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.
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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
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These may be furthermore of use
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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)