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Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey
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Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A perfect match of author and subject. In an effort to know one of her favorite writers better. Janet Malcolm -- who has brought light to the dark and complicated corners of psychoanalysis and has exposed the treacheries inherent within journalism--traveled to Russia and the places where Chekhov lived and worked. Out of her encounters with modern-day Russians she builds br ...more
Hardcover, 212 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by Random House (first published 2001)
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Terence
Sep 17, 2009 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: New Shelf @ library
This is a slim volume (205 pages) for lovers of Chekhov who neither want nor need any in-depth analysis of the stories (which is not to say we get no analysis, just that it's measured and doesn't overwhelm the reader). This is Janet Malcolm's extended essay on why Chekhov is such a brilliant writer and why we should read him - often.

What I particularly like about Malcolm is that she manages to articulate why I like the man so much. Yet, having written that previous sentence just now I still can'
...more
Charles
Janet Malcolm made a journey through Russia in the Yeltsin era in pursuit of a better understanding of Chekhov. This slim volume is a record of her travels and thoughts about the writer and his work. It strikes me as a book written to give a tangible purpose to a journey she wanted to make, rather than being a book for which she needed to make the journey, if you see what I mean.

Her critical analysis, which pulls together a close reading of many of the stories as well as examining the various s
...more
Eric
As a Chekhov fan, I enjoy reading clues into the author’s personal life. The highlight of this work is the two letters he writes to his brothers, one of which outlines the path to living as a person of culture; and the other explaining why he should not sit around his house in Oblomovian fashion. While I cannot recommend Reading Chekhov ahead of reading Chekhov (out of my system), I think Janet Malcolm’s astute observations are a worthy supplement to the Chekhovian works.
I was taken aback by som
...more
Greta Gilbertson
Interesting for me as I knew little about Chekhov. (Even how to spell his name). Malcolm writes about him while visiting Russia so she can add another dimension or layer to her discussion. This book presents Chechov and his work as enigmatic but compelling. Malcolm tries to explain how the grandson of a serf became one of Russia's most famous writers.
JBEG
I can't help it: Janet Malcom's ego really gets in the way of enjoying her prose. I eagerly jumped from Chekhov passage to Chekhov passage, attempting to skip over her snarky assessment of her Russian help. --b
Gemma
A delightful, easy read for any lover of Chekhov
The_Freddy
I read this in a way to attune myself to my upcoming research for a presentation and a paper about Chekhov, and as such it was a very pleasant read.
Malcolm has written a very jaunty book, a quick and easy literary biography that doesn't stay at the surface. Her analysis of Chekhovs work is well researched, but not dragging.
While reading the book gave me a lot of starting points for more research about Chekhov. What Malcolm brings to the attention several times, and what I think is very true abou
...more
Jim
I have always loved Chekhov's work, even his Letters from Sakhalin and his notebooks. Janet Malcolm's little book is a very readable and at times perspicacious look at a deceptively subtle writer. The one thing I found somewhat discordant is the character of Janet Malcolm herself. When one inserts one's own experiences into a book like this, one is also introducing oneself as one of the characters. I felt ambivalent about Malcolm, feeling that she had little real understanding of Russia and Russ ...more
Konsumschnecke
Für jemanden wie mich, der gerne noch ein bisschen mehr von den Autoren wissen mag, ist dieses Buch perfekt. Ich gebe zu, Tschechow bisher nicht gelesen zu haben, sondern ich habe nur zwei drei Theaterstücke von ihm auf der Schauspielbühne gesehen. Nach dem Lesen dieses Buches mag ich auch seine Erzählungen lesen und vor allem finde ich es höchst putzig, wie Tschechow über seine Kollegen disst. Sehr schon, wie Janet Malcolm auf den Spuren von Tschechow in Russland von heute, Zitate und Begegnung ...more
Yana Stajno
Terrific accompaniment to reading Chekhov. Made me want to read all his short stories again. A thoughtful series of notes on him - his various works, his influences, the times, his life - just enough of that but not too much. Janet Malcolm is good company in any case.
Einschrein
Very interesting material - must be read in conjuction with Chekhov's stories.
Robbie
Jun 18, 2012 Robbie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Enjoyable, but not as unified as her book on Plath.
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“Biographers rue the destruction or loss of letters; they might also curse the husband and wife who never leave each other’s side, and thus perform a kind of epistolary abortion.” 1 likes
“Drawing conclusions is up to the jury, that is, the readers. My only job is to be talented, that is, to know how to distinguish important testimony from unimportant, to place my characters in the proper light and speak their language.” 0 likes
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