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Anton Chekhov: A Life
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Anton Chekhov: A Life

Donald Rayfield
Narrated By : Fred Williams
Published By : Blackstone Audio Inc
29 hours
Categories : Biography
Download Price : $59.95 $49.95
"Rayfield has done Chekhov and his readers a great service. His efforts have uncovered
a Chekhovcomplex, troubling and ambiguouswho finally feels right as the man behind the art."
New York Times Book Review

Anton Chekhovs life was short, intense, and dominated by battlesboth with his dependents
and with the tuberculosis that was to kill him at age forty-four. He was one of the greatest
playwrights and short-story writers ever born, but he was torn between medicine and literature,
as he was between family and friends, between a longing for solitude and a need for company.
When he was a child, his family life was at times made a hell by a monstrous father, a
possessive sister, and delinquent elder brothers; his own adult life was tortuously balanced
between the affections of a series of mistresses and a marriage to an actress that was not
as idyllic as it has traditionally been painted.

Donald Rayfields biography strips the whitewash from the image of Chekhov and shows us what
lay behind his restrained, ironic facade. The result does not denigrate him but shows him in the full
heroism of his brief, prodigiously creative life. Rayfield has spent more than three years combing
the Chekhov archives all over Russia (Chekhov was a restless traveler for the whole of his life, going
from Siberia to the Cte dAzur) and has uncovered thousands of documents and letters from
Chekhovs lovers, friends, and family, most of them never published before, which cumulatively
tell of a life far more entangled and turbulent than we ever previously suspected. The many cuts
made in Soviet and foreign editions of Chekhovs and his wifes letters have been restored; what
once was hidden is now revealed.

Chekhovs biography has an extraordinarily rich cast of charactersGorky, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, the
press baron Aleksei Suvorin, the great landscape painter Isaak Levitan, and Chekhovs wife, Olga
Knipper, widely acknowledged as the greatest female interpreter of his work. Anton Chekhov is a vivid
portrait of Russia and Russian society one hundred years ago, as well as an investigation of the emotions,
ideas, conflicts, and experiences that Chekhov built into his stories and plays. Above all, it is the moving
story of an artists sometimes ruthless, often covert fight to save his creativity from strangulation by illness
and family. It will establish itself as the definitive modern biography.

Fred Williams, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, works in theater, film, TV, and radio in England, Ireland, and America. Besides narrating audiobooks, he is a performer in living-history re-enactments, an archer, and a poet.

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