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Expounder
06-01-2006, 09:24 PM
This thread is for the overall discussion of Chekhov and his short stories. I happen to be a big fan of Chekhov, and am willing to discuss the themes, enigmas, and ironies of his stories with this forum community. I'd like to start with Rothschild's Violin, since it's my favorite Chekhov story thus far (I play violin, so maybe that's why!). I'll let someone else start the discussion, so I can have the opportunity to read people's insights without my interference.

MikeK
06-20-2006, 12:59 PM
I'm not sure how you'd like to discuss this story, so I'll just give some thoughts and impressions and you can jump in wherever you like.

- This story has one of my favorite opening lines of all of Chekhov's short stories:
"The town was small, worse than a village, and in it lived almost none but old people, who died so rarely it was even annoying."

- I love the way that Chekhov uses the words 'loss' and 'benefit' in this story; The way that Yakov continues to say throughout that he is suffering losses, but how this changes in meaning from the beginning of the story to the end.

- This story is a perfect example of Chekhov's genius in dealing with grief, pain, suffering, and death. The way he does it without resorting to cliches and hackneyed phrases or overflowing sentiment (which usually serve to kill the affect). When he says that Marfa was glad to be dying, we know what he means without him running-on for pages on end. He understood the power of understatement and subtlety.

- The most amazing line in this story comes after Yakov builds his wife's coffin. He then writes in his notebook: "Coffin for Marfa Ivanov - 2 roubles, 40 kopecks". A very Chekhovian touch.

- This is one of the finer examples of Chekhov (among many fine examples) dealing with death and immortality. An interesting (maybe) aside:
Soon after reading "Rothschild's Fiddle" I read "Ward No. 6". Look at these two sentences, first from "Rothschild's Fiddle":
"He could not take the fiddle with him to the grave, and it would now be orphaned..."
Compare that with this sentence from "Ward No. 6" (written almost exactly one year earlier), when the doctor in that story is pondering immortality:
"To see one's own immortality in the life cycle is as strange as to prophesy a brilliant future to the case after the costly violin has been broken and made useless."
A wonderful symmetry. I've always wondered, since recognizing that similarity in those two stories written so nearly together, whether using that symbol of the violin when discussing immortality in "Ward No. 6" gave him the idea to write this story about death and immortality in just this way, using the symbolism of the fiddle again. I at least like to think that that is the case, just because it would be interesting to have some glimpse into the working of Chekhov's mind, of seeing how he came upon the idea for, and symbolism of, "Rothschild's Fiddle."

Those are some random impressions. Jump in wherever you like.

Quark
08-16-2007, 12:02 PM
One year later, I hope this conversation gets the attention it deserves. Chekhov is great for online discussion because he's an author that's accessible; but, at the same time, he's poetic and philosophical. Short stories don't make quite the demand that full length novels do, and laconic Realism is easier to grasp than voluble Modernism. But, that doesn't mean that just because Chekhov is terse the stories don't have subtlety. Often, clever turns of the plot reveal meaning and feeling to the story without the author having to directly explain to the reader the importance of events. Joseph Conrad, for example, has to purposely intervene in many of his stories to tell the reader what to think. In The Heart of Darkness, Marlowe has his adventure, but then he has to tell all the other sailors in asides and a final monologue how its important. That isn't to say Joseph Conrad is a horrible writer who should never be discussed online--in fact, I'm reading Nostromo right now. I'm only arguing that it's easier for the reader when the meaning is slowly revealed and not dictated at certain moments. Chekhov is considered one of the masters of the short story for his ability to manipulate the story and not the reader. He doesn't resort to sentimentality or weak intellectualism to tell his stories, yet he is still able to discuss the most important ideas in life like loss, death, memory, idealism, and self-image. It's literary things like this that I hope people get interested in.

I think "Rothschild's Violin" is great story to start with. Like most of Chekhov's stories it moves between his two dominant moods--comic and tragic. The stories seem to either start comic and end tragic or start tragic and end comic with some revelatory moment in the middle. In Chekhov, when it starts with laughs you can bet it's not going to stay that way, and this story is no exception. It starts out humorously with an excessively negative old man, Yakov, who is comical obsessed with loss. The first episodes of his life given to the reader are his vocational failures. He can't play violin when he wants and his career as an undertaker is languishing. Everything around him reminds him that he is losing something. His wife is ill, the town is being abandoned, and his money is dwindling. But why does Yakov believe so fervently in pessimism? Yakov himself realizes that he could change his profession and move away if he wanted to, but for some reason he stays and fixates on loss. The revelatory moment in this story is when his wife reminds him of a child that died. Yakov rejects this as the delusional ramblings of an old woman, but as he walks around the town object keep reminding him of the past life with the child that Yakov doesn't believe in. He keeps trying to repress the memory of his dead daughter, but it keeps coming back to him in a vague sense of loss. The story turns tragic when the reader realizes that Yakov isn't simply a cantankerous old man. He's really a person grieving with a profound sadness. This is Chekhov at his best, and it's a great short story.



- I love the way that Chekhov uses the words 'loss' and 'benefit' in this story; The way that Yakov continues to say throughout that he is suffering losses, but how this changes in meaning from the beginning of the story to the end.


The loss becomes more profound when we realize the extent of Yakov's repression. And, when we learn that Yakov isn't pinned down to the life he's leading now, the story becomes even more depressing. We eventual know that his horrible life is almost by choice. Yakov has ruined his own life because of grief.



- This story is a perfect example of Chekhov's genius in dealing with grief, pain, suffering, and death. The way he does it without resorting to cliches and hackneyed phrases or overflowing sentiment (which usually serve to kill the affect). When he says that Marfa was glad to be dying, we know what he means without him running-on for pages on end. He understood the power of understatement and subtlety.


Yeah, the themes in this story are very important and universal. Even Chekhov seems aware of this. As Yakov gives expression to his pain and grief, he gains popularity because of the ever presence of these ideas in everyone's mind. And, yes, Chekhov does a good job representing grief and loss without overflowing sentiment. He does it gradually, and that makes the story far more poignant than any maudlin display.



- The most amazing line in this story comes after Yakov builds his wife's coffin. He then writes in his notebook: "Coffin for Marfa Ivanov - 2 roubles, 40 kopecks". A very Chekhovian touch.


What makes it "Chekhovian"? I'll admit that Chekhov's characters are very narrow-minded and limited in sight. The main characters in a lot of his stories are blinded to the real meaning of their lives. In this story, Yakov can only see the loss of money, and not the real tragedy he's living in. Is it Chekhovian because Yakov is being obtuse here?



- This is one of the finer examples of Chekhov (among many fine examples) dealing with death and immortality. An interesting (maybe) aside:
Soon after reading "Rothschild's Fiddle" I read "Ward No. 6". Look at these two sentences, first from "Rothschild's Fiddle":
"He could not take the fiddle with him to the grave, and it would now be orphaned..."
Compare that with this sentence from "Ward No. 6" (written almost exactly one year earlier), when the doctor in that story is pondering immortality:
"To see one's own immortality in the life cycle is as strange as to prophesy a brilliant future to the case after the costly violin has been broken and made useless."
A wonderful symmetry. I've always wondered, since recognizing that similarity in those two stories written so nearly together, whether using that symbol of the violin when discussing immortality in "Ward No. 6" gave him the idea to write this story about death and immortality in just this way, using the symbolism of the fiddle again. I at least like to think that that is the case, just because it would be interesting to have some glimpse into the working of Chekhov's mind, of seeing how he came upon the idea for, and symbolism of, "Rothschild's Fiddle."


I haven't read Ward No. 6 yet, but that quote is very poetic and I'm interested in reading it now. I'll try to find similarities when I read it.



Those are some random impressions. Jump in wherever you like.

Janine
08-16-2007, 08:51 PM
Hi Quark, Good idea starting this thread. You are right saying that short stories can be less demanding. You might get some ideas from how we approached the stories in the 'Lawrence Short Story' thread - we have done now 4 short stories and plan more. I think we are doing approximately, one per month, but it does vary and we don't hurry the discussing along on any set time table. Less pressure doing it that way.
My one question and concern is getting the text for this particular short story you have picked. It does sound very interesting. I looked on this site and online and cannot find the text anywhere. I don't think my library has it either and I don't own a Chekov book. Any suggestions? I might find the story in one of my anthologies of short stories in general that I do own. Is it a more obscure story of Chekov's, because listed on Lit Net on Chekov's main page there are dozens of stories but not this one. I was disappointed in that fact. Help!

