Talk:Anton Chekhov

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Featured article Anton Chekhov is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 11, 2007.
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January 23, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
February 22, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article

Concerns about the quality of this article[edit]

I would like to express a number of concerns about this article, some of which, from the archives, I see have been expressed before but do not appear to have been addressed. I see that it was given FA staus some years ago, but, according to the criteria of the Theatre project, this article is far from reaching that standard. I'm reluctant to tag it or to propose a re-assessment, so I'd like to discuss the problems here and see if they can be resolved without all that rigmarole.

The main problem is that an FA article should be a complete treatment of the subject--"definitive" is the word the criteria use. As it stands, this is merely a biographical sketch, with a short "legacy" section that is the only source of information on what the reader is most likely to be seeking from an encyclopedia article--namely, information the form, content, structure and style of his work, criticism, place in the broader patterns of culture, etc. At 20k (3,300 words), the article is not overly long, so I am not suggesting that the biography section ought to be cut. But a substantial amount of material that I would expect a definitive encyclopedia article to cover is missing. The lack of information about the relationship to Naturalism or Symbolism has been noted on the talk page previously. Nothing about the development of his dramatic writing from the farces to the major plays. Little on his dramaturgical devices, beyond mentioning the gun. Use of off-stage and inner action, metatheatre, rendering of time, memory. That list is just from glancing at one entry in the Cambridge Guide. The history of "performing Chekhov," too, to borrow Allen's title, beyond mentioning Stanislavski a little. The history that is so standard in Theatre Studies as to be a cliché that traces the line of development from Symbolism and Chekhov through to Samuel Beckett and others. As far as I can tell, this article is a B-class, since substantial content is missing. Look at the William Shakespeare article, for example. Of course, it isn't directly comparable for all kinds of reasons, but there is a large enough gap in quality/content between the two to make the point.

There are a few problems, too, with what is there, as opposed to what is not (yet). I'll number them, in case this stimulates substantial discussion.

(1) The number of images overwhelms the text, particularly if viewed on a non-widescreen monitor. The images appear in an unbroken succession along the right-hand side of the page for its entire length. This is far too many images. If they are that desirable, many should be moved to a gallery section.

(2) The text in the "Melikhovo" section contains this sentence:

"Stanislavski's attention to psychological realism and ensemble playing coaxed the buried subtleties from the text and restored Chekhov's interest in playwriting."

Fine, though it should probably be wikilined to subtext. But the citation provided--Allen (2001, 11)--doesn't support the claim made. I found this because it was a point that I wanted to check for myself in order to cite it myself. I know it's true, but the citation doesn't say so. Seeing that that citation is unreliable, I'm concerned that it's not the only one. I can give one for the first half of the sentence--Benedetti (1989, 25-26), from the Stanislavksi article--but not for the second half. Allen doesn't say (or at least, not on p.11 or any that are previewable on google books, so far as I can see) that the production revived Chekhov's interest in writing drama. Does someone have a citation from a source that says it did?

(3) In the "Legacy" section:

"Despite Chekhov's eminence as a playwright, some writers believe his short stories represent the greater achievement."

The article hasn't really given any real indication of his stature as a dramatist. I recognise that the Legacy section is small as it is, but the relative weight given to the stories compared with the plays is all wrong. For the article as a whole, as much time is spend discussing his activities as a doctor as those as a playwright. Whatever that Guardian writer may think, Chekhov's fame rests first and foremost on his plays. Stop someone in the street and, if they know his name, the first thing they're likely to say about him is that he's a playwright. Seems to be a case of undue weight, though not from a deliberate POV, I assume, but more from the principal problem of the lack of definitive content.

(4) Again, in the "Legacy" section:

"In turn, Strasberg's Actors Studio and the "Method" acting approach influenced many actors, including Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, though by then the Chekhov tradition may have been distorted by a preoccupation with realism."

What's this doing in this article? Sure, the Method has influenced many actors; sure, it derives from Stanislavski's 'system'. But the influence of Chekhov on that whole development is a real stretch. The 'system' comes not from the work on Chekhov's plays, but the struggles to stage Symbolist drama. Stanislavski may have applied its principles to Chekhov's work in later productions, but that's not really suitable material for an article on Chekhov. Method acting isn't part of any "Chekhov tradition". The presence of a citation makes it look like it's a legitimate claim, but on closer scrutiny it's from a review of one of Strasberg's productions of a Chekhov play.

