The Steppe and Other Stories, 1887-91

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Penguin Books Limited, 2001 - Fiction - 368 pages
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This collection of Chekhov’s finest early writing reveals a young writer mastering the art of the short story. ‘The Steppe’, which established his reputation, is the unforgettable tale of a boy’s journey to a new school in Kiev, travelling through majestic landscapes towards an unknown destiny. ‘Gusev’ depicts an ocean voyage, where the sea takes on a terrifying, primeval power; ‘The Kiss’ portrays a shy soldier’s failed romantic encounter; and in ‘The Duel’ two men’s enmity ends in farce. Haunting and highly atmospheric, all the stories in this volume show a writer emerging from the shadow of his masters – Tolstoy, Turgenev and Gogol – and discovering his own voice. They also illustrate Chekhov’s genius for evoking the natural world and exploring inner lives.

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About the author (2001)

Born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia, on the Sea of Azov, Anton Pavlovich Chekhovwould eventually become one of Russia's most cherished storytellers. Especially fond of vaudevilles and French farces, he produced some hilarious one-acts, but it is his full-length tragedies that have secured him a place among the greatest dramatists of all time.

Chekhov began writing short stories during his days as a medical student at the University of Moscow. After graduating in 1884 with a degree in medicine, he began to freelance as a journalist and writer of comic sketches. Early in his career, he mastered the form of the one-act and produced several masterpieces of this genre including The Bear(1888) in which a creditor hounds a young widow, but becomes so impressed when she agrees to fight a duel with him, that he proposes marriage, and The Wedding(1889) in which a bridegroom's plans to have a general attend his wedding ceremony backfire when the general turns out to be a retired naval captain 'of the second rank'.

Ivanov(1887), Chekhov's first full-length play, a fairly immature work compared to his later plays, examines the suicide of a young man very similar to Chekhov himself in many ways. His next play, The Wood Demon (1888) was also fairly unsuccessful. In fact, it was not unti

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