Sorry Expounder - I see you started the thread, so thank you! Welcome to the forum, as well. I am happy to see this thread started. Maybe you can tell me where I can find the text - I searched online, as I explained above to Quark. Is this a obscure story of Chekov's. I can't find it anywhere, not on this site nor online.

Idril
08-16-2007, 09:08 PM
It was the musical element that I found most evocative in Rothschild's Violin. Chekhov is a master at language, he write such beautiful and lyrical descriptions so writing about a man who pours all his heartache, sadness and regrets into his instrument was incredibly powerful for me. The scene when Yakov is playing for Rothschild before his death is the main image I carry from this story.

And Ward No. 6 is another incredibly powerful story, I highly recommend it.

One thing I was struck by about Chekhov is the fact that a lot of his short stories don't really have a plot, you kind of find yourself in the middle of an on going story and then you float out of the story before the resolution. Not all of his stories are like that but a great deal of the ones I read were and at first it really bothered me but I found myself to caught up in his descriptions that plot became secondary. I don't know that I can really express my thoughts very well about this but to me, he's not merely an excellent writer, he's an artist. He uses words to paint a picture in an almost literal way...if that makes any sense :blush:

Quark
08-16-2007, 11:30 PM
Hi Quark, Good idea starting this thread. You are right saying that short stories can be less demanding. You might get some ideas from how we approached the stories in the 'Lawrence Short Story' thread - we have done now 4 short stories and plan more. I think we are doing approximately, one per month, but it does vary and we don't hurry the discussing along on any set time table. Less pressure doing it that way.
My one question and concern is getting the text for this particular short story you have picked. It does sound very interesting. I looked on this site and online and cannot find the text anywhere. I don't think my library has it either and I don't own a Chekov book. Any suggestions? I might find the story in one of my anthologies of short stories in general that I do own. Is it a more obscure story of Chekov's, because listed on Lit Net on Chekov's main page there are dozens of stories but not this one. I was disappointed in that fact. Help!

Sorry Expounder - I see you started the thread, so thank you! Welcome to the forum, as well. I am happy to see this thread started. Maybe you can tell me where I can find the text - I searched online, as I explained above to Quark. Is this a obscure story of Chekov's. I can't find it anywhere, not on this site nor online.

We could probably learn a thing or two from the D.H. Lawrence people. If we could do a story for each month that would be great. I thought we might move into Ward No. 6 next, but that might be more of a gradual transition because the stories are somewhat similar. As for finding the stories, I don't know of a website to find them on. I would get an anthology. We'll probably do the more popular stories like "The Lady With the Dog" and "On the Road". I saw in Barnes and Noble they have something called "Ward No. 6 and Other Stories" for $7.95. Libraries might have something, too. If someone could find a website that might be best, but I wouldn't know where to start.

And, no, I didn't start the thread--that was Expounder, poor Expounder. Ever time I think of him, I summon up this tragic image of an eager, idealistic Russian Lit fan starting up a thread, and then becoming embittered and leaving when no one responded. For a few hours I feared I might end up like him.


It was the musical element that I found most evocative in Rothschild's Violin. Chekhov is a master at language, he write such beautiful and lyrical descriptions so writing about a man who pours all his heartache, sadness and regrets into his instrument was incredibly powerful for me. The scene when Yakov is playing for Rothschild before his death is the main image I carry from this story.


Certainly music is very important for the characters in the story. The plaintive music of the violin reminds Yakov and his audience of the terrible losses they have suffered. Also, remember that Rothschild's playing aggravates Yakov when he's trying to repress the memory of his daughter. Music is both a beautiful expression of grief and a provocation of repressed feelings. Chekhov equates this power of the violin to that of his short story. Both bring about painful feelings of grief. Do you think Chekhov made the words musical as part of the comparison? Or, was he simply being poetic?



One thing I was struck by about Chekhov is the fact that a lot of his short stories don't really have a plot, you kind of find yourself in the middle of an on going story and then you float out of the story before the resolution. Not all of his stories are like that but a great deal of the ones I read were and at first it really bothered me but I found myself to caught up in his descriptions that plot became secondary. I don't know that I can really express my thoughts very well about this but to me, he's not merely an excellent writer, he's an artist. He uses words to paint a picture in an almost literal way...if that makes any sense :blush:

I agree that the stories are not about plot or dramatic action. Some stories keep you attention because they have a tension that keeps us glued to the book to see what will happen next. Chekhov stories don't keep us reading for the action; instead, they are more about characterization. The action is manipulated to give the reader revelations into the minds of the characters. In this story, the plot is used to show Rothschild initially as he might to a casual acquaintance, and then to reveal his terrible tragedy. Never is the plot the real focus of the readers attention. I really don't care what happens to Yakov next. When I was reading I only wanted to know about Yakov, himself. Why was he so fixated on loss? Why is he so irritable? The plot was used only to answer these questions.

That much I know. I'm curious, though, what you mean by "He uses words to paint a picture in an almost literal way".

Janine
08-17-2007, 12:25 AM
Quark, oh I see now - it was Expounder who started it months ago; yes, poor Expounder probably left the site by now giving up on finding any other Chekov enthusiasts.
First let me say I love the Russian novelists so I probably will enjoy reading Chekov. I can gather by what Idril (glad to see you here) has written and you have expounded on, that Chekov's stories are not 'plot driven'. This is fine with me; I like stories that delve into the characters best of all. It is much the same with Lawrence's stories - the characters are the most important aspect and most often, their interaction with each other. It sounds as if Chekov is more cerebral in that the characters contain internal dialogue or thoughts the reader is able to view and ponder. If you read our discussion on 'The Prussian Officer' you will see that this story is characteristic of this idea with mostly 'internal' emotions and thoughts occuring within the main character, even 'subconsciously'.

I hope I can get this story soon and read it. If not, I will be sure to comment on the next story you decide to discuss. I think it is always advantageous to choose a story available on this site or online, so that we can quote directly from the text, in order to point out certain characteristics and key words and passages. It is a lot easier than typing long sections of the story.

Quark
08-17-2007, 09:48 AM
Ah, success, I found we have the story here on LitNet. It's at:

http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1272/

They cleverly changed the name slightly to "Rothschild's Fiddle" to throw people off, but I was able to find it. We actually have a pretty long list of Chekhov stories online here, so I think everyone should be able to read even if they don't own a copy of the story. And, many of Chekhov's short stories are twelve pages or less, so you won't have to stare at the computer screen too long to read to the end.


I can gather by what Idril (glad to see you here) has written and you have expounded on, that Chekov's stories are not 'plot driven'. This is fine with me; I like stories that delve into the characters best of all. It is much the same with Lawrence's stories - the characters are the most important aspect and most often, their interaction with each other. It sounds as if Chekov is more cerebral in that the characters contain internal dialogue or thoughts the reader is able to view and ponder. If you read our discussion on 'The Prussian Officer' you will see that this story is characteristic of this idea with mostly 'internal' emotions and thoughts occuring within the main character, even 'subconsciously'.


I'll try not to reveal too much of the story before you read it, but I do want to point out a difference between Chekhov and Lawrence. While both writers share a common focus on characterization, they do characterization in different ways. DHL often gives the immediate thoughts of the character pertaining to that moment--a sort of instantaneous insight into the character's mind. In Chekhov, all the characterization is done by inferences from without. While this story is about Yakov, the critical piece of information is given by Yakov's wife--not Yakov himself. In a D.H. Lawrence short story, I think the big revelation would probably come to the reader in the main character's own consciousness. Chekhov chooses to give it through the other characters and the plot. It's really only a stylistic difference, though. Ultimately, DHL's and Chekhov's goals are very similar.

Janine
08-17-2007, 12:55 PM
Ah, success, I found we have the story here on LitNet. It's at:

http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1272/

They cleverly changed the name slightly to "Rothschild's Fiddle" to throw people off, but I was able to find it. We actually have a pretty long list of Chekhov stories online here, so I think everyone should be able to read even if they don't own a copy of the story. And, many of Chekhov's short stories are twelve pages or less, so you won't have to stare at the computer screen too long to read to the end.



I'll try not to reveal too much of the story before you read it, but I do want to point out a difference between Chekhov and Lawrence. While both writers share a common focus on characterization, they do characterization in different ways. DHL often gives the immediate thoughts of the character pertaining to that moment--a sort of instantaneous insight into the character's mind. In Chekhov, all the characterization is done by inferences from without. While this story is about Yakov, the critical piece of information is given by Yakov's wife--not Yakov himself. In a D.H. Lawrence short story, I think the big revelation would probably come to the reader in the main character's own consciousness. Chekhov chooses to give it through the other characters and the plot. It's really only a stylistic difference, though. Ultimately, DHL's and Chekhov's goals are very similar.

