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Chekhov: Prose vs. Drama
REES 279
Fall 2022
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: RUSS 279, WLIT 265, RULE 279

This course explores the oeuvre of Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), one of the most influential modern dramatists¿the author of such classic plays as The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov also wrote profound prose works, such as "Ward No. 6," "The Black Monk," "Rothschild¿s Violin," and "The Lady with a Lapdog."

As one of Chekhov¿s biographers put it, "Of all the Russian 'classics' he is, to non-Russians especially, the most approachable and the least alien, whether on the stage or the printed page. He lets his reader and spectator react as they wish, draw their own conclusions. He imposes no philosophy" (Donald Rayfield).

Poetic, dense, and elusive, Chekhov¿s writing continues to attract readers, spectators, and theater-makers of all kinds. Some of Chekhov's admirers believe that the quality of his fiction surpasses that of his most famous plays. This course approaches Chekhov by focusing on the tension between his prose and drama: what can a Chekhov short story accomplish that a Chekhov play cannot, and vice versa? After all, a concern with the purpose of human existence undergirds his short stories and plays alike. More specifically, studying Chekhov enables a fresh understanding of happiness and joy, of grief and sorrow in a relentlessly brutal world. An extraordinary storyteller capable of spotting dramatic conflict in the most mundane situations, Chekhov allows for rich discussions of the passage of time, conflict between generations, professional failure, the pressures of gender norms, and the costs of colonialism in late Russian Imperial society.

In addition to literary analysis, the course offers an opportunity to get acquainted with the basics of Chekhov's influence on contemporary performance. Expert guest lecturers will facilitate workshops on acting and directing Chekhov.

Film adaptations and recordings of stage performances will supplement readings. All readings and discussion are in English.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA REES
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (REES-MN)(REES-Lang/Lit/C)(REES-Social Sci)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-04-2023
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