The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories 1896-1904 is an enchanting collection of tales which showcase Anton Chekhov at the height of his power as a writer. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Ronald Wilks with an introduction by Paul Debreczeny.
In the final years of his life, Chekhov produced some of the stories that rank among his masterpieces, and some of the most highly-regarded works in Russian literature. The poignant ‘The Lady with the Little Dog’ and ‘About Love’ examine the nature of love outside of marriage – its romantic idealism and the fear of disillusionment. And in stories such as ‘Peasants’, ‘The House with the Mezzanine’ and ‘My Life’ Chekhov paints a vivid picture of the conditions of the poor and of their powerlessness in the face of exploitation and hardship. With the works collected here, Chekhov moved away from the realism of his earlier tales – developing a broader range of characters and subject matter, while forging the spare minimalist style that would inspire such modern short-story writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.
Ronald Wilks’s translation is accompanied by an introduction in which Paul Debreczeny discusses the themes that Chekhov adopted in his mature work. This edition also includes a publishing history and notes for each story, a chronology and further reading.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, a port on the sea of Azov. In 1879 he travelled to Moscow, where he entered the medical faculty of the university, graduating in 1884. During his university years, he supported his family by contributing humorous stories and sketches to magazines. He published his first volume of stories, Motley Tales, in 1886, and a year later his second volume In the Twilight, for which he received the Pushkin Prize. Today his plays, including Uncle Vanya, The Seagull, and The Cherry Orchard are recognised as masterpieces the world over.
If you enjoyed The Lady with the Little Dog you might like Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, also available in Penguin Classics.