Life and Art
Michael C. Finke
"Chekhov's keen powers of observation have been remarked by both memoirists who knew him well and scholars who approach him only through the written record and across the distance of many decades. To apprehend Chekhov means seeing how Chekhov sees, and the author's remarkable vision is understood as deriving from his occupational or professional training and identity. But we have failed to register, let alone understand, just what a central concern for Chekhov himself, and how deeply problematic, were precisely issues of seeing and being seen."—from the Introduction
Michael C. Finke explodes a century of critical truisms concerning Chekhov's objective eye and what being a physician gave him as a writer in a book that foregrounds the deeply subjective and self-reflexive aspects of his fiction and drama. In exploring previously unrecognized seams between the author's life and his verbal art, Finke profoundly alters and deepens our understanding of Chekhov's personality and behaviors, provides startling new interpretations of a broad array of Chekhov's texts, and fleshes out Chekhov's simultaneous pride in his identity as a physician and devastating critique of turn-of-the-century medical practices and ideologies.
Seeing Chekhov is essential reading for students of Russian literature, devotees of the short story and modern drama, and anyone interested in the intersection of literature, psychology, and medicine.