100 Awesome Quotes By Anton Chekov, The Author Of Ivanov
Taganrog, Russian Empire
Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, was a playwright and also a writer of short stories, who is considered to be among the greatest short story writers to have ever lived. He studied medicine at First
Moscow State Medical University and had a private practice of his own, but he devoted his spare time to literary pursuits. Chekhov was active in the latter half of the 19
th century and rose to prominence as not only a great short story writer but also for being one of the pioneering playwrights of the time. Chekhov is known as one of the pillars of the ideal of modernism that was also championed by August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen. In a relatively short career he produced a total of four plays that are held in high regard among the giants of the theater world. ‘Three Sisters and Cherry Orchard’ remain his most well-known plays. As a short story writer, he portrayed the lives of ordinary Russians and some of the most famous ones are ‘Easter Eve’, ‘Small Fry’, ‘The Death of a Government Clerk’ and ‘A Gentleman Friend’ among others. Chekhov had also produced a treasure trove of quotes both at a personal level and also through his work. Here are the selected ones.
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and when he dies only the five senses that we know perish with him, and the other ninety-five remain alive. Any idiot can face a crisis; it's this day-to-day living that wears you out. The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them. What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself. When asked, "Why do you always wear black?", he said, "I am mourning for my life. The world is, of course, nothing but our conception of it. Wisdom.... comes not from age, but from education and learning. Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be. If you are afraid of loneliness, don't marry. Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds. There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you’re angry, laugh when something is funny, and answer when you’re asked. A woman can become a man's friend only in the following stages - first an acquantaince, next a mistress, and only then a friend. If ever my life can be of any use to you, come and claim it. To fear love is to fear life, and those whose fear life are already three parts dead... There is nothing more awful, insulting, and depressing than banality. The happy man only feels at ease because the unhappy bear their burden in silence. Without this silence, happiness would be impossible. The task of a writer is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly. There are a great many opinions in this world, and a good half of them are professed by people who have never been in trouble."
(The Mill) Even in Siberia there is happiness. Do you see that tree? It is dead but it still sways in the wind with the others. I think it would be like that with me. That if I died I would still be part of life in one way or another. If my life can ever be of any use to you, come and take it. Man will become better when you show him what he is like. Three o'clock in the morning. The soft April night is looking at my windows and caressingly winking at me with its stars. I can't sleep, I am so happy. Dear and most respected bookcase! I welcome your existence, which has for over one hundred years been devoted to the radiant ideals of goodness and justice. Nothing can be accomplished by logic and ethics. Only one who loves can remember so well. They say philosophers and wise men are indifferent. Wrong. Indifference is a paralysis of the soul, a premature death. Be sure not to discuss your hero's state of mind. Make it clear from his actions."
(Letter to Alexander Chekhov, May 10, 1886) MEDVIEDENKO
Why do you always wear mourning?
