Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860, near the Black Sea in Russia. He became a doctor in Moscow in 1884 and soon showed symptoms of the tuberculosis that eventually would cause his death. For extra income he wrote short stories for magazines, and by 1887 he began writing for a living. His autobiographical play The Seagull (1895-96) failed at first but became a major success in Moscow in 1898. Other plays followed, notably Uncle Vanya (1896), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904). These plays and much of Chekhov’s work focus on the passing of the old order and socioeconomic forces in Russia as the 19th century collided with the 20th – the demise of the aristocracy, the abolition of serfdom, and the struggle of a new, materialistic middle class to emerge amid change that it could not control. Chekhov wrote 17 plays and almost 600 stories.