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Two days later, Tchaikovsky wrote to Modest about this dedication: "I am awfully proud and happy! I am ready to stand day and night as a guard of honour in front of the house where Pyotr Ilyich is living — such is my respect for him.

The wonder of Chekhov

If we are to speak about ranks, then in Russian art he currently occupies second place after Lev Tolstoy , who has long since been on the top rung of the ladder. The third place I would give to [the painter Ilya] Repin, and for myself I would kindly ask for the 98th. I had been nursing this bold dream of dedicating something to him [Tchaikovsky] for a long time. This dedication, I thought, would serve as a partial, minimal expression of that huge critical essay which I, scribbler that I am, have been drawing up [in my head] about his magnificent talent and which, because of my lack of musical competence, I cannot really put into writing".

I will write to him as soon as things get back to normal again" It seems that Tchaikovsky did not actually write such a letter. He did, however, continue to read Chekhov with great interest.

Reading in Russia

We also know from the memoirs of Ignaty Potapenko — about life on Melikhovo, the small country estate Chekhov was finally able to buy for his family in , that the writer often asked Potapenko to sing romances by Tchaikovsky, with the musically gifted Lidiya 'Lika' Mizinova accompanying at the piano: "Anton Pavlovich usually asked for those things which he particularly liked. Tchaikovsky was very much in his good books, and his romances were constantly part of our repertoire".

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Wiki tools Special pages Cite this page. Page tools. Anton Chekhov, the most frequently produced playwright after William Shakespeare, also played a vital role in Russian society, according to Malaev-Babel. As a medical doctor, Chekov participated in the first effort to perform a census on Sakhalin Island.

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He interviewed and treated thousands of political and criminal prisoners and settlers over the course of three months. Shocked by what he saw, he wrote a book titled The Island of Sakhalin documenting his experiences. As a result of Chekhov's work on the census and book, Malaev-Babel observed, Russian society was confronted with their first exposure to the terrible living conditions and treatment of prisoners and settlers on the island. Back home at his country estate, Melikhovo, he built schools and hospitals for the poor and continually treated poor patients.

Anton Chekhov's The Avenger / Short Film by Jorge Orozco Watson

In his hometown of Taganrog he supplied books for public libraries, and endowed institutions that provided basic education for the needy. Chekhov, however, never held himself up as an active example of humanitarianism; instead, he kept his philanthropy private, stated Malaev-Babel. Chekhov also intentionally refrained from delivering moral or political sermons in his literary works or his public statements. Born into the first generation of a family of freed serfs, Chekhov felt that inner freedom was more important than political or social freedom.

This focus on the internal struggle for freedom was reflected in Chekhov's artistic works. Malaev-Babel contended that Chekhov understood that no sermon can make a lasting impression, and that no generic example or recipe for personal fulfillment exists.

“Man will become better when you show him what he is like.”

Instead, Chekhov suggested that his fellow Russians should make their own personal choices and solve their own moral dilemmas. In his writings, Chekhov would point out what these dilemmas were, and what alternative paths might exist; but he would keep his personal views on them completely private. He understood that everyone was different, and therefore all individuals would have different paths, different destinies, and different callings.

Chekhov's lack of directness opened him up to criticism and misunderstanding, said Malaev-Babel.

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He was criticized by some both during and after his life for this lack of directness and for "not living in his work. Malaev-Babel said that "during Chekhov's life, many of his contemporaries said that the very idea that somewhere in Yalta lives the writer Chekhov made their hard lives bearable. Skip to main content.

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