Chekhov's 10 recommended works - Chekhov is also interesting in novels! We introduce you to the charms of his works, which are not limited to his plays!

Chekhov Masterpieces by the great Russian writer Chekhov

10 Chekhov recommended works

I continue to update this blog on Dostoevsky with the theme "Shinran and Dostoevsky".

In the course of his studies, he met Chekhov, one of Russia's most famous writers.

Dostoevsky stares into the depths of human beings' sludgy chaos. He penetrates to the depths of his characters' hearts and minds. The great thing about Dostoevsky is that he allows us, the readers, to experience it as well. And this is made possible by his unique, black-magic style of storytelling.

Dostoevsky's approach was not so much to the human being in relation to society, but to the roots of the human being that lie within each individual person.

In contrast, Chekhov looked into the hearts of people living in society. He looks into the mind of each individual in the context of human interactions in a certain environment. It is not simply a question of the individual, but of the individual in the group.

Chekhov is a formidable adult. It is a shame that such a great writer is so little known in Japan.

His works are not only interesting but also shake our "way of seeing things" and "sense of values.

Dostoevsky also has an overwhelming power to knock the reader into chaos and turn our worldview upside down.

Dostoevsky is a mad writer, for better or worse, as he moves forward with a strong personality.

Unlike Dostoevsky, however, Chekhov appeals to us with a more sober and gentle gaze.

There is a calmness in Chekhov that envelops us. This cool, gentle calm is a major characteristic of Chekhov.

In this article, we will introduce 10 recommended works that are full of such Chekhov's charm.

We will discuss each of these in more detail in their respective articles, so please refer to the links as well.

So let's get started.

What is Chekhov?

Chekhov (1860-1904)Wikipedia.

First, before we get into the introduction of the work, here is one important aspect of reading Chekhov.

Chekhov was born in 1860 in the port town of Taganrog in southern Russia.

Chekhov's family was originally serfs. Chekhov's father owned a store, but being a serf and a merchant was of great significance to Chekhov as well.

Herein lies a major difference with Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Turgenev, writers from aristocratic backgrounds.

And a very important point to know about Chekhov is that he was a doctor. He is known all over the world as a writer, but he was a doctor and a writer, or a writer and a doctor, and he wrote his works all his life.

Especially during his medical school days and for a while after he became a writer, he even managed to write to make ends meet in order to support his financial situation. Even after his debut as a writer, Chekhov never gave up his doctor's career.

The doctor will look at the world scientifically. This dispassionate perspective will become a characteristic of Chekhov's literature.

A doctor and writer from a peasant family.

This is a very important aspect of knowing Chekhov.

The following article discusses Chekhov's life in more detail for those interested.

We will now introduce Chekhov's recommended works.

The ultimate in Chekhov novels! The synopsis of "Ward No. 6" - too horrific, too shocking!

This work may be said to be one of the best, or perhaps the most gruesome, stories in Chekhov's oeuvre.

Just reading the synopsis of the film, in which the director is somehow made a psychopath, fired from the hospital, and even thrown into a psych ward to die there, gives you a glimpse of the horror of the film, but if you read the film, you will understand the horror even more. It is probably scarier than watching any horror movie.

However, this fear is not "horror-movie fear," but the fear of being confronted with human nature and one's own falsehood.

When you read this piece, you may ask yourself, "What? What am I then? What's the difference between this director and a psychotic? What is the difference between sanity and insanity? Is the only way for me to be used by those who live cunningly? Is everything meaningless in the face of ...... violence?" Various questions will come to mind, such as.

This work made one of the strongest impressions on me, not only of Chekhov, but of any book I have read recently. I hope this work will spread more and more in Japan.

The ultimate in Chekhov novels! The synopsis of "Ward No. 6" - too horrific, too shocking!

Chekhov's "A Tale of Boredom" Synopsis Commentary - Tolstoy's acclaimed masterpiece and short story.

The title of this piece is "A Boring Story," but when you read it, it is far from boring. It is a tremendous work.

The sad old state of affairs of an old professor who has acquired status and honor is written in the form of an unaffected memoir.