I dress in black to match my life. I am unhappy. And what does it mean -- dying? Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and only the five we know are lost at death, while the other ninety-five remain alive. Only during hard times do people come to understand how difficult it is to be master of their feelings and thoughts. It's very hard, feeling that you're no more than a piece of unwanted furniture in this world. If you want to work on your art, work on your life. When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it cannot be cured. This life of ours...human life is like a flower gloriously blooming in a meadow: along comes a goat, eats it up---no more flower. I kept thinking how marvellous it would be if I could somehow tear my heart, which felt so heavy, out of my chest. And only now, when he was gray-haired, had he fallen in love properly, thoroughly, for the first time in his life. Do silly things. Foolishness is a great deal more vital and healthy than our straining and striving after a meaningful life. Fine. Since the tea is not forthcoming, let's have a philosophical conversation. Here I am with you & yet not for a single moment do I forget that there's an unfinished novel waiting for me. ..when one has no real life, one lives by mirages. It's still better than nothing. There will come a time when everybody will know why, for what purpose, there is all this suffering, and there will be no more mysteries. But now we must live ... we must work, just work! I feel like a donkey, with a stick in my mouth and a carrot up my ass. In all the universe nothing remains permanent and unchanged but the spirit. I should think I'm going to be a perpetual student. I don’t understand anything about the ballet; all I know is that during the intervals the ballerinas stink like horses. Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit. My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying. The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths. To harbor spiteful feelings against ordinary people for not being heroes is possible only for narrow-minded or embittered man. What must human beings be, to destroy what they can never create? For God's sake, have some self-respect and do not run off at the mouth if your brain is out to lunch. They say, tell me what you've read and I'll tell you who you are. He is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things. There is nothing new in art except talent. We all have too many wheels, screws and valves to judge each other on first impressions or one or two pointers. I don't understand you, you don't understand me and we don't understand ourselves. When you want to touch the reader's heart, try to be colder. It gives their grief as it were, a background, against which it stands out in greater relief. A naive man is nothing better than a fool. But you women contrive to be naive in such a way that in you it seems sweet, and gentle, and proper, and not as silly as it really is. Desription should be very brief and have an incidental nature. My thoughts about human happiness, for some peculiar reason, had always been tinged with a certain sadness. Oh, dreams! In one night, lying with one's eyes shut, one may sometimes live through more than ten years of happiness. In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!"
(Letter to Alexander Chekhov, May 10, 1886) I must run away, I must escape this very day or I shall go out of my mind. Write about this man who, drop by drop, squeezes the slave's blood out of himself until he wakes one day to find the blood of a real human being--not a slave's--coursing through his veins. If one wants to lead a good life, A HUMAN LIFE, one must work. The teacher must be an actor, an artist,passionately in love with his work. A sweet lie is more gracious for us than a virulent but real truth. TRIGORIN
Why do I hear a note of sadness that wrings my heart in this cry of a pure soul? If at any time you should have need of my life, come and take it. How easy it is, Doctor, to be a philosopher on paper, and how difficult in real life! A woman can only become a man’s friend in three stages: first she’s an agreeable acquaintance, then a mistress and only after that a friend. Anna Petrovna: Never talk to women about your own good qualities. Let them find out for themselves. Existence is tedious, anyway. We should show life neither as it is, nor as it should be, but as we see it in our dreams. A hungry dog believes in nothing but meat. 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. Once a man gets a fixed idea, there's nothing to be done. Every coming year is as bad as the previous one, the only difference being that in most cases it is even worse. I still lack a political, religious, and philosophical world view. I change it every month, so I'll have to limit myself to the description of how my heroes love, marry, give birth, die, and how they speak. I've never been in love. I've dreamt of it day and night, but my heart is like a fine piano no one can play because the key is lost. It's better to live down a scandal than to ruin one's life. It is always "Youth, youth," when there is nothing else to be said. ..One has to be a mindless barbarian to burn such beauty in a stove, to destroy what we can not create.. When a woman is plain, people say, 'What beautiful eyes you have, beautiful hair. One should not put a loaded rifle onto the stage if no one is thinking of firing it. It is not only the prisoners who grow coarse and hardened from corporeal punishment, but those as well who perpetrate the act or are present to witness it. The life of a man is like a flower, blooming so gaily in a field. Then, along comes a goat, he eats it and the flower is gone! Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years
My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and absolute freedom--freedom from violence and falsehood, no matter how the last two manifest themselves.
She had a passionate longing for the garden, the darkness, the pure sky, the stars.
Shabelsky: Doctors are the same as lawyers, the sole difference being that lawyers only rob you, but doctors rob you and kill you too...
There is no greater sorrow than to know another's secret when you cannot help them.
Men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a right to say to himself: “I am doing God’s will on earth.
I have no will of my own. Never did. Limp and lily-livered, I always obey - is it possible that's attractive to women? Everything should be first-rate in a person, his face, clothes, soul and thoughts.