this absorbing play continues to be popular. Students, theatergoers, and all lovers of great drama will appreciate this inexpensive edition of a masterpiece.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Oh my lovely childhood. Waking up to happiness, looking out at blossom and trees and there they are - the same trees, the same blossom - after cruel winter, warmth and light and feeling!
In his masterpiece The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov maintains an exquisite balance between elegiac celebration of the romance of the past, as embodied in the cherry orchard in full bloom, and the awesome prescience of what is so soon to overwhelm Russia - revolution. The themes are majestic, and yet at the centre of the play is Ranévskaya, a tragic woman who lacks adroitness for survival in a changing world but who has one asset: a capacity for love. It is her solution - and Chekhov's.
This new version of The Cherry Orchard by Pam Gems opened at the Crucible, Sheffield in March 2007.
IT was approaching nightfall. The sexton, Savely Gykin, was lying in his huge bed in the hut adjoining the church. He was not asleep, though it was his habit to go to sleep at the same time as the hens. His coarse red hair peeped from under one end of the greasy patchwork quilt, made up of coloured rags, while his big unwashed feet stuck out from the other. He was listening. His hut adjoined the wall that encircled the church and the solitary window in it looked out upon the open country. And out there a regular battle was going on. It was hard to say who was being wiped off the face of the earth, and for the sake of whose destruction nature was being churned up into such a ferment; but, judging from the unceasing malignant roar, someone was getting it very hot. A victorious force was in full chase over the fields, storming in the forest and on the church roof, battering spitefully with its fists upon the windows, raging and tearing, while something vanquished was howling and wailing.... A plaintive lament sobbed at the window, on the roof, or in the stove. It sounded not like a call for help, but like a cry of misery, a consciousness that it was too late, that there was no salvation. The snowdrifts were covered with a thin coating of ice; tears quivered on them and on the trees; a dark slush of mud and melting snow flowed along the roads and paths. In short, it was thawing, but through the dark night the heavens failed to see it, and flung flakes of fresh snow upon the melting earth at a terrific rate. And the wind staggered like a drunkard. It would not let the snow settle on the ground, and whirled it round in the darkness at random.
Savely listened to all this din and frowned. The fact was that he knew, or at any rate suspected, what all this racket outside the window was tending to and whose handiwork it was.
"I know!" he muttered, shaking his finger menacingly under the bedclothes; "I know all about it."
On a stool by the window sat the sexton's wife, Raissa Nilovna. A tin lamp standing on another stool, as though timid and distrustful of its powers, shed a dim and flickering light on her broad shoulders, on the handsome, tempting-looking contours of her person, and on her thick plait, which reached to the floor. She was making sacks out of coarse hempen stuff. Her hands moved nimbly, while her whole body, her eyes, her eyebrows, her full lips, her white neck were as still as though they were asleep, absorbed in the monotonous, mechanical toil. Only from time to time she raised her head to rest her weary neck, glanced for a moment towards the window, beyond which the snowstorm was raging, and bent again over her sacking. No desire, no joy, no grief, nothing was expressed by her handsome face with its turned-up nose and its dimples. So a beautiful fountain expresses nothing when it is not playing.
But at last she had finished a sack. She flung it aside, and, stretching luxuriously, rested her motionless, lack-lustre eyes on the window. The panes were swimming with drops like tears, and white with short-lived snowflakes which fell on the window, glanced at Raissa, and melted....
"Come to bed!" growled the sexton. Raissa remained mute. But suddenly her eyelashes flickered and there was a gleam of attention in her eye. Savely, all the time watching her expression from under the quilt, put out his head and asked:
"What is it?"
"Nothing.... I fancy someone's coming," she answered quietly.
The sexton flung the quilt off with his arms and legs, knelt up in bed, and looked blankly at his wife. The timid light of the lamp illuminated his hirsute, pock-marked countenance and glided over his rough matted hair.
"Do you hear?" asked his wife.
Through the monotonous roar of the storm he caught a scarcely audible thin and jingling monotone like the shrill note of a gnat when it wants to settle on one's cheek and is angry at being prevented.
"It's the post," muttered Savely, squatting on his heels.
In this powerful play, a landmark of modern drama, Chekhov masterfully interweaves character and theme in subtle ways that make the work's climax seem as inevitable as it is deeply moving. It is reprinted here from a standard text with updated transliteration of character names and additional explanatory footnotes.
Chekhov's taste for vaudeville shows and French farces influenced his comic one-acts, which are widely regarded as masterpieces of the genre. His greatest fame rests upon his full-length tragedies, which focus on mood and characterization rather than plot. Chekhov considered his famous tragedies a form of comic satire—with the bleakness of life in czarist Russia at the turn of the twentieth century as their central joke. "All I wanted was to say honestly to people: 'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!'" explained the playwright. In addition to their enduring emotional and intellectual appeal to audiences, Chekhov's modern realist dramas continue to influence theatrical literature and performance.
In Anton Chekhov’s The Duel the escalating animosity between two men with opposed philosophies of life is played out against the backdrop of a seedy resort on the Black Sea coast.
