Approaches to Teaching the Works of Anton Chekhov
Chekhov's works are unflinching in the face of human frailty. With their emphasis on the dignity and value of individuals during unique moments, they help us better understand how to exist with others when we are fundamentally alone. Written in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century, when the country began to move fitfully toward industrialization and grappled with the influence of Western liberalism even as it remained an autocracy, Chekhov's plays and stories continue to influence contemporary writers.
The essays in this volume provide classroom strategies for teaching Chekhov's stories and plays, discuss how his medical training and practice related to his literary work, and compare Chekhov with writers both Russian and American. The volume also aims to help instructors with the daunting array of new editions in English, as well as with the ever-growing list of titles in visual media: filmed theater productions of his plays, adaptations of the plays and stories scripted for film, and amateur performances freely available online.
About the Authors
Michael C. Finke is professor and department head of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He is the coeditor, with Julie de Sherbinin, of Chekhov the Immigrant: Translating a Cultural Icon (2007) and the author of Seeing Chekhov: Life and Art (2005) and Metapoesis: The Russian Tradition from Pushkin to Chekhov (1995).
Michael Holquist is professor emeritus of comparative literature at Yale University and a senior fellow at the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. He is a past president of the MLA and author of Dostoevsky and the Novel (1977); Mikhail Bakhtin, with Katerina Clark; and Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World (1990). He has also edited or translated several volumes of the works of Mikhail Bakhtin.
"This volume brings together masterful teachers of literature who share expertise in how to read Chekhov's work, gained over decades of working with undergraduates. A fascinating and instructive project which is both thought-provoking and pragmatic." —Angela Brintlinger, Ohio State University