Quark, great detective work. Funny, I checked that list twice and could not see it. Good point and explanations about the differences in the novelists and their styles and approach to the characters.
This should be an interesting thread and discussion group.

Thanks for finding the story online.

Idril
08-17-2007, 04:34 PM
Do you think Chekhov made the words musical as part of the comparison? Or, was he simply being poetic?

I think to a certain extent, it's just how he writes. I don't doubt he took some care to make the mood fit the content but his prose is just naturally flowing and evocative, much like music.


Chekhov stories don't keep us reading for the action; instead, they are more about characterization. The action is manipulated to give the reader revelations into the minds of the characters.

That's my feeling as well, that the stories were more to expose the minds of his characters and not necessarily their stories.


I'm curious, though, what you mean by "He uses words to paint a picture in an almost literal way".

I don't know entirely, I knew that was an odd way to put it. :rolleyes: :blush: Usually, when I read, I underline passages that are interesting to me or I note them in my little book journal but I have so little written about Chekhov's short stories because I read a good portion of it in a car so I didn't have the ability to do those things but there was a passage, a description of winter, I think, possibly in The Witch but I wouldn't bet anything on that guess...anyway... it just took my breath away for it's detail and imagery. It was like I was watching a painter paint, I was watching the artist's vision taking shape before me and normally, I don't create such detailed pictures in my head. My image of characters and places described in books, no matter how detailed the description is, is typically quite vague so the very clear, vibrant images Chekhov inspired in my mind was quite a revelation for me. I don't if I made myself any clearer or just confused the issue but that's the best way I can explain it.

Janine
08-17-2007, 05:36 PM
Idril, Your thoughts about passages being vivid like a painting makes perfect sense to me. I feel the same way about passages that Lawrence writes in his short stories. I am a visual artist and I can relate to this idea very easily.

Quark, Good news! I found an anthology of Chekov's work in my library today and it included the 'Violin' story. I read part of it online and will read the rest from the book tonight. There are many of his short stories in this book, so I was so happy to check it out.

Quark
08-17-2007, 07:15 PM
I don't know entirely, I knew that was an odd way to put it. :rolleyes: :blush: Usually, when I read, I underline passages that are interesting to me or I note them in my little book journal but I have so little written about Chekhov's short stories because I read a good portion of it in a car so I didn't have the ability to do those things but there was a passage, a description of winter, I think, possibly in The Witch but I wouldn't bet anything on that guess...anyway... it just took my breath away for it's detail and imagery. It was like I was watching a painter paint, I was watching the artist's vision taking shape before me and normally, I don't create such detailed pictures in my head. My image of characters and places described in books, no matter how detailed the description is, is typically quite vague so the very clear, vibrant images Chekhov inspired in my mind was quite a revelation for me. I don't if I made myself any clearer or just confused the issue but that's the best way I can explain it.


Idril, Your thoughts about passages being vivid like a painting makes perfect sense to me. I feel the same way about passages that Lawrence writes in his short stories. I am a visual artist and I can relate to this idea very easily.

I know what you're saying. In Chekhov stories there are always a couple intense images that take on almost symbolic meaning. Unlike writers like Tolstoy or Dickens who give us an overwhelming amount of detail, Chekhov is more selective in the information he tells the reader. The writers like Tolstoy and Dickens use images and backgrounds to give a sense of place and reality, but I think Chekhov uses this information for mood and symbolism. This makes Chekhov's scenery and details almost poetic at times. A good image to look at in "Rothschild's Violin" is the river he visits near the end of the story.


"He came to the river, where the curlews floated in the air uttering shrill cries and the ducks quacked. The sun was blazing hot, and there was a glitter from the water, so that it hurt the eyes to look at it. Yakov walked by a path along the bank and saw a plump, rosy-cheeked lady come out of the bathing-shed, and thought about her: "Ugh! you otter!"

Not far from the bathing-shed boys were catching crayfish with bits of meat; seeing him, they began shouting spitefully, "Bronze! Bronze!" And then he saw an old spreading willow-tree with a big hollow in it, and a crow's nest on it. . . . And suddenly there rose up vividly in Yakov's memory a baby with flaxen hair, and the willow-tree Marfa had spoken of. Why, that is it, the same willow-tree -- green, still, and sorrowful. . . . How old it has grown, poor thing!

He sat down under it and began to recall the past. On the other bank, where now there was the water meadow, in those days there stood a big birchwood, and yonder on the bare hillside that could be seen on the horizon an old, old pine forest used to be a bluish patch in the distance. Big boats used to sail on the river. But now it was all smooth and unruffled, and on the other bank there stood now only one birch-tree, youthful and slender like a young lady, and there was nothing on the river but ducks and geese, and it didn't look as though there had ever been boats on it. It seemed as though even the geese were fewer than of old. Yakov shut his eyes, and in his imagination huge flocks of white geese soared, meeting one another.

He wondered how it had happened that for the last forty or fifty years of his life he had never once been to the river, or if he had been by it he had not paid attention to it. Why, it was a decent sized river, not a trumpery one"

This scene is filled with details and ambiance. What do you think it means, though? What does the river mean for Yakov? Why is it hard for him to look at? What do you make of the boats and the trees? How does the image change in Yakov's mind?

Idril
08-18-2007, 01:02 PM
I know what you're saying. In Chekhov stories there are always a couple intense images that take on almost symbolic meaning. Unlike writers like Tolstoy or Dickens who give us an overwhelming amount of detail, Chekhov is more selective in the information he tells the reader.

And the difference is in the type of description. I found the passage I was talking about and it was in The Witch and it's the description of a storm. I know it will take us a bit off topic and I promise I'll get back to that in a minute but I wanted to share it with you in order to help me make my point. I won't copy the entire paragraph, just when the description starts

...And out there a regular battle was going on. It was hard to say who was being wiped off the face of the earth, and for the sake of whose destruction nature was being churned up into such a ferment; but, judging from the unceasing malignant roar, someone was getting it very hot. A victorious force was in full chase over the fields, storming in the forest and on the church roof, battering spitefully with its fist upon windows, raging and tearing, while something vanquished was howling and wailing...A plaintive lament sobbed at the window, on the roof, or in the stove. It sounded not like a call for help, but like a cry of misery, a consciousness that it was too late, that there was no salvation. The snow-drifts were covered with a thin coating of ice; tears quivered on them and on the trees; a dark slush of mud and melting snow flowed along the roads and paths. In short, it was thawing, but through the dark night the heavens failed to see it and flung flakes of fresh snow upon the melting earth at a terrifc rate. And the wind staggered like a drunkard. It would not let the snow settle on the ground, and whirled it round in the darkness at random.

He describes things not so much with words but with a series of images. He's not merely telling you it's windy, it makes you feel it and see it.

...ok, so back to the story in question...


This scene is filled with details and ambiance. What do you think it means, though? What does the river mean for Yakov? Why is it hard for him to look at? What do you make of the boats and the trees? How does the image change in Yakov's mind?

I always thought that the river reminded him of his dead child, the life that could've been but wasn't. I think to confront that river meant he had to confront what he had given up in a sort of way. He was constantly counting up his losses but the most important one, that of his child he had successfully repressed, although, I think even though the memory of the even itself was repressed, that feeling of loss obviously permiated his entire outlook on life. As far as the trees and boats go, I just looked at them as evidence of the passing time, evidence of decay and lost opportunity.

Janine
08-18-2007, 04:05 PM
I read the story last night but it might be a different translation in the book than the one online. Does this matter much? I will comment on the story later, probably tomorrow. I don't have the time now. It was quite interesting.

Quark
08-19-2007, 11:34 PM
He describes things not so much with words but with a series of images. He's not merely telling you it's windy, it makes you feel it and see it.

...ok, so back to the story in question...


That is a very visual passage you just quoted, and the language is very flowing too. What I like about that description is that it conveys so much meaning and mood in just one small detail.



I always thought that the river reminded him of his dead child, the life that could've been but wasn't. I think to confront that river meant he had to confront what he had given up in a sort of way. He was constantly counting up his losses but the most important one, that of his child he had successfully repressed, although, I think even though the memory of the even itself was repressed, that feeling of loss obviously permiated his entire outlook on life. As far as the trees and boats go, I just looked at them as evidence of the passing time, evidence of decay and lost opportunity.