No matter how glorious the honor, prestige, or status, they will fade away in the face of death.

Everything that you thought had sustained you until now loses its meaning, and you begin to feel like a naked person waiting to die.

If it were only about you, that would still be fine. But the problem is that everything around you starts to look snobby.

Even my wife and daughter, whom I should have loved, look like that. She should have loved them so much once, but now she is such a miserable woman. There is no longer a shadow to be seen... (This does not mean that it is a matter of appearance. It's just a mental thing.)

Chekhov does not give the old professor an answer to what life is about until the very end.

In this novel, Chekhov attempted to "raise" rather than "solve" a problem. Chekhov himself had not yet found the solution, but he wanted the readers to think about the solution themselves.

Even the great Tolstoy marveled at the power of this work.

I guess you could say that the power of this work is that immeasurable.

Chekhov's mid-term masterpiece, "A Tale of Boredom," is also highly recommended.

Chekhov's "A Tale of Boredom" Synopsis Commentary - Tolstoy's acclaimed masterpiece and short story.

Chekhov's "The Monk in Black" Synopsis Commentary - Is there a fine line between genius and madness?

He has a mental illness from which he talks to the hallucinations he has created.

This is reminiscent of Ivan, the main character in The Brothers Karamazov. He, too, is mentally ill and communicates with a demon of his own creation. He, too, communicates with his demons, even though he knows it is a hallucination.

And what is interesting about this work is still the question of whether there is a fine line between genius and madness.

What is genius? Conversely, what is madness? If thinking differently from others or seeing things differently from others is insanity, then geniuses are all lunatics in need of treatment.

And since the geniuses who are touted in the street are not geniuses after all, ordinary people are merely celebrated as geniuses. The protagonist, Corblin, says he is fed up with such a world.

This piece also thrills us. Chekhov is uncommonly skillful in raising issues. He accurately grasps what we usually overlook and presents it in a way that surprises us most. This work is also extremely interesting. I read it in one sitting.

Chekhov's "The Monk in Black" Synopsis Commentary - Is there a fine line between genius and madness?

Chekhov's "Duel" Synopsis - A masterpiece that settles the "superfluous" genealogy of the Russian literary tradition.

As I will discuss in more detail within this article, the "extraordinaires," a tradition in Russian literature, were bored with life and thrown into living.

Chekhov, however, puts Raevsky, a descendant of such a superfluous person, to the test in this work.

This was a life-threatening situation: an unsuccessful relationship with a lover, financial ruin, a never-ending series of lies to protect self, a lover's infidelity, and finally, a duel.

Raevsky's life took a different path after this crisis than it had before.

All of his "extra" predecessors up to that point had met with futile and tragic ends. Chekhov, however, set Raevsky on a different path. He suffered, but he found a way to live. No, he would continue to struggle to find it.

It seems to me that this work is quite groundbreaking if one considers the "extraordinaire" tradition of Russian literature.

Chekhov was a writer who kept asking himself what the meaning of life is. For him, the theme of how to overcome the idea of the superfluous people who throw away the idea that "life is meaningless and empty, and there is nothing I can do about it anyway" seems to have been very important.

This work is a very useful history of Russian literature. It describes very clearly what an extraordinarian is. And how he found his new path was also very interesting.

Chekhov's "Duel" Synopsis - A masterpiece that settles the "superfluous" genealogy of the Russian literary tradition.

Synopsis of Chekhov's "The Man in the Box" - The End of a Slave Man Who Abandoned His Spiritual Freedom

The Man in the Box was published in 1898. It is the first of Chekhov's trilogy of short stories, which was followed by "Suguri" and "On Love.

The "man in a box" in the title refers to a certain man described in this story.

The man, whose name was Behrikov, was a school teacher.

However, his pettiness made him unable to make decisions on his own, and he was a man who could not live without the approval of his superiors, that is, those in power.

A ban by the higher-ups is nothing to think about for those who obey it. The only evil is the person who breaks it. It is simple and clear.

However, when it comes to permits and approvals, he has to think for himself to some extent about what is acceptable and what is not. He is afraid to think for himself.

