A Horsey Name
"A Horsey Name" is an 1885 short story by Anton Chekhov. According to the writer and memoirist Vladimir Bogoraz, the plotline might have had to with a popular Taganrog anecdote, based on a real life incident when "...the two men and Kobylin, well-off, known in the city, checked into a hotel and their names appeared on the desk, side by side. I remember well how the whole of Taganrog laughed."The story was published for the first time by Peterburgskaya Gazeta, in its No.183, 7 July 1885, subtitled "A Scene" and signed A. Chekhonte, it was included by Chekhov into Volume 2 of his Collected Works, published by Adolf Marks in 1899. During Chekhov's lifetime, it was translated into Polish and Serbo-Croatian languages, its first English translation, by Marian Fell, appeared in the 1915 collection called Russian Silhouettes: More Stories of Russian Life. The retired general Buldeyev, suffering from a toothache, has tried all possible means of treating it, to no avail, he is not willing, though, to remove the tooth, so some cure is to be found.
The steward, Ivan Evseyevich, remembers he knew once an gifted'tooth conjurer', who used to just'turn toward the window and spit, the pain would go in a minute". Now living in Saratov, the wonder doctor makes his living by spit-related way of tooth-healing, which he does by telegraph; the general's initial reaction is skeptical, but his wife manages to persuade him that sending a telegram to Saratov at least won't kill him. The steward reckons that "every dog knows this man in Saratov", so the address won't be necessary, mentioning his name would do. And, where the problem arises, he can not recall the surname. One thing he is sure of, it has something to do with… horses; the two start to look through all possible variants. Soon the family and the whole of the household join in; the agonized general promises to pay five rubles to anyone who would help Ivan Evseyevich to recall the surname, but nothing comes out of it. He loses his patience, sends for the dentist, the tooth gets pulled out, this brings relief.
On his way back to the city, the doctor meets the steward by the roadside. His eyes are fixed on the ground and he is muttering something to himself; the dentist asks. Ivan Evseyevich glares at the doctor without uttering a word rushes to the house. "I've remembered the name, your Excellency! Thanks to the doctor. Hayes! Hayes is the exciseman's name!" he cries, only to be contemptuously sent away. Лошадиная фамилия. The original Russian text A Horsey Name, the 1915 English translation by Marian Fell
Oysters (short story)
"Oysters" is a short story by Anton Chekhov published in the No. 486, 1884 issue of Budilnik magazine, signed A. Chekhonte, it was included into Chekhov's 1886 collection Motley Stories published in Saint Petersburg, in a revised version appeared in this book's next 13 editions, in 1892–1899. It was included into the Russian Writers' Short Stories 1895 collection and into the Volume 3 of The Collected Works by A. P. Chekhov's first edition. In an 18 January 1886 letter to Viktor Bilibin, discussing the stories he'd chosen for the Motley Stories collection, Chekhov wrote: "Hereby I attach one story that had missed the main bulk, you may add it to the others... In it for the first time I've taken upon myself the role of a'medicus'." A beggar's child, delirious from hunger, falls victim of a cruel practical joke by the people from the tavern which his father stops nearby to beg for money. Устрицы. The Original Russian text Oysters. 1908 and 1922 English translations
Nikolai Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian painter and the brother of Anton Chekhov. As a child Nikolai showed talents for music, he attended the Moscow School of Painting and Architecture. He was unable to finish his studies due to chronic alcoholism and the periods of time weeks, which he would spend living in the Moscow streets. Nikolai was a talented artist, he illustrated Anton's stories. Anton wrote to him, advising him to pursue writing, but to no avail, he died in Luka at the age of 31 of tuberculosis. Nikolai's death influenced Anton's A Boring Story, about a man faced with his own impending death
A Dreary Story
A Dreary Story is an 1889 novella by Anton Chekhov, subtitled "From the Notebooks of an Old Man". Influenced by the death of Chekhov's brother Nikolay from tuberculosis, it has been described as one of Chekhov's most enduring works, as "a penetrating study into the mind of an elderly and dying professor of medicine". A Dreary Story was first published in No. 11 issue of Severny Vestnik. According to the autograph, concluding the manuscript, it was "written in the Luka village, Sumsk region, 1889". In a re-worked version the novella was included into a collection called Moody People into Volume 5 of Chekhov's Collected Works, published by Adolf Marks in 1899-1901. Chekhov completed the story by the end of September. Still, in his 3 September letter he informed Alexey Pleshcheyev closely associated with Severny Vestnik, that the story was ready, but in need of "polishing and some additional pondering on", he added: "Never in my life have I written anything of the kind. Such themes are new to me, I am a bit wary of my own inexperience.