Laevsky is a dissipated romantic given to gambling and flirtation; he has run off with another man’s wife, the beautiful but vapid Nadya, and now finds himself tiring of her. The scientist von Koren is contemptuous of Laevsky; as a fanatical devotee of Darwin, von Koren believes the other man to be unworthy of survival and is further enraged by his treatment of Nadya. As the confrontation between the two becomes increasingly heated, it leads to a duel that is as comically inadvertent as it is inevitable. Masterfully translated by the award-winnning Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Duel is one of the most subtle examples of Chekhov’s narrative art.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The play also functions as a magnificent showcase for Chekhov's acute observations of his characters' foibles and for quizzical ruminations on the approaching dissolution of the world of the Russian aristocracy and life as it was lived on their great country estates. While the subject and the characters of the work are, in a sense, timeless, the dramatic technique of the play was a Chekhovian innovation. In this and other plays he developed the concept of "indirect action," in which the dramatic action takes place off stage and the significance of the play revolves around the reactions of the characters to those unseen events.
Reprinted from a standard edition, this inexpensive well-made volume invites any lover of theater or great literature to enter the world of Madame Ranevsky, Anya, Gayef, Lopakhin, Firs, and the other memorable characters whose hopes, fears, loves, and general humanity are so brilliantly depicted in this landmark of world drama.
Included are "The Black Monk" (1894), "The House with the Mezzanine" (1896), "The Peasants" (1897), "Gooseberries" (1898), and "The Lady with the Toy Dog" (1899). In these incisive tales, readers will discover a master of character, nuance, and setting developing the basic themes of his oeuvre: the sociological and psychological obstacles in the way of human affection and satisfactory development of the personality.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this and other plays, Chekhov pioneered a new form, Impressionistic Realism, concerned not so much with plot, but with character. Rather than focusing upon action or external drama, Chekhov brings out the inner experiences and reactions of Konstantin and the others. Inspired by a real-life incident, Chekhov uses the death of the sea gull to symbolize the ruined hopes and dreams of all his characters. The Sea Gull is a tragic masterpiece universally hailed as a seminal play, a prototype of 20th-century drama.
The Anniversary takes a lively look behind the frenetic scenes at a bank: a man overburdened with errands from friends and family gives a nearly maddened but ludicrous account of his chores and obligations in An Unwilling Martyr; and The Wedding depicts scenes from a wedding reception in which the mother of the bride assumes affected airs and deals with quarrelsome guests. In The Bear, a virtuous, spirited widow is pressed to repay a debt and ends up receiving an offer of marriage. The Proposal depicts the trauma of a would-be suitor who winds up in a wrangle over property.
Theater lovers, students of drama and literature, and other readers, as well as amateur and professional groups performing these popular works, will welcome this convenient, inexpensive collection of comic gems by one of the masters of modern drama.
There have always been two versions of Chekhov’s heartrending and humorous masterwork: the one with which we are all familiar, staged by Konstatine Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1904, and the one Chekhov had originally envisioned. Now, for the first time, both are available and published here in a single volume in translations by the renowned playwright Richard Nelson and Richard Peavar and Larissa Volokhonsky, the foremost contemporary translators of classic Russian literature. Shedding new light on this most revered play, the translators reconstructed the script Chekhov first submitted and all of the changes he made prior to rehearsal. The result is a major event in the publishing of Chekhov’s canon.
Richard Nelson's many plays include Rodney's Wife, Goodnight Children Everywhere, Drama Desk-nominated Franny's Way and Some Americans Abroad, Tony Award-nominated Two Shakespearean Actors and James Joyce's The Dead (with Shaun Davey), for which he won a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and the critically acclaimed, searing play cycle, The Apple Family Plays.
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced acclaimed translations of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, and Mikhail Bulgakov. Their translations of The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina won the 1991 and 2002 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prizes. Pevvear, a native of Boston, and Volokhonsjky, of St. Petersburg, are married to each other and live in Paris.
This is a drama of a Russian landowner's half-farcical, half serious personal crisis as he plummets fast into domestic and philosophical chaos. The central scene concerns a debate between the landowner and the young doctor about honesty. The latter thinks that honesty is to do with blurting out offensive truths, whilst the former insists that no-one can acquire honesty unless they have the self knowledge to examine their own motives. By turns despairing and passionate, this play offers an insight into a robust young writer, exploring themes that were to interest him in his later plays.
In Chekhov's tragi-comedy - arguably his most popular play - the Gayev family is torn by powerful forces deeply rooted in history and the society in which they live. Their estate is hopelessly in debt. Urged to cut down their beautiful cherry orchard and sell the land for holiday cottages, the family struggles to act decisively.
Vigorous and profound, this new version of Chekhov's classic play by Olivier award-winner Simon Stephens, from a literal translation by Helen Rappaport, is an anguished and heartbreaking love letter to a society in violent transition. It received its world premiere at the Young Vic, London, on 10 October 2014.
