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Uncle Vanya

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  19,179 ratings  ·  679 reviews
Famous play by the great Russian short story writer and playwright. His major plays are frequently revived in modern productions.
Paperback, 116 pages
Published June 7th 2006 by Dodo Press (first published June 2nd 1897)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Read it yourself. It's not difficult and won't take more than an hour. We're not here to do your homework for you.…moreRead it yourself. It's not difficult and won't take more than an hour. We're not here to do your homework for you.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Дядя Ваня = Dyadya Vanya = Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekhov

Uncle Vanya is a play by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It was first published in 1898.

The play portrays the visit of an elderly professor and his glamorous, much younger second wife, Yelena, to the rural estate that supports their urban lifestyle.

Two friends—Vanya, brother of the professor's late first wife, who has long managed the estate, and Astrov, the local doctor—both fall under Yelena's spell, while bemoaning the ennui of thei
...more
Henry Avila
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
An old retired ailing professor, the gout, Alexandre Serebriakov living with relatives just before the turn of the twentieth century in the isolated lonely Russian countryside on the struggling large estate, he inherited too soon from
his dead wife (how long will it survive? ) fanatically preoccupied in writing which no one else cares about anymore, he was a former minor celebrity, neglects the world around, anti- social , aloof and now left alone his choice, causing friction in the leaderless
...more
Lisa
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
I really think there should be the option "seen" on Goodreads for the plays we experience on stage. It is much more powerful than merely reading them.

Spending a few days in London with my three teenagers last week, we all agreed on the favourite treats: the two (very different) theatre performances we watched, one of which was Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre in Westend.

Those scenes in the end, when Uncle Vanya, Astrov and Sonya reflect on their suffering, and find hope in the idea that
...more
Kenny
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Oh, yes! I used to be an inspiring personality who never inspired anybody!
Vanya Act I


Random fact: Vanya translates to Joe in English. The literal title of Chekhov's play in English is Uncle Joe.

This review is both on Chekhov's play, and David Mamet's translation. Uncle Vanya is often relegated to the weakest of Chekhov's four major plays. That is unfortunate since it is an amazing work. I will admit, I'm not a fan of Mamet's work, but in his Chekhov translations, Mamet's writing is amazing. In
...more
Lyn
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Uncle Vanya was completed by Russian playwright, author and doctor Anton Chekhov in 1897 and first produced in Moscow in 1899. This fairly complicated interaction between a group of people, secluded in a country estate is filled with dramatic irony and with overwhelming themes of introspection, ennui and dashed hopes. To say it is bleak would be like saying Conan O’Brien can be a snarky smart ass.

But this is Russian drama, so some darkness can be expected, even anticipated. I wonder if long, col
...more
Dave Schaafsma
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, russian
The Reduced Shakespeare Company performed a shortened version of Uncle Vanya on their BBC radio show, which contained only three lines:

Are you Uncle Vanya?
I am.
[Gunshot sounds]
Ouch!

“One hundred years from now, the people who come after us, for whom our lives are showing the way--will they think of us kindly? Will they remember us with a kind word? I wish to God I could think so.”

I listened to an LA Theater Works Production featuring Stacy Keach as Uncle Vanya, translated/adapted by David Mamet.
...more
Jason
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, reviewed, for-kindle
Another great Anton Chekhov play. I’m not really sure what it is I love about Chekhov, though if I had to narrow it down I might attribute that love to some of his more pitiable characters—think Lubov Andreyevna, for example, or Treplev from The Seagull. Or I might say that there’s a kind of understatedness to his plots that bring his plays to life in a way that is often unmatched. There are recurring themes, also, that unify his four major works. The characters in Uncle Vanya discuss at length ...more
Lea
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, classic, plays
Similar themes as in Three Sisters, but I liked Three Sisters better than Uncle Vanya, even though I really enjoyed this play also.
We have three male characters in existential, middle-life crisis and two females unsatisfied with their lives, but seeking consolation in love, faith in God and ideals. The melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere is present throughout the whole play as well as the sense of tiredness of life.