Behrikov was strict with the rules anyway, prosecuting and snitching on violators. This man completely changed the face of the city. We had to be very nervous about everything we did. In the end, they couldn't even help each other.

The box called the system. What is decided by the higher-ups is the box, and if he doesn't blindly follow it, he will feel insecure. He is afraid to step out of the box and think for himself. He believes that as long as he is inside the box, he is protected. He believes that.

Eventually, after an incident, Behrikov became mentally ill and his health deteriorated, and he passed away unexpectedly.

Chekhov's sharp point is that while a "man in a box" like Belykov may indeed make those around him unhappy, he also criticizes himself for having a more or less boxy element.

Instead of ending with, "Guys like Belicoff are the worst," we should ask, "What about yourself? How are you different from him? What are you doing for the people around you? What are you doing for the people around you?

This was a piercing "ugh..." when I read it. Chekhov's insight into people is really sharp.

It is not as if I am being lectured to over my head, but as I listen to the conversation, I feel as if I am being overwhelmed by my own inadequacies.

Chekhov is a man who is capable of expressing so much in a short work of only about 20 pages.

Synopsis of Chekhov's "The Man in the Box" - The End of a Slave Man Who Abandoned His Spiritual Freedom

Chekhov's "Suguri" Synopsis - A masterpiece that asks what happiness is! Is happiness possible only at someone else's expense?

Although it is a short work of less than 15 pages, it is a masterpiece that condenses Chekhov's views on life and happiness. Chekhov researcher Seiro Sato also wrote about this work,

Suguri" is a wonderful and in some ways frightening work. The content of this short work is comparable to that of a full-length novel.

Hanawa Shobo, Seiro Sato, Chekhov's Literature, p. 104

He praised the film highly. It is a work that makes you think about what happiness is.

We can't say much about this work here because it would be too long, but we do talk about it in more detail in the article, so please take a look at it.

Chekhov's "Suguri" Synopsis - What is happiness? Is happiness possible without someone else's sacrifice?

Chekhov's "Rothschild's Violin" Synopsis - A moving story of grief and awakening of a man who has wasted his life.

This work is also short, at just over 10 pages, but again, the content is so condensed that it draws you in very quickly.

And above all, Yaakov's regret for his kind wife who has been silently devoted to him all these years. This is more tragic than anything else...

It is dramatic that he truly reflected on his life when he happened to come across the place where he remembered his wife on his way home from the cemetery.

It is such a sad scene that I almost cried when I read it.

Although Chekhov has the image of having written many relatively lighthearted works, I was surprised to learn that he also wrote such moving works.

This is a masterpiece. I think it would be the most moving work if it were made into a video.

Chekhov's "Rothschild's Violin" Synopsis - A moving story of grief and awakening of a man who has wasted his life.

Chekhov's "The Lights" Synopsis Commentary - Confrontation with Schopenhauerian Pessimism

The setting is a railroad construction site, the most advanced place of capitalist construction. There, "I" meet Ananiev, an engineer, and Sittenberg, a student, and through their questions and answers, contemplate life.

This is a landmark work for anyone interested in Schopenhauer thought.

This is because the theme of this work is the confrontation of Chekhov's style with Schopenhauerian pessimism. Chekhov scholar Seiro Sato states, "The theme of this work is the confrontation between Chekhov's style and Schopenhauer's pessimism.

With this work, Chekhov, who had always written with flair, seriously tackled for the first time the problem of his time, pessimism. By discussing pessimism, Chekhov directly confronts the critical question, "For what purpose do human beings live? What is the purpose of life for a being who is going to die anyway? Was not the Tower of Babylon doomed to perish in the end? What is the value of life in the face of death? The Lights of the Lights" is a work that attempts to answer this question.

Chikuma Shobo, Seiro Sato, The World of Chekhov's Art, p. 132

I think it is a very interesting question how Chekhov read Schopenhauer and from there became aware of the issues and began to fight against his ideas.

In this sense, "The Lights" is a very important work for understanding Chekhov.

