Pritchett on Chekhov
(Kirjoitettu vanhaan tsehov.infoon, jostain syystä englanniksi)
This is a highly readable biography with interesting discussion on many stories. Pritchett, an accomplished author in his own right, has a prose style that is a pleasure to read.
True, his book only gives about one thousandth of the biographical detail that Donald Rayfield has to offer but Pritchett still manages to give the reader a satisfyingly rich account of the course of Anton's life. At one point, he even sneaks in a Rayfieldian touch with a remark on young actresses, and Anton being "in and out of cafés and their rooms day and night".
The book differs from Rayfield's in another respect as well. While Rayfield has very little to say about the works, Pritchett discusses several stories and plays at some length, among them The Duel, A Dreary Story, Gusev, In the Ravine, My Life, Peasants, Three Years, Ward 6.
Also, and this on a more personal note, I find it very refreshing that an English-language critic prefers Chekhov's stories to the plays. This is not what you meet every day, so listen to the man himself:
His life story really lies in his work, and his genius, in my opinion, lies above all in his creative gifts as a writer of short stories. I share Ronald Hingley's concern that his supremacy in this genre is nowadays overshadowed by the popularity of his plays with a public that prefers to listen.
Pritchett V S · Tšehov Anton
9.8.19 | Tommi Salonen