Yeah, the river is certainly reminder for the past, but also for his present and future. Yakov sees his entire life in the passing of the river, and his walk along its banks seems like an act of self-analysis. At first the reflection off the surface hurts his eyes--just as the truth of the lost daughter is too painful for him to consider. Then he sees the past: the willow, the river full of boats and geese. Yakov sees in the river the same happy abundance he once had in his life. Then, he notices the abandoned and decrepit appearance of the present river and compares it with his own solitary life. Finally, he realizes that he could repopulate the waterway with boats. He could live his life again, and try to regain the paradise he lost. In the small amount of detail that Chekhov gives us, he creates a very effective and moving image.


I read the story last night but it might be a different translation in the book than the one online. Does this matter much? I will comment on the story later, probably tomorrow. I don't have the time now. It was quite interesting.

I looked at the translation online and it's the same as the printed version in my book. So, at least we'll be on the same page. It shouldn't matter too much if there are other translations being quoted from. The stories are short, and we should be able to find whatever the passage is without much confusion.

Janine
08-20-2007, 12:37 AM
Quark, Glad this translation would not make that much difference to my understanding. I think maybe it is an older translation; the book is from 1924; my library is a little behind the times..ugh.

I think one impression I have about the story is that Yakov (in my book they refer to him as Yakob) always seems to be adding up things in his head in a 'monetary' way and seeing life as a value set in the exchange of money, which of course is hollow and meaningless in reality. He seems to equate 'happiness' with money, such a falsity. I feel that looking at nature and the river brings him into some sense of focus on just what is important and basic in life, and what he missed out on by not paying closer attention to life - real vital life and nature - which is a very sad thing to regret, this late in his life. He very much reminds me of a friend of mine who is always talking about how much this pays or this costs, and seems obsessed with money even though he does not have a great deal himself and always feels cheated or resentful. This story to me seems to be about regret and the path back is something vital but lost to now; there still remains no feeling of hope for Yakov, but to leave his violin to the Jewish musician. He has not child or wife to leave behind, but to leave the music seems symbolic to me of leaving some legacy of oneself to another, something truly meaningful and personal to him at last - something one cannot place a monetary value on. For someone who seems never to have learned to really share his life with another this is a big final step.

I think that Chekov's story reads more like a fable or a morality tale than reality to me. I don't feel true reality in this story, but relate it to other authors who employed similiar tales to present a certain aspect/concept of how life should be or should have been. I don't know about Chekov's other stories - if they are as symbolic or contain more realism. I agree about the river - the reflection is a good thing to contemplate. It is a 'mirror' for Yakov to view finally his true self and his life and to reflect upon it's meaning and the meaning of life and death.

My question would be - do you think that Yakov ever really did have a blissful or truly happy existence? I did not feel this from the story. I felt he had probably had a short period of loving and happiness with his wife in their younger days, but it seemed that he took his wife 'for granted' and missed out himself, on having a fuller, richer, closer relationship and connection with his wife and people in general. His tears mifted me, since he seemed to be so shut off from his true feelings. Do you think the violin brought out those deeper feelings?

As for the river - I keep thinking of the phrase 'the river of life' and how when life is removed from Yakov's existence (his wife's life) he sees his own life so differently in the reflection of the 'river of life.' He sees death in it, too, in that he no longer represses his image of his dead child and dead wife. It is as if something more had to be taken away from him, before he could see his own life as it really was.

Let me say that I feel I need to re-read the story, since I read it several nights ago and forget some of it now or it is a bit vague to my memory.

As you said - Quark, in the TTLH thread this all may seem to be a 'ball of confusion' but I hope it makes some bit of sense to you.

Idril - yes, the passage you quoted from the other story is quite interesting and wonderful in it's imagery. I don't know if I felt this way in this story about Yakov. I can't think of a particular passage to show this flowing prose style as an example.

Quark
08-20-2007, 11:17 PM
I think one impression I have about the story is that Yakov (in my book they refer to him as Yakob) always seems to be adding up things in his head in a 'monetary' way and seeing life as a value set in the exchange of money, which of course is hollow and meaningless in reality. He seems to equate 'happiness' with money, such a falsity. I feel that looking at nature and the river brings him into some sense of focus on just what is important and basic in life, and what he missed out on by not paying closer attention to life - real vital life and nature - which is a very sad thing to regret, this late in his life. He very much reminds me of a friend of mine who is always talking about how much this pays or this costs, and seems obsessed with money even though he does not have a great deal himself and always feels cheated or resentful. This story to me seems to be about regret and the path back is something vital but lost to now; there still remains no feeling of hope for Yakov, but to leave his violin to the Jewish musician. He has not child or wife to leave behind, but to leave the music seems symbolic to me of leaving some legacy of oneself to another, something truly meaningful and personal to him at last - something one cannot place a monetary value on. For someone who seems never to have learned to really share his life with another this is a big final step.

My question would be - do you think that Yakov ever really did have a blissful or truly happy existence? I did not feel this from the story. I felt he had probably had a short period of loving and happiness with his wife in their younger days, but it seemed that he took his wife 'for granted' and missed out himself, on having a fuller, richer, closer relationship and connection with his wife and people in general. His tears mifted me, since he seemed to be so shut off from his true feelings. Do you think the violin brought out those deeper feelings?

Idril - yes, the passage you quoted from the other story is quite interesting and wonderful in it's imagery. I don't know if I felt this way in this story about Yakov. I can't think of a particular passage to show this flowing prose style as an example.

Hmm, I was viewing Yakov's money fixation as a symptom of his repression. Are you seeing it as a more basic question of what's important in life? My argument was that Yakov is preoccupied with money only because his sense of loss is coming back to him. He knows that he has lost something very important. It's far too painful for him to recall so he forcibly keeps his mind off it. Despite his attempts to keep it out of his consciousness, though, it returns to him in the form of an obsession with lost cash. Yet, I can start to see what you're saying. Perhaps, this isn't psychological. Maybe it's simply a matter of misplaced ideals. Yakov valued money and his own career over his wife and child, and now he rues that he never enjoyed his family's company. Yakov is despondent at the end, then, not because he has lost his family, but because he never really knew he had one in the first place. This is an interesting idea. I'm not sure what to think. If we believe in the psychological reading then, yes, Yakov was happy earlier in his life. But, if we believe that Yakov was always selfish, then, no, he was never happy.

Quark
08-21-2007, 11:27 PM
In order to decide whether Yakov was happy earlier in life, we need to know what's causing Yakov's depression at the end. Is it the fact that he always lived his life selfishly and lost contact with his family, or is it that he simply lost his daughter? It seems like Yakov attitude towards his wife was the same earlier in his life as it was at the end of the story. He says that he "never" showed affection for her. This would make it seem like Yakov didn't ever live blissfully. He also says his life is "wasted" not lost or taken from him. That makes it sound like he was responsible for the depressing circumstances he finds himself in. This is all evidence that Yakov always placed his money and career over his relationships with others. He even concludes, "If it were not for hatred and malice people would get immense benefit from one another". This sounds like self-accusation, and Yakov could be blaming his misplaced attention. In this case, Yakov was never happy. He was always a misguided idiot who wasted his life.

Yet, at the same time, we can make an argument that Yakov did have a enjoyable past--only he's repressing it. We never really know whether Yakov accepts the fact that he had a daughter who died. We know he accepts his grief when he plays the violin at the end, but we're still not sure if he knows why he's grieving. All of Yakov's unpleasantness--that malice that he believes ruins relationships--could be a symptom and not a cause. He could be depressed because he has lost his daughter, and now he's inflicting the pain he feels internally onto others. His obsession with lost money and work could be the misplaced feeling he has about his lost daughter. Think about the violin playing; it evokes such a powerful emotion from Yakov because it's played plaintively. It makes more sense that Yakov would respond to the music because of a sense of grief and not a misspent life. When Yakov goes to the river and realizes that life could have been different, better. He imagines positive images like the geese coming together or the river filled with boats. If this is what Yakov hasn't been seeing in his life, then the music which would remind him wouldn't be plaintive. It would have to be symbolic of the life he had chosen to turn his back on. Really, it makes more sense that the music would reach Yakov because it's reminding him of a painful memory which he's trying to repress. That's the best argument I can make for this reading. There are others but it might become tedious if I listed them all.

I was hoping I might make this problem a little more solvable by the end of this post, but that's not going too well. I'll give one last possibility. It could be both A and B.

Janine
08-23-2007, 01:24 AM
Quark, glad you see you reasoning it all out and considered my own theory. You did a good job; with quotes from the story - ones I was thinking of to show his neglect of his wife's emotional needs.

