Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

1860 - 1904

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

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on unhappiness

The more refined one is, the more unhappy.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on cosmetics, honesty, justice, newspapers, pleasure, virtue, and wishes

A litterateur is not a confectioner, not a dealer in cosmetics, not an entertainer. . . . He is just like an ordinary reporter. What would you say if a newspaper reporter, because of his fastidiousness or from a wish to give pleasure to his readers, were to describe only honest mayors, high-minded ladies, and virtuous railroad contractors.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: The Personal Papers of Anton Chekhov, Lear, 1950.

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on happiness

There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Man will become better only when you will make him see what he is like.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on advice, death, good, horses, nature, and reading

Critics are like horse-flies which hinder the horses in their ploughing of the soil. The muscles of the horse are as taut as fiddle-strings, and suddenly a horse-fly alights on its croup, buzzing and stinging. The horse's skin quivers, it waves its tail. What is the fly buzzing about? It probably doesn't know itself. It simply has a restless nature and wants to make itself felt - "I'm alive, too, you know!" it seems to say. "Look, I know how to buzz, there's nothing I can't buzz about!" I've been reading reviews of my stories for twenty-five years, and can't remember a single useful point in any of them, or the slightest good advice. The only reviewer who ever made an impression on me was Skabichevsky, who prophesied that I would die drunk in the bottom of a ditch.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: Quoted by Maxim Gorky in "Anton Chekhov," On Literature

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on action, dogs, god, gold, nature, needs, psychology, reading, spirituality, and water

I think descriptions of nature should be very short and always be à propos. Commonplaces like "The setting sun, sinking into the waves of the darkening sea, cast its purple gold rays, etc," "Swallows, flitting over the surface of the water, twittered gaily" - eliminate such commonplaces. You have to choose small details in describing nature, grouping them in such a way that if you close your eyes after reading it you can picture the whole thing. For example, you'll get a picture of a moonlit night if you write that on the dam of the mill a piece of broken bottle flashed like a bright star and the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled by like a ball, etc. . . . In the realm of psychology you also need details. God preserve you from commonplaces. Best of all, shun all descriptions of the characters' spiritual state. You must try to have that state emerge clearly from their actions. Don't try for too many characters. The center of gravity should reside in two: he and she.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: To AP Chekhov, May 10, 1886

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on disease and remedies

When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it can't be cured.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Source: The Cherry Orchard

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on business, courage, justice, people, time, trust, understanding, world, and writers

My business is to be talented, that is, to be capable of selecting the important moments from the trivial ones. . . . It's about time for writers - particularly those who are genuine artists - to recognize that in this world you cannot figure out everything. Just have a writer who the crowds trust be courageous enough and declare that he does not understand everything, and that alone will represent a major contribution to the way people think, a long leap forward.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov on foolishness

. . . only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

Contributed by: Zaady

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