America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
On the life, evolution, and legacy of Anton Chekhov.
was right!Support The
Chekhov’s contemporaries wondered: What sort of Russian writer was he? He had no solution to the ultimate questions. With no “general idea” to teach, wasn’t he more like a talented Frenchman or Englishman born in the wrong place?
No country ever has valued literature more highly than Russia. When Tolstoy published Anna Karenina, Dostoevsky enthused that at last the existence of the Russian people had been justified! Can anyone imagine an English critic thinking England’s right to exist was in question or discovering it in Bleak House?
Nations, it seemed, live in order to produce great literature, and literature exists to reveal great truths. Science, philosophy, and the other arts are all very well, but nothing rivals poetry and fiction. For Russians, literature played the same role as Scripture did for the ancient Hebrews when it was still possible to add books to the B ...
This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 November 2012, on page 20
Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Chekhov-s-enlightenment-7471
E-mail to friend
The complicated, often conflicted, life of Alexander Herzen.
A look at the legacy of literary scholar and Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank (1918–2013).
John Maynard Keynes’s revisionist history of World War I has had enduring—and harmful—consequences.
by Marco Grassi
Summer exhibitions in Florence and Verona reconsider the work of Pontormo, Rosso & Veronese.
Conservative arguments for and against the Common Core.
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"