I personally do not think Yakov ever found true deeply felt happiness or happiness that was wholly furfilling in his life. I do see Yahov as a person who equates his life value in rubbles (dollars and cents) and not in friendships, love, relationships. Those seem to have fallen by the wayside somewhere in his life and existence. He is like the man who sees the glass half empty and not half full. Even his profession relies on death to bring in more money and he seems to constantly be thinking of his losses and his struggles with monetary issues, and not of the blessings he has had experienced in his life.

I don't know if the lost child can be totally explanatory of the sadness and repression in his life, either. It might have been traumatic to him, and to his wife, but one incident such as that would not made for a whole lifetime of misery and repression in my opinion. It could be that you are right, and A and B are true, but each only partly so. If he was happy with his wife, I don't see that they were very close or had developed a good communication and sense of affection between them.

Of course, all this I am just surmissing and guessing. Perhaps we, each individual, has to decide just how to fill in the blanks on that aspect of the story - the parts that are not totally explained to us in words.

Quark
08-23-2007, 11:54 PM
I personally do not think Yakov ever found true deeply felt happiness or happiness that was wholly furfilling in his life. I do see Yahov as a person who equates his life value in rubbles (dollars and cents) and not in friendships, love, relationships. Those seem to have fallen by the wayside somewhere in his life and existence. He is like the man who sees the glass half empty and not half full. Even his profession relies on death to bring in more money and he seems to constantly be thinking of his losses and his struggles with monetary issues, and not of the blessings he has had experienced in his life.

I don't know if the lost child can be totally explanatory of the sadness and repression in his life, either. It might have been traumatic to him, and to his wife, but one incident such as that would not made for a whole lifetime of misery and repression in my opinion. It could be that you are right, and A and B are true, but each only partly so. If he was happy with his wife, I don't see that they were very close or had developed a good communication and sense of affection between them.


No, I don't think repression could explain all of Yakov's misery. It wouldn't tell us why Yakov never showed affection towards his wife. Repression might cause his fixation on lost money; it might even explain his career as coffin maker. Yakov's repressed feeling of loss and grief could stop him from progressing. He could be stuck on things reminding him of death and loss because he hasn't given himself time to grieve and get over his daughter's death. His playing the violin in the end could be seen as him finally coming to terms with his lost child. That's a more optimistic reading I'll admit. Probably, he was always a greedy and selfish fool who wasted his life, and he's just now remembering his daughter as a symbol for all the life he could have had.


Of course, all this I am just surmissing and guessing. Perhaps we, each individual, has to decide just how to fill in the blanks on that aspect of the story - the parts that are not totally explained to us in words.

I guess that another question to consider. Do you think Chekhov ever answers any of the questions he raises? Many questions are asked in "Rothschild's Violin" like, "Why was a man could not live so as to avoid losses and misfortunes? Why do people always do what isn't needful? One wondered why they had cut down the birch copse and the pine forest. Why had Yakov all his life scolded, bellowed, shaken his fists, ill-treated his wife, and, one might ask, what necessity was there for him to frighten and insult the Jew that day?" Do you think any of these are really answered? Does it matter?

Janine
08-25-2007, 06:17 PM
Be back tonight to comment,Quark. Re-read the story last night.

Janine
08-25-2007, 10:11 PM
Ok, I am back with some comments. I copied the story into an offline file, so I could quote different parts. In this very first paragraph much is said about Yakov's way of living:


THE town was a little one, worse than a village, and it was inhabited by scarcely any but old people who died with an infrequency that was really annoying. In the hospital and in the prison fortress very few coffins were needed. In fact business was bad. If Yakov Ivanov had been an undertaker in the chief town of the province he would certainly have had a house of his own, and people would have addressed him as Yakov Matveyitch; here in this wretched little town people called him simply Yakov; his nickname in the street was for some reason Bronze, and he lived in a poor way like a humble peasant, in a little old hut in which there was only one room, and in this room he and Marfa, the stove, a double bed, the coffins, his bench, and all their belongings were crowded together.

Already I get the impression that Yakov never had the incentive to move to a better town and help himself to make a more profitable living. He might have moved onto the chief town to try making coffins or even worked for someone who did and make more money than he did here in this hopeless little town. So why didn't he. Yakov seems to me to be someone with little incentive to try to better himself or his way of life. He seems to be stuck in a rut - quite inert throughout his life. I can't blame his wife for hating her existence - can you really imagine living in a crowded one room house with coffins sitting around. How dismal must that have been a life? Also, would it not cause her considerable pain knowing she buried a child and to live in this room where there would be to be constant reminders of death, with the coffins and business right there in your everyday existence.

Curious to me what he says about the children's coffins. I suppose this is born out of his repression of his memory of his dead child.


He was very unwilling to take orders for children's coffins, and made them straight off without measurements, contemptuously, and when he was paid for the work he always said:

"I must confess I don't like trumpery jobs."

Dictionary meaning of trumpery: 1. something showy, but worthless. 2. nonscense

Rather odd thing to say about them I think.

Now this next part the story shifts to something that could be positive in Yakov's life, but instead by the end of the paragraph we still have the feeling it makes him sad which is a definite contrast to the mood there would be at a wedding where there would be happiness and gaiety and uplifting music. Again Yahov sees only the monetary value of playing his fiddle at the wedding. If he had found pure joy in his heart at doing so and of enjoying the surrounding festivities and atmosphere he would probably not have this grudge against everyone and especially this Jew named Rothschild, who happens to have the same name as a millionare. Obviously he has connected this subconsiously in his mind and has seen it as something to be bitter about because a few statements later it says that "For no apparent reason"....he has become "possessed by hatred and contempt" and especially Rothschild.



Apart from his trade, playing the fiddle brought him in a small income.

The Jews' orchestra conducted by Moisey Ilyitch Shahkes, the tinsmith, who took more than half their receipts for himself, played as a rule at weddings in the town. As Yakov played very well on the fiddle, especially Russian songs, Shahkes sometimes invited him to join the orchestra at a fee of half a rouble a day, in addition to tips from the visitors. When Bronze sat in the orchestra first of all his face became crimson and perspiring; it was hot, there was a suffocating smell of garlic, the fiddle squeaked, the double bass wheezed close to his right ear, while the flute wailed at his left, played by a gaunt, red-haired Jew who had a perfect network of red and blue veins all over his face, and who bore the name of the famous millionaire Rothschild. And this accursed Jew contrived to play even the liveliest things plaintively. For no apparent reason Yakov little by little became possessed by hatred and contempt for the Jews, and especially for Rothschild; he began to pick quarrels with him, rail at him in unseemly language and once even tried to strike him, and Rothschild was offended and said, looking at him ferociously:"If it were not that I respect you for your talent, I would have sent you flying out of the window."

Then he began to weep. And because of this Yakov was not often asked to play in the orchestra; he was only sent for in case of extreme necessity in the absence of one of the Jews.

The paragraph goes on to state that he is nasty and treats Rothschild harshly. Yahov is possessed of "much hatred and contempt" Then Rothschild makes some remarks (justifiably), back to Yakov. So Yakov is quite antagonist to all the Jews in the orchestra and hardly ever gets asked to play unless there is an emergency, since when Rothschild makes his statement back to Yahov he cries. He seems to continually sabotage his own success of making this exta money playing in the orchestra. He does this by his poor attitude of resentment. Consciously, does he know why he acts this way, do you think? Is this part of his repression of the tragic events of his life and not having a furfilling and rewarding existence?


Yakov was never in a good temper, as he was continually having to put up with terrible losses. For instance, it was a sin to work on Sundays or Saints' days, and Monday was an unlucky day, so that in the course of the year there were some two hundred days on which, whether he liked it or not, he had to sit with his hands folded. And only think, what a loss that meant. If anyone in the town had a wedding without music, or if Shahkes did not send for Yakov, that was a loss, too. The superintendent of the prison was ill for two years and was wasting away, and Yakov was impatiently waiting for him to die, but the superintendent went away to the chief town of the province to be doctored, and there took and died. There's a loss, for you, ten roubles at least as there would have been an expensive coffin to make, lined with brocade. The thought of his losses haunted Yakov, especially at night; he laid his fiddle on the bed beside him, and when all sorts of nonsensical ideas came into his mind he touched a string; the fiddle gave out a sound in the darkness, and he felt better.

How many times the word 'loss' or 'losses' is stated here. Yahov is someone continually and obessively looking, not once at the blessings of his life, but rather adding up every loss he has endured. He is harboring much resentment but who is the resentment really directed to? his wife? his dead child? who is responsible for all this lose? In my opinion he is more resentful of himself and his lack of incentive to move beyond his circumstances and see life can be worthwhile with some effort and some connection to other people, especially his poor wife.

