June 25, 2013

"To live intensely, as he wanted, would speed up the illness and shorten the life available."

"In 1901 at forty-one, now ill beyond any denial and forced to live in the warm climate of the Black Sea, Chekhov married a lively and successful actress who worked in Moscow. The frequent trips from the hot south to the freezing capital were, his doctor observed, the worst-case scenario for his sickness. And indeed so many of Chekhov’s characters seem to make the worst possible, if not suicidal, choices."

25 comments:

Pogo said...

I never liked Star Trek.

Sharc said...

Nice photo. Smiles and a casual pose, hands folded on knees -- rare for 1901 portraits.

Jeff Teal said...

Poor quality of a long life.Or intensity of a short one?Sometimes it is your choice.Who are we to judge?

Jeff Teal said...

Oh and no guarantees that if you do everything the prudent way that you still won't dy screaming two minutes from now.

tim in vermont said...

Didn't he write The Lady with the Pet Dog? Is that the theme today?

dustbunny said...

"...every man lives his real, most interesting life under the cover of secrecy...". Chekov

traditionalguy said...

Snowden is Chekov cafe.

Those cold trips to Moscow are doing him in too.

edutcher said...

They needed somebody who'd sub for Sulu while he made "The Green Berets".

pm317 said...

tim in vermont, yes he did. The translation I read called it 'Lady with a lapdog'.

Growing up (in India) we used to get a lot of this literature from people selling them on the roadside for a rupee -- nice glossy high class paper and quality publishing from the soviets. For a voracious reader like me, it was gold and cheap gold. Chekov was my favorite in those days.

ricpic said...

The presumptuousness of the writer of the article, with his godlike surety about Chekov's interior life, is breathtaking.

Ann Althouse said...

"Nice photo. Smiles and a casual pose, hands folded on knees -- rare for 1901 portraits."

Yeah, Chekhov looks like so many men I see around Madison.

Olga looks like... well, she kind of looks like Charles Krauthammer.

Tim said...

Alright, so D.H. Lawrence and Chekhov are metaphors for America's Obama voters, reckless careening from one nation-weakening event to another, mindlessly ignoring long-known responsibilities in pursuit of short-sighted, selfish goals, and, what? This is news?

Hardly.

Quaestor said...

Olga looks like... well, she kind of looks like Charles Krauthammer.

Thanks for my first audible chortle of the day.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Olga looks like... well, she kind of looks like Charles Krauthammer

It is the corset. As tightly braced and laced in as can be. Krauthammer in order to just sit upright. Her...for vanity.

Calypso Facto said...

Chekhov rocks. "The Cherry Orchard" was the perfect description of a third-generation family business I was involved with a few years ago, and also, potentially the willful ignorance so many maintain in the face of unsustainable government practices today.

Darrell said...

Yeah, Chekhov looks like so many men I see around Madison.

That should have been your first clue not to move there.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Nice photo. Smiles and a casual pose, hands folded on knees -- rare for 1901 portraits."

Yeah, Chekhov looks like so many men I see around Madison.

Olga looks like... well, she kind of looks like Charles Krauthammer.


Oh, Althouse, such cold and cruel neutrality indeed.

creeley23 said...

The wiki photo of Chekhov is much more handsome.

Hitchens made a comparable bargain. He was under no illusion that he was immune to all the cigarettes and whiskey he consumed. He chose the intensity of life he believed those substances fueled. He did make it to 62 for all that.

Kensington said...

Chekov is one of my five favorite playwrights, and I've always regretted the reputation his plays have for being depressing.

None of them have to be. If they are performed properly, even the darkest ones are quite funny.

creeley23 said...

Kensington: Where's a good place to start with Chekhov via print or film (i.e. not waiting for a theater production??

creeley23 said...

When it came out, I saw the Louis Malle "Vanya on 42nd St" of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya." I liked it but it was a long time ago and I have no idea how true it was to Chekhov.

Kensington said...

Yeah, "Vanya on 42nd Street" is an outstanding adaptation!

Beyond that, my experience is largely with theatrical productions of Chekhov, so I can't really comment on film versions.

For print, I'm quite fond of this collection (through Althouse's portal). It has its naysayers, but it's also highly recommended by Chekov experts like Austin Pendleton.

Kensington said...

And, yeah, Vanya on 42nd Street is an indirect adaptation by virtue of its play-within-a-movie structure, but I think it captures the spirit of Chekhov just beautifully, with oustanding performances from everyone involved.

creeley23 said...

I loved that magical moment when Vanya the film morphed into Vanya the play.

Chekhov is also known as a great short story writer. Some of my teachers have recommended his stories. I confess I have not followed up.

Balfegor said...

The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work.
One day the sickness shall pass from the earth for good.
The orchard will bloom; someone will play the guitar.
Our work will be seen as strong and clean and good.
And all that we suffered through having existed
Shall be forgotten as though it had never existed
.