Those are the ones that leap out most immediately. I do not mean to discourage or criticise the hard work that has obviously gone into the article to-date, but I feel that it's important that the article addresses the needs and expectations of the 43,000 readers it gets every month. Many, I imagine, are going away disappointed at present. DionysosProteus (talk) 16:18, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Update: I have just gone to get the link to the Google Book preview of Allen's book and found that two versions are previewable, offering a different selection of pages. Hardback and Paperback. If I find a citation for point #2 in the pages I wasn't previously able to view, I'll add it to the article. DionysosProteus (talk) 16:26, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

  • I support this. The article, bearing in mind grandiosity of the subject matter, is very scant. It lacks even the Private life section, there's no mention of Lika Mizinova and Lydia Avilova, no insight into his relations with Knipper. The line: ...had preferred passing liaisons and visits to brothels over commitment is a lazy generalisation, and rather misleading one at that. Legacy section looks embryonic; Chekhov is arguably the most talked about Russian author. One of the first non-Russians to praise Chekhov's plays was George Bernard Shaw... - but what about Russian critics, some of whom were harsh - his short stories were mostly ignored, he became famous with his plays, which Bunin thought was great injustice (but, again, other opinions were aplenty)? Mirsky and Nabokov's views are, I'd say, somewhat secondary next to those of Tolstoy, Korolenko, Bunin or Gorky, all of which are absent here. Some kind of analytic section is a must, dealing with Chekhov's development as a writer. -- Evermore2 (talk) 11:10, 27 July 2011 (UTC)


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов, pronounced [ɐnˈton ˈpavləvʲɪtɕ ˈtɕexəf]; 29 January 1860[1] – 15 July 1904)[2] was a Russian short-story writer, playwright and physician, considered to be one of the greatest short-story writers in the history of world literature.[3] Who says he's one of the greatest short-story writers in the history of world literature? Is there some sort of fact or statistic supporting this idea? Has he won some sort of award as the greatest short-story writer in the history of world literature? Please state the reason why he is considered one of the greatest short-story writers in the world before you make such a broad statement. Thank you.-James Pandora Adams —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Encyclopedia Britannica says so. See the reference at the end of the sentence. GregorB (talk) 20:39, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
This is a definite statement and of course correct. He may have not won any awards, but this is because there were simply no at that time. Regards.--Kürbis () 15:47, 14 August 2012 (UTC)


Chekhov got two main Russian awards of that time: the Pushkin award and the Griboedov award.Д.Д.Гуров (talk) 18:28, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

List of Translators known for their familiarity with Chekhov[edit]

Someone should add a list of Translators known for their familiarity with Chekhov. There is plenty of room at the bottom of the main page of this article for something like that.

Since I don't know any Russian, I wouldn't be the person to do something like that. But not all translators are equal to the task, and if we are to believe that Chekhov is renowned for his writing ability, and we are limited to a handful of translators, some of them woefully unprepared for the task that is expected of them, which translators are the ones we should turn to first?

Also, did Chekhov limit himself solely to his mother tongue, or did he write in other languages too? (talk) 07:34, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Anton Chekhov - Claimed atheism as stated fact? Or simply agnostic?[edit]

Adding individuals to atheism category may be in violation of several WP rules and guidelines.

Statements and claims presented as a fact must be backed by balanced, certified and strong unequivocal research and scholarship with the help of multiple sources. Loose claims here and there are just opinions and does not amount to an fair and balanced view. Varying authors can be be used as a source for presenting an opinion for such and such, but it is still not to be deemed authoritative and conclusive.

Chekhov's political and religious beliefs are among the most misunderstood of any of the great Russian writers of the late 19th century. In on his letters he stated that I have squandered my faith a long time ago . This is as far as it goes. There is no evidence for a positive belief that conclusively can be said to be atheism. Maybe Chekhov an agnostic?  In gleaning his personal correspondence, one might easily label him as one or the other. We should not make the same mistake as the Soviets in using his unbelief to assert another belief/motives which in there case was an Marxist/Leninist agenda. There is evidence of loss of faith and desperation in his letters but nothing that asserts further claims.

