Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

1860 - 1904

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on life

in

"Do you know," Ivan Bunin recalls Anton Chekhov saying to him in 1899, near the end of his too-short life, "for how many years I shall be read? Seven." "Why seven?" Bunin asked. "Well," Chekhov answered, "seven and a half then."

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: quoted by Donald Fanger, New York Times, March 14, 1999

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on art, conservatism, determination, god, liberals, people, regret, and strength

The people I am afraid of are the ones who look for tendentiousness between the lines and are determined to see me as either liberal or conservative. I am neither liberal, nor conservative, nor gradualist, nor monk, nor indifferentist. I would like to be a free artist and nothing else, and I regret God has not given me the strength to be one.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Alexei Pleshcheyev, October 4, 1888

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on grief, kindness, and pity

When you describe the miserable and unfortunate, and want to make the reader feel pity, try to be somewhat colder - that seems to give a kind of background to another's grief, against which it stands out more clearly. Whereas in your story the characters cry and you sigh. Yes, be more cold. . . . The more objective you are, the stronger will be the impression you make.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Lydia Avilova, March 19, 1892 & April 29, 1892

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on enthusiasm, nature, and wishes

I will begin with what in my opinion is your lack of restraint. You are like a spectator in a theatre who expresses his enthusiasm so unrestrainedly that he prevents himself and others from hearing. That lack of restraint is particularly noticeable in the descriptions of nature with which you interrupt dialogues; when one reads them, these descriptions, one wishes they were more compact, shorter, say two or three lines.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on art, conversation, god, jobs, judgment, language, pessimism, problems, and thought

In my opinion it is not the writer's job to solve such problems as God, pessimism, etc; his job is merely to record who, under what conditions, said or thought what about God or pessimism. The artist is not meant to be a judge of his characters and what they say; his only job is to be an impartial witness. I heard two Russians in a muddled conversation about pessimism, a conversation that solved nothing; all I am bound to do is reproduce that conversation exactly as I heard it. Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is to be talented, that is, to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant, to place my characters in the proper light and speak their language.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Alexei Suvorin, May 30, 1888

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on death and time

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I am dying. I haven't drunk champagne for a long time.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on nature

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In nature a repulsive caterpillar turns into a lovely butterfly. But with humans it is the other way around: a lovely butterfly turns into a repulsive caterpillar.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on birth, change, death, love, politics, religion, and world

I still lack a political, religious and philosophical world view - I change it every month - and so I'll have to limit myself to descriptions of how my heroes love, marry, give birth, die, and how they speak.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Dmitry Grigorovich, October 9, 1888

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on art, correction, problems, solution, and work

You are right in demanding that an artist approach his work consciously, but you are confusing two concepts: the solution of a problem and the correct formulation of a problem. Only the second is required of the artist.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Alexei Suvorin, October 27, 1888

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on advice, art, clarity, composers, difficulty, life, nature, proof, sons, soul, talent, trouble, understanding, and writing

Another piece of advice: when you read proof cross out as many adjectives and adverbs as you can. You have so many modifiers that the reader has trouble understanding and gets worn out. It is comprehensible when I write: "The man sat on the grass," because it is clear and does not detain one's attention. On the other hand, it is difficult to figure out and hard on the brain if I write: "The tall, narrow-chested man of medium height and with a red beard sat down on the green grass that had already been trampled down by the pedestrians, sat down silently, looking around timidly and fearfully." The brain can't grasp all that at once, and art must be grasped at once, instantaneously. And then one other thing. You are lyrical by nature, the timber of your soul is soft. If you were a composer you would avoid writing marches. It is unnatural for your talent to curse, shout, taunt, denounce with rage. Therefore, you'll understand if I advise you, in proofreading, to eliminate the "sons of bitches," "curs," and "flea-bitten mutts" that appear here and there on the pages of Life.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To Maxim Gorky, September 3, 1899

Contributed by: Zaady

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