The story is easy to read and concise, as is typical of Chekhov, so it can be read with ease. The number of pages is also compact at about 50 pages, making it easy to read.

I highly recommend this work.

Chekhov's "The Lights" Synopsis Commentary - Confrontation with Schopenhauerian Pessimism

Chekhov's "The Monk" Synopsis - Happy Childhood Memories - A moving story about the reunion and bereavement of a monk and his mother.

A virtuous and honorable high priest, Monk Piotr felt as if he saw his mother, whom he had not seen for nine whole years, during the Mass. This was the beginning of it all.

The next day he is reunited with his mother. He cannot suppress his happy memories of his childhood and his feelings for his mother. However, his mother's attitude was not at all what he was looking for.

My mother's reverential attitude toward Peter as "Master Monk" remained unchanged until the end of his life. This was a shocking attitude for Pyotr, who wanted to be treated as "Pavlusha" (Pyotr's nickname) as he had been in the past.

From Peter's point of view, he was still his mother's beloved son, just as he had been in the past. However, the title of "priest" or "masquerade" has covered the very person of Piotr. His mother could only see him through his "disguise" now. This made Piotr deeply sad.

Soon after, Pyotr contracted typhus, and his condition worsened rapidly.

Pyotr, a dying, emaciated man. He was no longer a "noble monk," but a mortal man. But that is why the mother could see her beloved son, Pavlusha, when she saw him without the "noble monk" disguise.

Piotr himself ended his life satisfied with being able to be "just as he was" at the end.

He was a monk of high rank and virtue, but he had his share of suffering that he carried with him because of being so. He died with the free and happy memories of his childhood and his mother's love in his heart.

The child's feelings for the mother and the mother's feelings for the child.

This is a short story of about 20 pages, but it is unintentionally poignant. The scene where the mother calls out to her son at the end of the story makes me cry no matter how many times I read it.

This work was written in the last years of Chekhov's life.

I believe that Chekhov himself was prepared to not live much longer due to tuberculosis. I felt that the fact that this work was written at such a time is also very significant in understanding Chekhov.

I also recommend this work. It is one of Chekhov's most moving works.

Chekhov's "The Monk" Synopsis - Happy Childhood Memories - A moving story about the reunion and bereavement of a monk and his mother.

Synopsis of Chekhov's masterpiece "The Seagull" - The essence of Chekhov's plays

The Seagull" is Chekhov's masterpiece.

If it is a representative work, that should be interesting.

I thought so and tried to read it, but there was something wrong.

I just can't for the life of me figure out the fun in that...

I read the reference book, and then I read it again and again, but still, "Interesting!" I read it again and again, but it was still not "interesting!

Of course, it is not "boring". However, when compared to Chekhov's other novels, it is difficult to understand how interesting they are. (It is partly because Chekhov's novels are too interesting, and if you compare them, they are inevitably insufficient.)

Why is this so?

I have given this a lot of thought and feel that perhaps this is a "play" that should be viewed as a play and not read as a novel.

Chekhov plays do not have tumultuous stories. It is a simple story of domestic differences. Such a delicate, family-like story is the true essence of Chekhov's plays.

In a book, it is impossible to detect the subtle gestures, tones of voice, and pauses of the characters (after all, it is impossible to write out all of their movements). It is only when the actors actually perform on stage that the audience is struck by the realism of the performance.

The Seagull" is not a novel. It is a play. If it were written as a novel, Chekhov would have written it so that it could be read more like a novel. However, this book is a literal translation of the play "The Seagull.

This is where I thought there might be some difficulty in getting into the book. Please see the article above for more details about this situation.

I have included it in my list of 10 recommendations, but it is my hope that everyone will see it as a play and not as a book. I have never seen it myself, but if I have the chance, I would love to experience it in person.

The same is true for the other four Chekhov plays. I talk about them in the following article, so please take a look at that as well. Personally, I like "The Cherry Orchard" the best among the four great plays. I feel that it has something in common with Japanese sensibilities. The storyline is also the easiest to understand and read among the four major plays.