WP:BLPCAT - Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for each content category must be made clear by the article text and its reliable sources. Categories regarding religious beliefs or sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question
WP:CHERRY fact picking. Instead of finding a balanced set of information about the subject, a coatrack goes out of its way to find facts that support a particular bias. An appropriate response to a coatrack article is to be bold and trim off excessive biased content
WP:EXCEPTIONAL - Exceptional claims require exceptional sources
WP:SCICON The statement that all or most scientists, scholars, or ministers hold a certain view requires a reliable source. Without it, opinions should be identified as those of particular, named sources. Editors should avoid original research especially with regard to making blanket statements based on novel syntheses of disparate material.
WP:FRINGE -A theory that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight in an article
WP:YESPOV Ensure that the reporting of different views on a subject adequately reflects the relative levels of support for those views, and that it does not give a false impression of parity, or give undue weight to a particular view.
WP:WEIGHT -Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.
WP:YESPOV -Avoid stating opinions as facts
WP:NOR -Any analysis or interpretation of the quoted material, however, should rely on a secondary source (See: WP:No original research)
These may be furthermore of use
WP:NOTOPINION -Opinion pieces, although some topics, particularly those concerning current affairs and politics, may stir passions and tempt people to "climb soapboxes".
WP:NOTRELIABLE - Questionable sources are those that have a poor reputation for checking the facts, lack meaningful editorial oversight, or have an apparent conflict of interest.[8] Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional
WP:ASSERT When a statement is a fact (a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute) it should be asserted without prefixing it with "(Source) says that ...", and when a statement is an opinion (a matter which is subject to dispute) it should be attributed to the source that offered the opinion using inline-text attribution.
WP:SYN :Synthesis of published material that advances a position. Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources.
Thank you and hope to make Wikipedia a better place!
Pgarret (talk) 13:19, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Possible image[edit]

There is an image of a statue at voy:File:ChekovStatue-Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky.jpg that I think could be used here (and/or at the article on Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky (town), where I believe the museum is). (I'm not watching this page.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:06, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

-- (talk) 11:58, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Ukranian Ancestry[edit]

I think it is worth mentioning that Chekhov had Ukranian ancestry. He is known to refer to himself as Ukrainian ("khohol" a slang word for Ukrainian ethnicity) in his personal letters on numerous occasions. Also we know that his father is from Ukraine, so... I think it can be mentioned in the article. "A russian writer with Ukrainian ancestry" or something like that. (talk) 14:44, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

ok dudes here is a link where chekhov is reffering to himself as "ukrainian" ("little russian" it was called back then). here u have a link claiming his grandmother was a ukrainian
here you have a link claiming his grandfather was a ukrainianДед+мой+был+малоросс,+крепостной&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_3Nnn_dnOAhUpJcAKHfGzAxEQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=%D0%94%D0%B5%D0%B4%20%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%B9%20%D0%B1%D1%8B%D0%BB%20%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%2C%20%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B9&f=false's a letter from august 14, 1891 where chekhov writes "my grandfather was a ukrainian("little russian")"...(Дед мой был малоросс, крепостной). I could't find that letter translated in english, but it is out there in russian.
So I think i have provided enough evidence that our guy was at least half ukrainian. There is a lot of personal letters where Chekhov is casually referring to himself as a ukrainian.
ps if u have doubts about what "little russia" means just search it in wiki(

), this is how they used to call ukraine in russian empire (malorosia). (talk) 11:58, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

I appreciate that you may have patriotic reasons for making this change, but you'll need a source in a decent scholarly work in English that says so. That hasn't been provided yet. As Nerdbird89 points out in the edit history, "Chekhov was Ukrainian on his father side:" Chekhov's grandfather was born in a village that was then part of Ukraine and 90% Ukrainian. The Chekhovs, however, were settlers from "Greater Russia" and were of Russian heritage." Changing an article to advance a political agenda isn't appropriate.  • DP •  {huh?} 15:23, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

dude... are u sponsored by kremlin or something? I gave you valid links that approving that some of Chekhov grandparents were ukranians and that chekhov himself wrote that he is Ukrainian in his personal letters. The links that I provided you are good and valid. U have no reason to accept them. The article itself uses this same links (gutenberg project and nytimes). (talk) 15:30, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