ASTROFF. … And then, existence is tedious, anyway; it is a senseless, dirty bus
...more
M.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dramaturgy
Just this.
"We must live our lives. Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle,
...more
Steven Godin
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
If memory serves me correct, I do believe this was the first play I ever read, and as one of the masters of Russian literature, I guess Chekhov wasn't a bad place to start. Receiving it's Moscow première in 1899 in a production by the Moscow Art Theatre, the play is not the sort of read to expect to be wildly entertained, but from a cultural and historical stance, it is rather interesting. Some of the dialogues momentarily look like monologues because they are so long. The life philosophies thou ...more
Brina
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have finally come to the end of 2020. I managed to average 11 books a month in this crazy year. I finished with a play. This year I discovered the writing of Anton Chekhov, and he was brilliant, ahead of his time. Uncle Vanya has love triangles and even squares and characters discussing that the destruction of the world will come from hatred of people rather than war. He even touched on man’s destruction of the forests. Few thought of these things in the 1880s and yet there Chekhov was 140 ye ...more
d.a.v.i.d
Ennui.

From serf to aristocrat, the incessant race to outrun boredom, insignificance, futility.

Insert- histrionics, war, accusation, blame, infatuation, certification, profession, materialism, religion, faith, posterity, captiousness, dependence.

Life. The fabricated rationalizations that constantly strive to alchemize vacuity to consequence.

Human hubris.

Folly.
B. P. Rinehart
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Astrov [shouts angrily]: Stop it! [Softening tone] Those who will come after us, in two or three hundred years, and who will despise us for having lived our lives so stupidly and insipidly--perhaps they will find a means of happiness...In the whole district there were only two decent, cultured men: you and I. But after ten years of this contemptible, barbarian existence we have been encompassed by it--it has poisoned our blood with its putrid fumes and we have become just such vulgarians as all ...more
Duane
I enjoy Chekhov's short stories immensely, I think many of them would make very good plays. But he also wrote good plays, and Uncle Vanya was one of the best. It's about one Russian family and their interfamily relationships, featuring jealousy, secret amorous longings, and common bickering, that occur over a span of a few days. I know it's meant to be a serious play, and it is, but I couldn't help but be amused by some of their actions and conversations. I would love to see this one on stage. ...more
Trish
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I came upon this play at just the right moment, when I could see it in isolation and yet reflecting the connections between it and all the other great plays about family interaction, unrequited love, and human despair. It reminded me strongly of Eugene O'Neill or Arthur Miller, filled with a kind of crazy inability to act, to move, to change.

I had no idea previously that Chekov was writing directly to all of us, the people "one hundred or two hundred years from now" who would be facing an enviro
...more
Matt

Seen the Louis Malle movie a bunch of times, saw it performed as a kind of farcical romp once, read the actual play several times over.

It's my favorite among the Chekhov plays I've read. Stunning, relate-able, so agonizingly true to life (the love triangles, dorky-but-sweet professor type doesn't notice the simple heart who loves him, wretched old man whose longing for the beautiful lady is simultaneously his idea of redemption and self-pity, on and on....) and with an ending that gently plac
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I am a big fan of Chekhov and Uncle Vanya is among his best plays. Set in provincial tsarist Russia, it demonstrates the tensions rising in Russian society that moves inevitably towards the crises of the early 20th C. Chekhov was more pessimistic than Tolstoy and FAR less religious than Dostoyevski. His writing - the strong emotional portent of his characters and the tendency to violence - sort of echo the style of Dostoyevski while the provincial bourgeoise life that is satirized here is remini ...more
Vishy
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I decided to start October with 'Uncle Vanya' by Anton Chekhov. This is my third Chekhov play after 'Three Sisters' and 'The Seagull'.