Synopsis of Chekhov's masterpiece "The Seagull" - The essence of Chekhov's plays

Extra Recommended Reference Book Seiro Sato, "My Heart's Chekhov" - One of the most recommended Chekhov books!

The book is the last Chekhov treatise of a Russian literary scholar who has been involved in Chekhov studies for more than 50 years.

Mr. Seiro Sato has been a regular contributor to my blog, and this book is also excellent.

We have previously published our blog, "Chekhov, a Writer Representing the Late Imperial Russia - For Understanding Russia after the Death of DostoevskyAs I mentioned in my article titled "Chekhov's work," Mr. Seiro Sato was the scholar who inspired me to read Chekhov.

Reading Chekhov has given me a perspective that is one step removed from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are mad writers, for better or worse. With overwhelming force, the two men push forward with their own ideas.

In contrast, Chekhov takes a step back and looks at people from an enlightened perspective, as if he were looking down at the ground from high in the sky. His gaze does not run to extremes, but rather looks at the human world from a realistic point of view.

That is not to say, however, that Chekhov is cold. There is indeed a warm and gentle gaze. It is because of this kindness that Chekhov's wary point of view comes alive.

This book is the most comprehensive description of what a great writer Chekhov is and what makes him so unique.

And because the book contrasts not only Chekhov but also Dostoevsky, it explains many very interesting insights not only for those who want to know about Chekhov, but also for those who want to know about Russian literature and theater.

By reading this book, you can learn not only about Chekhov but also about the characteristics of Russian literature and what they mean to us living in modern Japan, and even what questions they pose.

I recommend this book anyway. If you are not sure what to read in Chekhov-related books, I would recommend this book first.

Seiro Sato, "Chekhov of My Heart" - one of the most recommended Chekhov books!


Chekhov was active at the end of the Russian Empire, an unsettled and closed era dominated by the secret police. Literature that questioned life was at a low ebb, and people sought entertainment to relieve their sorrows.

According to Mr. Seiro Sato, modern Japan is exactly like the era in which Chekhov lived.

It is true that Japan is in a critical situation both economically and internationally. However, those of us who are just trying to survive day by day have lost the luxury of even asking ourselves what it means to live.

We can no longer do anything but seek entertainment to relieve that fatigue and stress.

In fact, the media is filled with such things as gourmet food, hot springs, travel, comedy, sports, fashionable things, and so on. I am not denying entertainment itself. I would have a hard time without them. They are the joys of life. But everything is a balance. If you lean too much toward one side or the other, you will have problems. In the book I introduced above, Mr. Sato warns us through Chekhov, which is exactly what I think he is saying. The current era is similar to the era in which Chekhov lived. I think this raises an important issue.

History repeats itself in different forms.

This situation in Russia at the end of the Czarist regime eventually led to the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Lenin-Stalin regime. As a result, the Russian Empire was subjected to mass purges, suppression of ideas, and loss of freedom.

Japan is no stranger to this. History repeats itself in different forms. The world in which we live can suddenly be lost.

Chekhov is warning us about it.

Even in such a gruesome time, Chekhov explores "what is the happiness of human beings" and "what is the meaning of the suffering we have to bear day after day. This is clearly expressed in the booklight' and 'boring story", "ward 6", "currantThe work is called "The Tale of the Tiger". TheseagullThe four major plays, such as "The Last of Us," are also works that search for the meaning of life through the differences in the family.

Chekhov makes us rethink our "natural values. Chekhov challenges us to question what we take for granted as "happiness" and asks, "Is that really happiness?

When I read Chekhov, I often get a thrill. He lived through difficult times with a keen eye, and his sharp points are sure to touch those of us living in the modern world.

I am very happy to have encountered Chekhov's work. He may not be as well known or read as much as Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, but Chekhov's ability is overwhelming. I sincerely wish that Chekhov's works would be more widely known. His works are that great. I highly recommend them.

These are the 10 recommended Chekhov works - Chekhov is also interesting in novels! We introduce you to the charms of Chekhov that are not limited to his plays! This is the end of "Chekhov's 10 recommended novels!

Related Articles