Now his wife becomes seriously ill, but toward evening after playing his fiddle all day long the following occurs:


When it was quite dark he took the book in which he used every day to put down his losses, and, feeling dull, he began adding up the total for the year. It came to more than a thousand roubles. This so agitated him that he flung the reckoning beads down, and trampled them under his feet. Then he picked up the reckoning beads, and again spent a long time clicking with them and heaving deep, strained sighs. His face was crimson and wet with perspiration. He thought that if he had put that lost thousand roubles in the bank, the interest for a year would have been at least forty roubles, so that forty roubles was a loss too. In fact, wherever one turned there were losses and nothing else.

He is really suffering over these losses of his with much anxiety. He is so angry he even tramples the reckoning beads. Again the word losses is emphasised and the last statement really adds up just how Yakov thinks the majority of the time. He is feeling totally hopeless, and the tone of the story so far feels very hopeless and sad and tragic with much underlying resentment and anger and lashing out at people for no appropriate reason. Also, he seems to be oblivious to his wife being so ill and he seems to be in some kind of denial by emersing his attention in his adding up of is losses.


I will continue with this tomorrow. Hope some of this give you a good idea of how I am perceiving the story as a whole.

Quark
08-26-2007, 10:07 AM
Already I get the impression that Yakov never had the incentive to move to a better town and help himself to make a more profitable living. He might have moved onto the chief town to try making coffins or even worked for someone who did and make more money than he did here in this hopeless little town. So why didn't he.

Not only could he have made better coffins in a more profitable marker, he might have decided not to make coffins at all. At the end of the story he expresses desire to make boats instead of coffins. This is highly symbolic since we were talking about the boats being in a river representing life, and the coffins obviously represent death. Yakov could have decided to enjoy life, but instead he obsessed over loss and death. And, you're right, the important question is why.


Yakov seems to me to be someone with little incentive to try to better himself or his way of life. He seems to be stuck in a rut - quite inert throughout his life. I can't blame his wife for hating her existence - can you really imagine living in a crowded one room house with coffins sitting around. How dismal must that have been a life? Also, would it not cause her considerable pain knowing she buried a child and to live in this room where there would be to be constant reminders of death, with the coffins and business right there in your everyday existence.

I think Yakov has every reason to improve his situation. Neither the dismal surroundings or the unsatisfying profession seem like an incentive to continue living that way. Nor do I think he's only living this way out of habit. His wife longs to die from the life that Yakov leads; and, at the end, Yakov does too. I think we're still left asking why they don't simply change.



Curious to me what he says about the children's coffins. I suppose this is born out of his repression of his memory of his dead child.

Dictionary meaning of trumpery: 1. something showy, but worthless. 2. nonscense

Rather odd thing to say about them I think.


That's a good observation. I hadn't actually picked up on that, but it's more evidence of Yakov's repression.



Now this next part the story shifts to something that could be positive in Yakov's life, but instead by the end of the paragraph we still have the feeling it makes him sad which is a definite contrast to the mood there would be at a wedding where there would be happiness and gaiety and uplifting music. Again Yahov sees only the monetary value of playing his fiddle at the wedding. If he had found pure joy in his heart at doing so and of enjoying the surrounding festivities and atmosphere he would probably not have this grudge against everyone and especially this Jew named Rothschild, who happens to have the same name as a millionare. Obviously he has connected this subconsiously in his mind and has seen it as something to be bitter about because a few statements later it says that "For no apparent reason"....he has become "possessed by hatred and contempt" and especially Rothschild.

The paragraph goes on to state that he is nasty and treats Rothschild harshly. Yahov is possessed of "much hatred and contempt" Then Rothschild makes some remarks (justifiably), back to Yakov. So Yakov is quite antagonist to all the Jews in the orchestra and hardly ever gets asked to play unless there is an emergency, since when Rothschild makes his statement back to Yahov he cries. He seems to continually sabotage his own success of making this exta money playing in the orchestra. He does this by his poor attitude of resentment. Consciously, does he know why he acts this way, do you think? Is this part of his repression of the tragic events of his life and not having a furfilling and rewarding existence?


His fixation of wealth is certainly tied to his unhappiness. That isn't why he's mad at Rothschild for. Near the bottom of the passage you quoted we can see where they become enemies. It says,

this accursed Jew contrived to play even the liveliest things plaintively. For no apparent reason Yakov little by little became possessed by hatred and contempt for the Jews, and especially for Rothschild; he began to pick quarrels with him, rail at him in unseemly language and once even tried to strike him, and Rothschild was offended and said, looking at him ferociously:"If it were not that I respect you for your talent, I would have sent you flying out of the window."

What sets Yakov off is the way Rothschild plays his music, not his millions of dollars. Earlier, Chekhov mentions that the conductor takes most of the money. Why is Yakov as furious at him? He's upset with Rothschild because the plaintive music recalls all that Yakov has lost and repressing. At the end of the story, Yakov plays similar music and gives Rothschild his violin to show that he accepts death, loss, and tragedy. He even refers to Yakov in fond language. Money is important to Yakov in the beginning. He might be somewhat envious of his rich musician friend. But, what aggravates Yakov the most is Rothschild's meaningful way of playing the violin.


How many times the word 'loss' or 'losses' is stated here. Yahov is someone continually and obessively looking, not once at the blessings of his life, but rather adding up every loss he has endured. He is harboring much resentment but who is the resentment really directed to? his wife? his dead child? who is responsible for all this lose? In my opinion he is more resentful of himself and his lack of incentive to move beyond his circumstances and see life can be worthwhile with some effort and some connection to other people, especially his poor wife.

Yakov is most upset with himself. He even welcomes his own death. Do you think that Yakov has changed any during the story, though? If he didn't contact an illness, would he have lived a better life? Or, is he still stuck?


Now his wife becomes seriously ill, but toward evening after playing his fiddle all day long the following occurs:

This may be where the violin becomes beautiful rather than annoying to Yakov. He begins to use it as a method of grieving.


He is really suffering over these losses of his with much anxiety. He is so angry he even tramples the reckoning beads. Again the word losses is emphasised and the last statement really adds up just how Yakov thinks the majority of the time. He is feeling totally hopeless, and the tone of the story so far feels very hopeless and sad and tragic with much underlying resentment and anger and lashing out at people for no appropriate reason. Also, he seems to be oblivious to his wife being so ill and he seems to be in some kind of denial by emersing his attention in his adding up of is losses.

Oh, that is a good point. You're right when he hears his wife is going to die he goes straight for his pocketbook. He can only think about loss in terms of money because his real loss is to painful to look at.

Janine
08-26-2007, 06:08 PM
Not only could he have made better coffins in a more profitable marker, he might have decided not to make coffins at all. At the end of the story he expresses desire to make boats instead of coffins. This is highly symbolic since we were talking about the boats being in a river representing life, and the coffins obviously represent death. Yakov could have decided to enjoy life, but instead he obsessed over loss and death. And, you're right, the important question is why.

Quark, Exactly my own thoughts. Yes, quite a contrast when he looks back on things he might have done instead of the dismal not to mention unprofitable profession of coffin making. It almost seems that from the beginning he has set himself up for failure with the coffin business so that he can continue with his pattern of constant complaining of loss. He seems to wallow in his losses and his sadness. It certainly has become comfortable to him so that he can't make a move to try another profession or something more uplifting. I was not sure that this was clear to me but since he was working with wood, did he make his own violin. I thought he had. There would have been a better and more rewarding line of work or even doing that and then working on barges or any number of things he surmises about sitting on the bank later in the story. Even the fact that he lives day and night with the symbol of death right in his one room house says much. Good thought - that the river does represent life whereas the coffins represent death and loss. Death is loss to those who are left behind. I think this whole story is about loss and the sense of loss and how loss can control ones life. Not only is the child a loss to Yahov and his wife, but Yahov's opportunities in life have been lost and he is a lost soul. He lost his wife's love by not paying any close attention to her. He lost much more than monetary values. He lost his whole sense of what is important in his life. On the bank he realises that he lost all his potenial opportunities to make his life worthwhile.


I think Yakov has every reason to improve his situation. Neither the dismal surroundings or the unsatisfying profession seem like an incentive to continue living that way. Nor do I think he's only living this way out of habit. His wife longs to die from the life that Yakov leads; and, at the end, Yakov does too. I think we're still left asking why they don't simply change.

