Comments on The Lady with the Dog

Cross-posted at A Curious Singularity

Sorry I am not more discursive on this post, but I wanted to share, in light of our reading of The Lady with the Dog. Excerpted from “Chekhov: A Biography,” Ernest J. Simmons:

The Lady with the Dog is the first literary fruit of Chekhov’s Yalta life and the beginning of the tale is penetrated with the atmosphere of this resort—its sights and sounds, its dusty roads, eating places off the esplanade, the stately cypresses, the soft warm lilac color of the sea under the bright sunlight and the golden band of moonlight across it at night. Turgenev might have written a whole novel on this theme, in this story of adultery, which begins on a note of casual philandering and mounts through a series of intensifying emotional experiences to a crescendo of profound but hopeless love. Though the conclusion may be anti-romantic, Chekhov’s sympathy—as so often in his fiction—with these helpless, illicit lovers, whose star-crossed fate is not of their own making, is plainly apparent at the end. Gorky, with his characteristic ebullience, declared after reading the story that he wanted to change wives, and to suffer and swear in the same spirit. Everything else seemed written not with a pen but with a fencepost. “No one can write so simply about simple things as you can,” he told Chekhov. “Your tales are exquisite phials filled with all the smells of life…”

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