In other words, I wouldn't like to come up with something stupid."In a 7 September letter he informed Anna Yevreinova about working upon his new story and the difficulties that he's had, continuously re-shaping it and re-writing the finale. After the story had been sent to the magazine, in a 24 September letter to Pleshcheyev Chekhov conceded there were fragments in it that might be seen as overdrawn, but warned against cutting superfluous bits, for they were indispensable for the understanding of the main character. "These long monologues are as necessary as a heavy gun carriage is for a cannon. They define this character, the mood he's in, his unwillingness to be true with himself," he insisted. Pleshcheyev wrote a reply. "This is the strongest thing that you've written to date. The old scientist type is brilliant and those moments when his musing seem to become those of your own, do not spoil the whole picture," he wrote, he advised Chekhov to change the title and expressed doubts about some aspects of the old man's character.
Chekhov replied: "The thing about my hero is. People close to him shed tears, make mistakes, tell lies, but all he can do is dispassionately lecture them on theatre or literature." Nikolai Stepanovich, a luminary in the world of medical science, tormented by insomnia and bouts of devastating weakness, lives in a kind of darkening haze. He tries to analyze the reasons for his rapid physical and psychological decline in the face of unspecified illness and, imminent death in the course of the next six months; the world around him feels alien, watching his beloved Liza and Katya suffering, he is unable to connect with them, being disoriented and numbed by problems of his own. Pleshcheyev in his letter predicted the novella would divide critical opinion and proved to be right. In the 3 January 1890 edition of Novoye Obozreniye Alexander Amfiteatrov called A Deary Story "undeniably the best work of Russian literature of the last year", but in his large Moskovskiye Vedomosti review Yuri Govorukha-Otrok reviewed the novella negatively and put to doubt Chekhov's reputation of an emerging great writer.
Viktor Burenin in Novoye Vremya dismissed the novella as a trivial "etude on the slow decline of an old man's mind". In Russkoye Bogatstvo critic L. Obolensky supported the story's alleged leitmotif that "life without some belief in some higher ideal or god is meaningless", but apart from that saw little of value in it. Nikolai Mikhaylovsky, who in his Russkiye Vedomosti review of the Moody People collection condemned Chekhov's perceived'aloofness' towards his characters, praised A Dreary Story for a change, as a sign of better things to come and called it "the best and the most significant thing Chekhov had written to date". Several critics saw A Dreary Story as a mere variation on Lev Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich". "Strange, how such an original writer could have fallen into such a trap of imitation", wrote Aristarkhov in Russkiye Vedomosti. Yet, D. Strunin in the April 1890 issue of Russkoye Bogatstvo praised the novella as a original piece of writing if Nilkolai Stepanovich indeed looked much like "the Ivan Ilyich in the science world".
Скучная история, the original Russian text A Dreary Story, the English translation
"A Malefactor" is an 1885 short story by Anton Chekhov. "A Malefactor" was first published in the 7 August 1885 issue of Peterburgskaya Gazeta, in its Fleeting Notes section, subtitled "A Little Scene" and signed A. Chekhonte; the story was included into the 1886 collection Motley Stories, to be reproduced unchanged in all of its 14 editions, into Volume 3 of the original edition of the Collected Works by A. P. Chekhov, published by Adolf Marks in 1899–1901. Vladimir Gilyarovsky maintained that the prototype for the character of Denis Grigoryev was a peasant named Nikita Pantyukhin, from the village Kraskovo in Moscow Governorate. "Anton Pavlovich was trying to put it to him that one was not supposed to unscrew nuts off railroad tracks, which could cause train crash, but Nikita seemed to be unable to understand him...'Sure I know what's allowed, what's not. Sure, it's not everywhere that I unscrew them: one here, another there,' he was repeating," Gilyarovsky wrote. According to him, Chekhov had written down some words and expressions used by the real life'malefactor' and reproduced in his story.
