Chekhov's Letters: Biography, Context, Poetics (Crosscurrents: Russia's Literature in Context)
Of the thirty volumes in the authoritative Academy edition of Chekhov's collected works, fully twelve are devoted to the writer's letters. This is the first book in English or Russian addressing this substantial—though until now neglected—epistolary corpus. The majority of the essays gathered here represent new contributions by the world's major Chekhov scholars, written especially for this volume, or classics of Russian criticism appearing in English for the first time. The introduction addresses the role of letters in Chekhov's life and characterizes the writer's key epistolary concerns. After a series of essays addressing publication history, translation, and problems of censorship, scholars analyze the letters' generic qualities that draw upon, variously, prose, poetry, and drama. Individual thematic studies focus on the letters as documents reflecting biographical, cultural, and philosophical issues. The book culminates in a collection of short, at times lyrical, essays by eminent scholars and writers addressing a particularly memorable Chekhov letter. Chekhov's Letters appeals to scholars, writers, and theater professionals, as well to a general audience.