The Major Plays: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, & The Cherry Orchard
This volume offers lively and accurate translations of Chekhov's major plays and one-acts (complete contents listed below) along with a superb Introduction focused on the plays' remarkably enduring power to elicit the most widely divergent of responses, the life of the playwright in its historical and aesthetic contexts, suggestions for reading the plays "under a microscope," and notes designed to bring Chekhov's world into immediate focus--everything needed to examine his drama with fresh eyes and on its own artistic terms.
Washington Square Press' Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of Pygmalion includes the analysis of Eric Bentley from his book Bernard Shaw. Essential biographical and historical background is provided, together with notes, critical excerpts, and suggestions for further reading. A unique visual essay of period illustrations and photographs helps bring the play to life.
But daring social themes are only one aspect of Ibsen's power as a dramatist. A Doll's House shows as well his gifts for creating realistic dialogue, a suspenseful flow of events and, above all, psychologically penetrating characterizations that make the struggles of his dramatic personages utterly convincing. Here is a deeply absorbing play as readable as it is eminently playable, reprinted from an authoritative translation.
A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
"It is murderous social satire, done in terms of the most hair-raising melodrama," wrote Alexander Woolcott in his 1922 review of the first U.S. performance of this universally admired play. Heywood Broun wrote, "Čapek is potentially one of the great men in the modern drama. He has devised a scene at the end of the third act as awesome as anything we have ever seen in the theatre." This is the scene in which one of the last remaining humans, knowing himself and his species to be doomed, muses: "It was a great thing to be a man. There was something immense about it."
Ibsen's Hedda is an aristocratic and spiritually hollow woman, nearly devoid of redeeming virtues. George Bernard Shaw described her as having "no conscience, no conviction … she remains mean, envious, insolent, cruel, in protest against others' happiness." Her feeling of anger and jealousy toward a former schoolmate and her ruthless manipulation of her husband and an earlier admirer lead her down a destructive path that ends abruptly with her own tragic demise.
Presented in this handsome, inexpensive edition, Hedda Gabler offers an unforgettable experience for any lover of great drama or fine literature. Among the most performed and studied of Ibsen's dramas, it continues to provoke and challenge audiences and readers all over the world.
Among them: What is the Ghost—Hamlet’s father demanding justice, a tempting demon, an angelic messenger? Does Hamlet go mad, or merely pretend to? Once he is sure that Claudius is a murderer, why does he not act? Was his mother, Gertrude, unfaithful to her husband or complicit in his murder?
The authoritative edition of Hamlet from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-The exact text of the printed book for easy cross-reference
-Hundreds of hypertext links for instant navigation
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Newly revised explanatory notes conveniently linked to the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Michael Neill
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
Romantic folly and false identites abound as an unusual love triangle takes the stage in this play about Orsino, the infatuated Duke of Illyria; Olivia, the countess he pursues; and Viola, the woman disguised as a man who comes between them.
This revised Signet Classics edition includes unique features such as:
• An overview of Shakespeare's life, world, and theater
• A special introduction to the play by the editor, Herschel Baker
• Selections from Barnabe Rich, Of Apolonius and Silla, the source from which Shakespeare derived Twelfth Night
• Dramatic criticism from Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, and others
• A comprehensive stage and screen history of notable actors, directors, and productions
• Text, notes, and commentaries printed in the clearest, most readable text
• And more...
In Deathwatch, two convicts try to impress a third, who is on the verge of achieving legendary status in criminal circles. But neither realizes the lengths to which they will go to gain respect or that, in the end, nothing they can do—including murder—will get them what they are searching for.
An existential portrayal of Hell in Sartre's best-known play, as well as three other brilliant, thought-provoking works: the reworking of the Electra-Orestes story, the conflict of a young intellectual torn between theory and conflict, and an arresting attack on American racism.
Volume Three of Brecht's Collected Plays includes St Joan of the Stockyards - a play which recasts St Joan as Joan Dark springing hope into the hearts of factory workers at the mercy of meatpacker king Pierpont Mauler threatening cuts in the Depression; and the Lehrstücke or short 'didactic' pieces written during the years 1929 to 1933, are some of his most experimental work. Lindbergh's Flight, The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent, He Said Yes / He Said No, The Decision,The Exception and the Rule, and The Horatians and the Curiatians reject conventional theatre; they are spare and highly formalised, drawing on traditional Japanese and Chinese forms. They show Brecht in collaboration with the composers Hindemith, Weill and Eisler, influenced by the new techniques of montage in the visual arts and seeking new means of expression. Also included is The Mother, based on Gorky's novel about the progress of a factory strike in Tver and the journey of a peasant mother from illiteracy to card-carrying communism.
The translators include H R Hays (The Horatians and the Curiatians), Ralph Manheim (St Joan of the Stockyards), Tom Osborn (The Exception and the Rule), Geoffrey Skelton (The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent), John Willett (Lindbergh's Flight;The Decision;The Mother) and Arthur Waley (He Said Yes / He Said No). The translations are ideal for both study and performance. The volume is accompanied by a full introduction and notes by the series editor John Willett and includes Brecht's own notes and relevant texts as well as all the important textual variants.