Lev Tolstoy included "A Malefactor" into his personal list of Chekhov' best stories. In Chekhov's lifetime the story was translated into Bulgarian, German, Serbo-Croatian and Czech languages. A local investigating magistrate unsuccessfully tries to explain that it is wrong to take nuts off the railroad track to a peasant, who cannot see why he's to be deprived of his right to use an iron nut as a weight for his fishing line. Злоумышленник, the original Russian text A Malefactor, the English translation by Constance Garnett
Pyotr Petrovich Gnedich known as Gnedich-Smolensky, was a Russian writer, dramatist, theatre entrepreneur and art history scholar. He was a grandnephew of translator Nikolay Gnedich. Gnedich wrote several novels. Anton Chekhov praised Gnedich's talent. Pyotr Gnedich's best known non-fiction works were the History of Art from Ancient Times, arguably the first popular Russian treatise of this kind, his memoirs Book of Life
Children (short story)
"Children" is an 1886 short story by Anton Chekhov. The children, Anya and Sonya, as well as Andrey, the son of a cook, stay up late, taking advantage of the adults' being absent, play lotto. Quite different things motivate them. Grisha, a nine-year old, is the most ardent of the contestants, his younger sister Anya is avid and smart player, but the kopecks hold no interest for her, its the excitement of the game that she is after. Sonya, aged six, is passionate too, but selfless: "whoever wins, she laughs and applauds." The youngest one, Alyosha is quite thankful for the fact that the others do not order him away. Phlegmatic, he is indifferent for the game as such, but deep inside is quite a sport, gets thrilled with every bit of the smallest scandal. Andrey, a detached and sickly boy, is indifferent to the financial side of the event, it is the game's "arithmetic and simple philosophy". The game, marred with all sorts of incidents, but full of excitement, attracts the oldest brother, Vasya, a teenage gymnasium student if a suspicious servant refuses to break his ruble into kopecks.
Sonya agrees to lend him one, but Grisha accidentally drops his coin. After an eventful and, in the long run, successful search, the children return to the table where they find Sonya fast asleep. All together, they carry her to their mother's bed... There an they all fall victim to the fatigue. In five minutes' time, all five are upon it, bundled up in a heap, sound asleep, their coins scattered around, "having lost their value, up until the next game." The idea for the story has originated during Anton Chekhov's stay with the family of Colonel B. I. Mayevsky, an artillery battery commander, garrisoned in Voskresensk. According to Mikhail Chekhov, " had charming children, Anya and Alyosha, with whom my brother Anton Pavlovich became friends and portrayed them in the'Children' short story." The story was published for the first time on 20 January 1886 by Peterburgskaya Gazeta, subtitled "The Scene" and signed A. Chekhonte, it featured in the 1886 Motley Stories collection and in the Children collection, published by Aleksey Suvorin in 1889, re-issued twice in early 1890s.
Chekhov included the story into the Volume 3 of his Collected Works, published by Adolf Marks in 1899-1901. During its author's lifetime, the story was translated into Bulgarian, Danish, Polish, Serbo-Croatian and Czech languages; the story received a positive feedback from a number of critics. In Russkoye Bogatstvo, Leonid Obolensky wrote: "Children and a child's soul pictured by Chekhov, are amazing." Viktor Goltsev, in his 1894 Russkaya Mysl-published essay, noted that in the "Children", "features of children's characters are neatly traced." Mentioning "Children" alongside "Agafya", "The Witch" and "The Requiem", Konstantin Arsenyev in Vestnik Evropy wrote, "With the children's characters... Chekvov is quite at home."Leo Tolstoy included "Children" into the list of his favourite stories by Chekhov. "Детвора", the original Russian text "Children", English translation