The Duel (Chekhov story)

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"The Duel" is a novella by Anton Chekhov first published in 1891. It was adapted for the screen by Iosif Kheifits in 1973 (as The Bad Good Man, starring Vladimir Vysotsky) and by Dover Kosashvili in 2010 (as The Duel).


"The Duel" was first serialized in Aleksey Suvorin's newspaper Novoye Vremya in October–November, 1891, and then in book form by Suvorin in December, 1891. The story was included in Chekhov's Collected Works in 1901.[1]


The story primarily focuses on Ivan Andreich Laevsky and Nadyezhda Fyodorovna, lovers who have moved to the Caucasus. Nadezhda is married to another man and some townspeople disapprove of the couple living together. Laevsky confides in his friend Samoilenko that he no longer loves Nadyezhda. Laevsky drinks, gambles, and lacks direction.

The scientist Von Koren feels that Laevsky's slovenly lifestyle is worthless. In fact, Von Koren feels killing Laevsky would be beneficial to society, an act of natural selection. Von Koren's dislike builds until he formally challenges Laevsky to a pistol duel.

The tension at the duel steadily increases. None of the men in attendance, with the possible exception of Von Koren, want to see the challenge completed. Fortunately for Laevsky, a deacon stops the duel before either man is slain. Laevsky's near-death experience leads him back to Nadyezhda, and motivates him to turn his life around.


  1. ^ Makanowitzky, Barbara. Anton Chekhov: Seven Short Novels; Introduction. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0393005526. Retrieved June 24, 2012. 

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