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Chekhov for the 21st Century. Carol Apollonio and Angela Brintlinger, eds. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 2012, 1–10.       Introduction One  hundred  fifty  years  after  his  birth,  Anton  Chekhov’s  influence  continues   to   expand   around   the   world,   reaching   readers   and   audiences   he   could   not   have  anticipated  during  his  lifetime.  Chekhov’s  fans  know  no  limits  of  age  or   nationality.   His   audience   includes,   at   one   extreme,   a   group   of   New   York   public  elementary-­‐‑school  students  who  performed  his  play  Uncle  Vanya  in  its   entirety  on  an  Upper  West  Side  stage.  At  the  other  extreme,  groups  of  retired   people  read  his  stories  as  part  of  continuing  education  classes,  and  his  name   figures  prominently  in  the  famed  Great  Books  Reading  and  Discussion  Pro-­‐‑ gram.  Chekhov’s  plays  have  been  transposed  into  settings  as  diverse  as  the   West   Indies,   rural   Australia,   and   Japan,   and   in   the   English-­‐‑speaking   world   they   yield   only   to   those   of   Shakespeare   in   quantity   and   variety   of   produc-­‐‑ tions.  His  writings  have  inspired  countless  films  across  the  globe.  His  narra-­‐‑ tive  prose  anchors  the  curricula  of  writers’  workshops,  and  no  actor  or  theater   professional   will   be   taken   seriously   without   a   firm   grounding   in   his   plays.   Chekhov’s   works   continue   to   be   translated   into   the   many   languages   of   the   world.  And  yet,  as  the  writer  Ivan  Bunin  reports,  the  ever-­‐‑modest  Chekhov   once  said  that  he  would  be  forgotten  as  early  as  seven  years  after  his  death.1   He  was  wrong,  of  course:         Figure  1.  “Influences,”  Sydney  Harris,  The  New  Yorker,  8  April  1985.   [©  Sidney  Harris/The  New  Yorker  Collection/]                                                                                                                             1  “—Знаете,  сколько  лет  еще  будут  читать  меня?  Семь.   —Почему  семь?  —спросил  я.     —Ну,   семь   с   половиной.”   A.   P.   Chekhov   v   vospominaniiakh   sovremennikov,   ed.   V.   E.   Vatsuro  et.  al.  (Moscow:  Khudozhestvennaia  literatura,  1986),  485–86.     2 CAROL APOLLONIO AND ANGELA BRINTLINGER There  is  a  reason  for  the  writer’s  enduring  popularity.  Chekhov  lived  a   life,  and  left  a  body  of  work,  of  real  substance.  His  writing  is  accessible  and   meaningful  to  anyone  who  can  read;  at  the  same  time,  it  contains  depths  as   yet  unexplored.  These  breadths  and  depths  are  the  subject  of  this  book,  a  col-­‐‑ lection  of  twenty-­‐‑one  seminal  new  studies  by  Russian  and  Western  Chekhov   scholars.  In  2010  audiences  across  the  world  enjoyed  productions  and  read-­‐‑ ings  of  Chekhov  in  conjunction  with  the  sesquicentennial  celebrations  of  his   birth.  This  series  of  celebrations  culminated  in  December  2010,  when  scholars   and  practitioners  from  various  disciplines  and  countries  came  together  in  Co-­‐‑ lumbus,  Ohio,  for  the  North  American  Chekhov  Society  conference  “Chekhov   on   Stage   and   Page.”   The   conference   featured   groundbreaking   and   original   readings  that  put  the  author  and  his  works  in  new  contexts.  Those  scholars   and  more  are  represented  in  this  volume.     Chekhov   for   the   Twenty-­‐‑First   Century   looks   back,   at   an   artist’s   life   well   lived,   and   forward,   to   new   generations   of   readers.   We   have   organized   this   collection  into  categories  that  illuminate  Chekhov’s  work  from  many  angles:   Space,   Time,   Person,   Word,   and   Transpositions.   The   categories   begin   with   Chekhov’s   texts—their   settings,   plots,   characters,   and   tropes—and   expand   outward   into   diverse   contexts—geographical,   historical,   psychological,   and   literary.   All   the   articles   offer   interpretations   that   bear   both   individual   and   universal  significance.   Space  is  the  subject  of  Part  I.  In  his  stage  settings  and  in  the  landscapes   and  habitats  depicted  in  his  prose,  Chekhov  both  reflects  the  unique  cultural   and  natural  space  in  which  he  himself  dwelt  and  delineates  boundaries  with-­‐‑ in  which  his  characters  must  live  their  lives.  Through  the  alchemy  of  his  art,   the   spatial   drama   becomes   moral,   political,   and   philosophical.   Characters   probe   the   habitats,   the   cages   and   shells   that   confine   them,   as   they   seek   to   understand   the   limits   to   their   freedom.   Cathy   Popkin   opens   our   collection   with   a   lyrical   and   highly   perceptive   exploration   of   Chekhov’s   treatment   of   space.  His  landscape  is  both  natural—the  vast  Russian  steppe—and  fraught   with  human  significance—the  space  that  must  be  traversed  in  the  quest  for   meaning.   This   “vast   field,”   or   what   Popkin   calls   “the   spaces   between   the   places,”  is  also  the  psychological  and  ethical  space  within  which  Chekhov  cre-­‐‑ ates  his  art,  describing  it  with  a  scientist’s  eye  and  a  universal  lyric  spirit.     In  “Chekhov’s  The  Duel,  or  How  to  Colonize  Responsibly,”  Edyta  Boja-­‐‑ nowska   addresses   a   different   kind   of   vast   Chekhovian   space,   geographical,   cultural,   and   political   in   nature,   and   in   doing   so   reveals   a   Chekhov   as   yet   unfamiliar  to  many  readers.  In  describing  such  different  locales  as  the  penal   colony  of  Sakhalin  on  Russia’s  Far  Eastern  border  (The  Island  of  Sakhalin)  and   the   restless   multicultural   lands   of   the   Caucasus   to...


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