You see, that response demonstrates why the edit is inappropriate. The Guttenberg project link went to page not found when i followed it. The biography doesn't say what you claim it does. When there are sociopolitical tensions, as in this example, relating to such edits, a precautionary approach is the most appropriate. If you have a source that says what you're claiming, that's fine.  • DP •  {huh?} 15:35, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

what about the new york times? are they good enough for you? (talk) 15:36, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

I just read it. It doesn't say what you claim it does. To say nothing of the WP:undue issues of promoting such a claim in the lede. You need to reach a consensus here on the talk page before making the change. It's a featured article.  • DP •  {huh?} 15:38, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

ok no problem, lets talk and establish a consensus. 1.Did you see in that article that Chekhov grandmother was Ukrainian? did it or didn't the article said that??2. here another link chekhov says "Moreover, I imagine the journey will be six months of incessant hard work, physical and mental, and that is essential for me, for I am a Little Russian and have already begun to be lazy. Here he is clearly reffering to himself as Ukrainian (little russian). what is ur response pls? (talk) 15:46, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

buddy you are fading away on me. talk to me, lets work it out:
1."Chekhov's paternal grandmother Efrosinia Emelianovna, whom her grandchildren saw even less, for she rarely left the farm, was Ukrainian."
do you see this? respond please.
2."Moreover, I imagine the journey will be six months of incessant hard work, physical and mental, and that is essential for me, for I am a Little Russian and have already begun to be lazy."
what about this too? what you have to say about it? work with me.. (talk) 16:11, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
As I have already said, the claim you keep inserting is not supported by the source and you are conducting original research. If I return to find the article reverted again, I will post you to be blocked from editing. Politically motivated edits are inappropriate.  • DP •  {huh?} 16:39, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I see from your comments on USchick's talk page:

the russians are putting a lot of effort for erasing any mention of ukrainians in their culture or history. even when they have to acknowledge that someone is ukrainian, they call him "maloross" instead or something like that."

that this is clearly and unambiguously a politically motivated "fight" by you ("Now I'm fighting for Chekhov recognition as partially ukrainian, on his father side, but someone keeps erasing it"). As commendable as you imagine that to be, Wikipedia is not an appropriate place. This is an encyclopaedia that reflects scholarly consensus -- not nationalistic pride nor Russian hegemony.  • DP •  {huh?} 16:45, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

wow... "the big brother is watching you" (george orwell, 1984). excuse me, but what do you care about my personality and my personal motives? U should only respond to the content of the information I'm providing and the arguments I'm making, instead of focusing on my personality. That makes me think that you the one here that is politically motivated. Now I provided two very reliable sources, the new york times that directly says that Chekhov's grandmother is a Ukranian, and gutenberg project ( try this link) where Chekhov is referring to himself as little Rissian. I provided 2 very reliable sources to you and asked for your response, instead you focused on my personality that has nothing to do with anything. And this is not "conducting my own research", this is providing sources that directly support Chekhov being partially Ukrainian. I thought this is how wikipedia works. I ask you once again to respond, how is an information about Chekhov grandma being Ukranian and Chekhov himself identifying himself as Ukrainian does't justify mentioning it in the article???? AHHH???? Am I talking to myself here? (talk) 23:34, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

