Background and Life
Anton Chekhov (January 29, 1860 — July 15, 1904) was a Russian playwright his considered the most influential contemporary short story writer. Anton’s style in writing would challenge the standard traditional plot structure of stories such as the rising, climax, and dénouement (Gutenberg Project, 2014). He is credited with creating a more natural and realistic exposition.
Born to a Russian grocer, Anton would attend the Greek School for Boys, Taganrog (1866–1868) and later would attend and graduate from Moscow State University with a degree in medicine. During his school years, Anton would help to support his family by writing short stories which appeared in the St. Petersburg weekly Strekoza (The Literature Network, 2014). Anton would continue writing and refining his style even after finishing school and beginning his career in medicine.
His contributions to writing are impressive as he did not take writing seriously until he contracted tuberculosis in 1887 (The Literature Network, 2014). During this time, Anton would take time from work and hone his craft as a writer. Between the years of 1887 and 1900, Anton would produce is finest short stories and plays which exemplified his objective writing style which defied the romanticized stories of his time. His plays, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and Cherry Orchard, would greatly impact the movement towards naturalism in theatre (Gutenberg Project, 2014).
During his time, Anton was compared to the French Impressionist painters as he did not romanticize life but showed it in brute reality. His honest depictions of peasant life would gain him fame during his life and even more so beyond. He is credited with having impacted American playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Clifford Odets who were known to have incorporated Anton’s techniques into their own writing (Gutenberg Project, 2014).
Anton Chekhov is perhaps one of the most important writers of the modern era. His works have impacted the manner in which stories are told as well as their structure. His challenge to the standard structure of stories and his refusal to color his writing in romance helped to usher in a new era of writing known as naturalism. This writing style was very important to the manner in which writers and other artists would view reality. Writers would begin writing about people in a manner which suggested that their character was a reflection of the environments and social status and economic positions (The Literature Network, 2014). Anton’s writing would pave the way for future writers to depict the deplorable conditions which many people lived and died.
Gutenberg Project. (2014, April 1). Tchekhov, Anton. Retrieved from Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/c#a708
The Literature Network. (2014). Anton Chekhov. Retrieved from The Literature Network: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/
Photo By V. Chekhovskii, Moscow — Christie's, LotFinder: entry 5140875, Public Domain