I do think partly it is out of habit and out of a state of iertia that has set into his existence and taken it over. He has repressed so much feeling and desire that he now cannot move out of his hopeless state. I don't think that change can be simple in any man's life. It takes will and obviously Yahov did not have the incentive or drive to exercise his will to change...quite sad.




That's a good observation. I hadn't actually picked up on that, but it's more evidence of Yakov's repression.

Yes, Chekov did seem to make a point of this about the children's coffins and the loss. I had not though much about it on first reading but then knowing of his lost child I could link the connection and see where Chekov was leading us. It obviously did mean something to Yahov with the remark he always made about the children's coffins.



His fixation of wealth is certainly tied to his unhappiness. That isn't why he's mad at Rothschild for. Near the bottom of the passage you quoted we can see where they become enemies.

That is a good word - fixation - by now that is exactly what this money thing is - a fixation. I actually know someone who sustained a lot of personal loss with parents who were alcoholics and they lost their house when he was in high school, later he married and lost his wife to another man, again he married and the marriage went bad, so he lost half his house; now he represses many of his feelings and oddly enough he is much like Yahov always talking about his losses monetarily. He seems to have transferred his losses into a sense of money and a definite fixation with money. It is a sort of disease really. Because of feeling so totally insecure this man feel money can give him security but it never really does. It certainly can't give him back love he has lost. I think it is like this with Yahov. He needs love but he sees the money as a substitute for the emptiness in his life, when actually he had a great part in keeping his life empty by not showing love to others.


What sets Yakov off is the way Rothschild plays his music, not his millions of dollars. Earlier, Chekhov mentions that the conductor takes most of the money. Why is Yakov as furious at him? He's upset with Rothschild because the plaintive music recalls all that Yakov has lost and repressing. At the end of the story, Yakov plays similar music and gives Rothschild his violin to show that he accepts death, loss, and tragedy. He even refers to Yakov in fond language. Money is important to Yakov in the beginning. He might be somewhat envious of his rich musician friend. But, what aggravates Yakov the most is Rothschild's meaningful way of playing the violin.

Ok, I did not quite pick up on what this meant. I can see your point now. However, why did Chekov point out that Rothschild was named after a millionare? I think in Yahov's mind he has a lot of resentment towards the Jew for this reason as well and to the other Jews who are perhaps a little more financially secure than he is. I do think the last gesture on Yakov's part of giving the violin is a way of accepting death, loss and what his life was but beyond that I think it is a final gesture of actually connecting with another human being. Perhaps, too, it is a form of asking for forgiveness from Rothschild. Well, does Yakov cry when he plays the violin or when Rothschild plays. That part was not so clear to me either. I thought it was when Yakov played his sadly.


Yakov is most upset with himself. He even welcomes his own death. Do you think that Yakov has changed any during the story, though? If he didn't contact an illness, would he have lived a better life? Or, is he still stuck?

Yes, I agree. I think he changed slightly, but it is just a small awakening or a moment in his life when he sees what might have been. I don't know if he would have reformed his ways, if he would not have died. This may be pesimistic, but I think by then at his age, it was too late to mend his ways and be truly different.


This may be where the violin becomes beautiful rather than annoying to Yakov. He begins to use it as a method of grieving.


Wow, I did not see beauty in the violin yet but maybe you are right. I had not thought of it that way. It is a nice thought. He may now be getting in touch with his emotions on some level and the result is a sense of beauty. I thought the violin was soothing him or distracting him from his wive's dying.


Oh, that is a good point. You're right when he hears his wife is going to die he goes straight for his pocketbook. He can only think about loss in terms of money because his real loss is to painful to look at.

Yes, and I was even outraged when he measured her while she stood in their house, in order to start her coffin on days he had no work. If I was his wife I would be glad to die too. The woman was a prisoner of her husbands locked in grief.

In my next post I will post more of the story to discuss if it is ok with you. I also want to progress to the ending in the Lawrence thread, also if you are done responding to my last post. Let's finish it up and go onto a new L story.

Janine
08-27-2007, 03:47 PM
I seem to be alone in here. Oh well, I will continue...


"Yakov!" Marfa called unexpectedly. "I am dying."

He looked round at his wife. Her face was rosy with fever, unusually bright and joyful-looking. Bronze, accustomed to seeing her face always pale, timid, and unhappy-looking, was bewildered. It looked as if she really were dying and were glad that she was going away for ever from that hut, from the coffins, and from Yakov. . . . And she gazed at the ceiling and moved her lips, and her expression was one of happiness, as though she saw death as her deliverer and were whispering with him.

It was daybreak; from the windows one could see the flush of dawn. Looking at the old woman, Yakov for some reason reflected that he had not once in his life been affectionate to her, had had no feeling for her, had never once thought to buy her a kerchief, or to bring her home some dainty from a wedding, but had done nothing but shout at her, scold her for his losses, shake his fists at her; it is true he had never actually beaten her, but he had frightened her, and at such times she had always been numb with terror. Why, he had forbidden her to drink tea because they spent too much without that, and she drank only hot water. And he understood why she had such a strange, joyful face now, and he was overcome with dread.


I think these passages clearly state that Yakov "had not once in his life been affectionate to her, had had no feeling for her, had never once thought to buy her a kerchief, or to bring her home some dainty from a wedding, but had done nothing but shout at her, scold her for his losses, shake his fists at her..." and goes onto say"...true he had never actually beaten her, but he had frightened her, and at such times she had always been numb with terror." So there is that word 'losses' again...always 'his losses', not that she shares any part of this loss of his. In fact Yakov does not share anything at all with her. He seems to blame her for his losses, when he lashes out at her and 'scolds her for his losses'. Why does he direct his anger and frustration at the poor woman? Does he only do this after the child dies or even before? It seems to me this has been a pattern of his entire life - looking only at loss and never at life's blessings.

Quark
08-27-2007, 10:09 PM
I seem to be alone in here. Oh well, I will continue...




I think these passages clearly state that Yakov "had not once in his life been affectionate to her, had had no feeling for her, had never once thought to buy her a kerchief, or to bring her home some dainty from a wedding, but had done nothing but shout at her, scold her for his losses, shake his fists at her..." and goes onto say"...true he had never actually beaten her, but he had frightened her, and at such times she had always been numb with terror." So there is that word 'losses' again...always 'his losses', not that she shares any part of this loss of his. In fact Yakov does not share anything at all with her. He seems to blame her for his losses, when he lashes out at her and 'scolds her for his losses'. Why does he direct his anger and frustration at the poor woman? Does he only do this after the child dies or even before? It seems to me this has been a pattern of his entire life - looking only at loss and never at life's blessings.

You think Yakov is unhappy because he's pessimistic? That's a third argument to consider. Originally, I had assumed the beginning of Yakov's misery was his daughter's death and his subsequent repression. That was argument A. Almost directly after that--really I didn't have much time to enjoy my theory--you came up with reading B: Yakov is unhappy because he's selfish and obsessed with money. I thought this out, adjusted my reading to make room for the new ideas. I was content after that. Now, you invent argument C: Yakov is overly negative and close-minded. I can see this in Yakov's personality; it's one of his least attractive qualities. Yakov doesn't just experience setbacks. He revels in them. Long tirades about lost cash follow episodes of depression and anger. Yakov certainly doesn't see the positive in his life. In fact, part of his realization at the end is the hope that's left in his life. But, I wonder whether his pessimism is a cause or a symptom of his unhappiness.

I ask that question not knowing if their is an answer. Chekhov, himself, wrote to his publisher, "You confuse two things: solving a problem and stating a problem correctly. It is only the second that is obligatory for the artist". He meant that the artist displays reality without prescribing remedies for its faults. In "Rothschild's Fiddle", Yakov is the problem. Or to put it better, the question is: why is Yakov like Yakov? And, we've come up with three words synonymous with Yakov--repression, selfishness, and pessimism--but we don't know what causes these characteristics in Yakov. We don't know why Yakov is like Yakov. Perhaps, Chekhov was only accurately stating the question and not solving it.

Janine
08-27-2007, 11:51 PM
You think Yakov is unhappy because he's pessimistic? That's a third argument to consider. Originally, I had assumed the beginning of Yakov's misery was his daughter's death and his subsequent repression. That was argument A. Almost directly after that--really I didn't have much time to enjoy my theory--you came up with reading B: Yakov is unhappy because he's selfish and obsessed with money. I thought this out, adjusted my reading to make room for the new ideas. I was content after that. Now, you invent argument C: Yakov is overly negative and close-minded. I can see this in Yakov's personality; it's one of his least attractive qualities. Yakov doesn't just experience setbacks. He revels in them. Long tirades about lost cash follow episodes of depression and anger. Yakov certainly doesn't see the positive in his life. In fact, part of his realization at the end is the hope that's left in his life. But, I wonder whether his pessimism is a cause or a symptom of his unhappiness.