I have no interest in your personality (including the your suspicions voiced once again in the last message), only with your editing. When the issue involves active poltical and cultural conflict in the world, as it does in this matter, then a precautionary approach is the most appropriate. I looked at the two sources you claimed supported what you'd written. One didn't exist and the other did not say what you claimed. If your claims require deductive reasoning, they are, necessarily, original research.  • DP •  {huh?} 00:06, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Another note: maybe, one day, the standard text books treating Anton Chekhov will routinely describe him as a Ukrainian writer. I have absolutely no preference one way or the other. That is not the issue here. Wikipedia is not a forum to advance such innovations. I have on my desk, for example, the Cambridge Guide to World Theatre and the standard American set-text History of the Theatre. Neither is involved in the political and cultural conflicts between Russia and the Ukraine. Neither describes Chekhov as a Ukrainian writer nor give any indication that such a designation is in any way important. When they do, then you will be perfectly justified in wishing to see that reflected in this article. Until that time, it constitutes undue emphasis and a non-encyclopaedic bias. I looked at your contributions, not as the function of a big-brother surveillance, but to see if your contributions were on the whole balanced and encyclopaedic. What I found immediately was that you are editing as a contribution to a cultural-political fight, quite explicitly stated. This is not the forum for that kind of activity.  • DP •  {huh?} 00:14, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't care about political or cultural conflicts. I care about the truth. Maybe in this specific case I'm more personally motivated, but it's still doesn't matter as long as what I'm saying can be proved. No one says that Chekhov is Ukrainian writer, he is a Russian writer, but he is at least half Ukrainian by ethnicity. U still refuse to relate to the links I gave you. Please focus only on the links. You have the New York Times claiming his grandma was Ukrainian, and I gave you a new ling of Gutenberg project that works(, where in one of his letters Chekhov claims that he is "little Russian". Lets please focus on that, and only that. Is Chekhov calling himself as Ukrainian is not enough for you? I feel like u are deliberately avoiding the discussion. (talk) 04:48, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

In 3 generations, only Chechov's paternal grandmother was of Ukrainian ethnicity. The fact checkow called himself 'maloross' in certain contexts ("Little Russian") does not mean he was Ukrainian. Little Russia is a geographical concept inhabited by Ukrainians, Russians, Ukrainian Cossacks, Russian Cossacks, Serbs, Germans, and who else not. It did have a distinct "South Russian" cultural identity, and that's what Chechow had in mind, not his ethnicity. This fact already covered in the article (that his father was born in area of modern Ukraine), but this does not make anton Checkow "Ukrainian". At most, specific facts may be added, about his pater-granma being Ukrainian and the rest were ethic Russians. - üser:Altenmann >t 02:51, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

LOL So to claim that Chekhov was an ethnic russian no proofs are needed, but you need proofs to claim that he was ukrainian. Looks like double standards to me. As for ur claim for the meaning of "little russian" (maloross), and that it's not an ethnicity but a region, u clearly don't know what u are talking about. In russian empire there were greatrussians, belorussians and littlerussians. There was not such a thing as "ukrainian". Today's ukraine and ukrainian language were called "littlerussia" and "littlerussian" language. Even in the official population registration u could register urself as greatrussian or little russian, but not "ukrainian". So back then when a person would say i'm littleRussian, it's very clear that he meant ukrainian. Also in russian letters Chekhov often referred to himself as "hohol", which is another slang word for "ukrainian". I also provided a link in russian, where Chekhov is writing that his grandfather also was a littlerussian. U cannot ignore the facts. A small mention that Chekhov was half Ukrainian won't hurt, especially if it's true. (talk) 04:23, 25 August 2016 (UTC) Here is a ukrainian site claiming that Chekhov grandpa was also Ukranian ("Anton Chekhov, the great writer, confirmed that his grandfather was Ukrainian.") (talk) 05:02, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

euromaidanpress is political propaganda source, not scholar source. and grandpa was not ukrainian, only one of grandmas. as for maloross - it is you who does not know what you are talking about. i gave explanation, read it again. one should not confuse ethnicity and locality. and there was 'ukraine' in russian empire (and in Poland), or you are bying this bullshit that only Bolsheviks made Ukraine. however your and my opinions are irrelevant for this article. you can write here that he is ukrainian only if you cite a serious biography which says so. the rest is speculations that have no place in wikipedia article. - üser:Altenmann >t 06:36, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I didn't say that bolsheviks made Ukraine, all I said that in Russian Empire there was no official recognition of Ukraine. And u couldn't register urself as "ukrainian", only as "maloross". (talk) 07:16, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
Official recognition is irrelevant: we do call people "Ukrainians" from these times if reputable sources say so. - üser:Altenmann >t 06:38, 26 August 2016 (UTC)

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