Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, Russia and entered medical school in Moscow aged nineteen. While he was training as a doctor, he wrote humorous articles for weekly journals so that he could help financially support his parents and younger siblings. Increasingly he was drawn to writing serious drama and fiction. He is renowned as a master short story writer and playwright, whose fiction and drama explored the complexities of character and the often hidden depths of meaning in life. Chekhov practised as a medical doctor throughout his life, dying from tuberculosis aged 44.
What made Chekhov’s writing so powerful? Rosamund Bartlett, in her introduction to Anton Chekhov: A Life in Letters, considers that his appeal was partly “his lack of pretentiousness”, largely, she considers, a result of the “practical, down-to-earth objectivity Chekhov acquired in his medical training”. [Read more…]