'Uncle Vanya' starts in typical Chekovian fashion. There is a country estate, there are family, friends and relatives there, they talk for most of the time and there is not much of a plot, there is inappropriate kind of love with one character being in love with another character's wife or husband, some of the characters contrast the beauty of thought and ideas an
...more
Peter Looles
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
6.5/10
It was fine.
For me the basic plot of this play is that the one loves the other, the other loves someone else and that someone else loves the one. Of course it's more than that. It's also about people having realisations. The realisation that they don't love the one they are with, the realisation that they'll never be loved by the one they love, the realisation that they wasted all their life and they'll never be happy and more. In general it's a very nice play with many very interesting i
...more
Alan
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First saw this at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, nearly five decades ago (1969)--before I had read it in translation or (parts) in Russian. (The title, Дядя Ваня can be understood after two weeks of Russian.) The Guthrie had the tone just right--a comedy with a sad ending? Rather like so many Shakespeare tragedies with (somewhat) happy endings-- RIII,even MacBeth. Back then it was rare to see Checkov anything but dreary, quasi-tragic, similar to Ibsen.
Dr. Astrov's resounding support for the
...more
Iulian
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"SONYA. What can we do? We must live our lives. [A pause] Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, ...more
David Sarkies
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Modernists and people who like Russian literature
Recommended to David by: I've always wanted to read Chekov
Shelves: modernist
The nobility in a time of transition
11 October 2013

This is the last of the four Chekov plays that was in the book that I picked up in a second hand bookshop in Adelaide. The main reason that I grabbed the book was because I had never read anything by Chekov before, and also it was one of those nice hardcover editions (though I suspect that it is actually a part of a much larger collection of world literature, like the ones that are advertised in television in one of those ridiculously long info
...more
Vegantrav
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Bleak.

Very bleak and dreary, like the Russian countryside in winter.

Not my cup of tea--especially the cold, bitter tea on offer in this play.

Can I say that Uncle Vanya is not boring yet is also not interesting without sounding absurd? It didn't bore me, yet I had no real interest in it as I read. The play is so short that its drabness does not deter the reader from finishing it.

There really is hardly any plot here: just a slice of the flat, listless lives of the characters who populate this r
...more
Jayanth - A Capricious Reader
A nice play depicting the sad and troublesome state of things in a Russian family.

The premise is that an old man comes back home with a very young wife after his first wife dies. This affects the rest of the people living in the household in different ways. It is a sad story and the dialogue between some of the characters was so moving.

The dramatic narration on Librivox is great.
Jana
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I liked the book quite a lot, unexpectedly.
Kenny
Clear, sturdy translation is somewhat stilted by Stark Young. Too influenced by the British translations of the day.
Mark André
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
A sort of cynical humor. But what was it about?
Pavel
The end of this play is the lightest piece of prose ever written. In the darkest hour it actually tells me that there's still hope. I know this sounds pompous and yes, you have to go through whole play to get to this part, but still... I know this words by heart in Russian, not sure if it sounds that good in translation, copying it from some web site:

"We must live our lives. Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evening
...more
Jim
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Anton Chekhov's plays are so dense with the aura of disappointment that it is difficult to summarize them. Here we have a country estate which is run by Ivan and Sonia, unmarried brother and sister, for the benefit of their selfish father, the now retired Professor Serebryakov and his young wife. Ivan loves Serebryakov's twentyish wife Yelena; and Sonia, Doctor Astrov, who is in turn also in love with Yelena and thoroughly tired of her aging husband's hypochondria.

Even Astrov realizes that his
...more
J.V. Seem
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
In my present state, spending Christmas at the psych ward to be kept an eye on while I test drugs, I feel it's only fitting to read the people who would understand: the Russians. I spent pretty much all of yesterday sitting in the living room here reading Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.

I realized pretty soon that not only do Anton Chekhov's plays have a lot in common, but Uncle Vanya is pretty much the same story as The Cherry Orchard; it shares that many common themes. But rather than feeling that this
...more
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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russian: Антон Павлович Чехов ) was born in the small seaport of Taganrog, southern Russia, the son of a grocer. Chekhov's grandfather was a serf, who had bought his own freedom and that of his three sons in 1841. He also taught himself to read and write. Yevgenia Morozova, Chekhov's mother, was the daughter of a cloth merchant.

"When I think back on my childhood," Chekh
...more

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