Oh Quark, sorry to cause you such grief - you know with theory C.:( I have to confess to you that reading your post when I got to C. I burst out laughing:lol: ...please forgive me...You did not have to adjust your reading again did you?
I do believe that Yakov is pessimistic as a major fault in his makeup, and not as a result of his child's death. I do believe the pessimism is what has caused him to be as he remains; inert and hopeless; he can't move past the pain of his life. His attitude has direly restricted any bit of happiness he might have had. He does revel in his losses and railing about them. He wallows in his own misery and lot in life but he does nothing to change it or help his situation. Instead he complains and keeps adding up those losses.


I ask that question not knowing if their is an answer. Chekhov, himself, wrote to his publisher, "You confuse two things: solving a problem and stating a problem correctly. It is only the second that is obligatory for the artist". He meant that the artist displays reality without prescribing remedies for its faults. In "Rothschild's Fiddle", Yakov is the problem. Or to put it better, the question is: why is Yakov like Yakov? And, we've come up with three words synonymous with Yakov--repression, selfishness, and pessimism--but we don't know what causes these characteristics in Yakov. We don't know why Yakov is like Yakov. Perhaps, Chekhov was only accurately stating the question and not solving it.

You know it is funny, but I read something in one of my books that Lawrence wrote, something like 'if you understand a story completely then it is spoiled/finished'. I have a zillion L books, so I will try to find the exact quote. It is a good one and may apply here to. I don't think Chekov has given us the information or not enough information to accurately make a judgement on just what caused Yakov's problems or his pessimism. Obviously Chekov did not want to render to us, his readers, this information. I really like what he told his publisher, and I agree with that idea. I think Lawrence would have agreed with that to some extent. Interesting that when you are studying various authors, you see some similarities and sometimes contrasts and opposite views. Makes it all so interesting, doesn't it?

Tomorrow I will try to post some more things I noticed about the story.

Janine
08-29-2007, 01:32 AM
Wow, Quasimodo just sent me a link to a great Chekov site. I have been reading all about the author and I am fascinated. I think now I will be anxious to read more of his work and even some of his plays. Thanks, Quasi!I read the whole biography - fascinating. He died same as Lawrence - Tuberculosis and he lived in France part of the time for health reasons, Lawrence died in France, too. Lawrence lived in Italy for a good part of the time - warmer climates for each of them. Lawrence denied his illness and kept on writing tons of work and so did Chekov - both in denial most of their lives, interesting....parallels I could see in their biographies.
This article points out that 'Rothschild's Violin' is one of the later works of Chekov. I will post the link tomorrow and quote some points from it that apply to this short story particularly, in my opinion. It was a long article and now I am tired out. Going to call it a night...been a long day.

Be back tomorrow to discuss more of the story.
Hey, Quark, do you know what the next short story will be? I have the book only for a few more days from the library and would like to read it.

Quark
08-29-2007, 03:52 PM
Wow, Quasimodo just sent me a link to a great Chekov site. I have been reading all about the author and I am fascinated. I think now I will be anxious to read more of his work and even some of his plays. Thanks, Quasi!I read the whole biography - fascinating. He died same as Lawrence - Tuberculosis and he lived in France part of the time for health reasons, Lawrence died in France, too. Lawrence lived in Italy for a good part of the time - warmer climates for each of them. Lawrence denied his illness and kept on writing tons of work and so did Chekov - both in denial most of their lives, interesting....parallels I could see in their biographies.
This article points out that 'Rothschild's Violin' is one of the later works of Chekov. I will post the link tomorrow and quote some points from it that apply to this short story particularly, in my opinion. It was a long article and now I am tired out. Going to call it a night...been a long day.

The site sounds great, but are you keeping it to yourself? Where is it? I still have access to my university's library. I haven't had to resort to the internet yet, but I will have to shortly. It would be good to have a website like that; what's the URL?



Hey, Quark, do you know what the next short story will be?

I thought we might read one of the more famous stories like "The Lady with the Dog". It's a love story with several ambiguities which should be fun to talk about. I think it's a little longer, but still under twenty pages; good read. We can start talking about that story as soon as you want. And, when we start, we don't have to stop discussing this story. Until we get some more activity on this thread, I don't see any reason to set timelines or reading lists when it's only the two of us. Read whenever you get time, and post when you think of something to say. And, if you want to say anything about another story that we haven't officially read yet, feel free to. I've read most of them already so I should know what you're referring to.


I have the book only for a few more days from the library and would like to read it.

Definetly renew that book.

Quark
08-29-2007, 04:17 PM
After rereading the story, I think I've made some sense of this. That is to say that I reconstructed Yakov's past and decided what in his personality is a cause and what is an effect. I think I can say what are the real experiences Yakov has had and what are just symbols. I think we can say that Yakov was always selfish, money-driven, and close-minded. We know that he mistreated and neglected his poor wife from the beginning. Yakov constantly reminds himself that he "never" showed affection for her. We receive no impression that Yakov ever held a job that he enjoyed. Most likely, he was always a greedy coffin maker. But, he may not have been completely miserable. I don't think his sad situation dawned on him until he lost his daughter. Then, he realizes all the life that he has never lived--all the happiness he could have had. That is what makes him truly miserable. He then repressed all the knowledge connected with his lost child. It is too painful to look at the life that he could have lived. So, instead of a direct confrontation with the bleak truth, Yakov prefers to prolong the uncomfortable--but bearable--life of ignorance. But, now that he's looked into the truth, he can't remain totally benighted in his greedy pursuits. His repression is an imperfect defensive tool. The sense of loss comes back to Yakov over and over again in different forms. He finally has his great epiphany at the end because his wife brought up the original symbol of loss--the lost child--that was too painful to be contemplated.

In other words, Yakov's original unhappiness are the losses he suffers from his own selfishness. His dead child becomes a powerful symbol for this later in his life. Finally, his pessimism is the symptom of his repression of the lost child.

That's the best I can do right now. What do you think?

Oh, and I posted some responses to your other questions above.

Janine
08-29-2007, 07:28 PM
The site sounds great, but are you keeping it to yourself? Where is it? I still have access to my university's library. I haven't had to resort to the internet yet, but I will have to shortly. It would be good to have a website like that; what's the URL?

Heck, I forgot to look it up and I don't want to go to email page and lose this one. I will put it in next post reply, which I hope to do after this one. It seems like a pretty good site. The biography was pretty long and extensive and quite informative.


I thought we might read one of the more famous stories like "The Lady with the Dog". It's a love story with several ambiguities which should be fun to talk about. I think it's a little longer, but still under twenty pages; good read. We can start talking about that story as soon as you want. And, when we start, we don't have to stop discussing this story. Until we get some more activity on this thread, I don't see any reason to set timelines or reading lists when it's only the two of us. Read whenever you get time, and post when you think of something to say. And, if you want to say anything about another story that we haven't officially read yet, feel free to. I've read most of them already so I should know what you're referring to.

Quark, you are good. I have a huge book and would be this story you pick - this story is not in my book; strange, since I just read online it is one of Chekov's major works. I checked the index 3 times, nope not there!

However, the good news is - I did find the text online, so I suppose I can read it online this time around - easy to quote from it that way anyway. Also, the site I found gives some good commentary which should be helpful. There seem to be a couple other sites, when I ran a seach 'The Lady and the Dog Chekov online text' that came up and they sound like good commentary, as well; might add to our own ideas or get us thinking in different directions. I am always open to suggestion on how to discuss these stories or what topics/aspects to explore within the story.

I like the way you think here - not structured, very flexable. Who needs the pressure, right, of a deadline? We are here to enjoy ourselves and the discussion groups and just maybe learn something new, even about ourselves. We started the Lawrence thread with the same notion, but some of the participants are anxious to go onto a new story each month. Sometimes we have run over and I don't care, or we have posted remarks after we started another story. I did that in the "Women in Love" Thread, and may still add to it from time to time....why not?



Definetly renew that book.

I did already once but after that they give you a grace period. I will probably take it back so I can get it out again for the next story we choose. No problem. I don't think in my library there is a big demand for Chekov. Wish I owned the book. It is a rather nice old addition with a handsome cover.

I will answer your next post after dinner. I am cooking and think my chicken is nearly done; plus I need fuel for my brain to function (think).

Janine
08-29-2007, 07:31 PM
Quark- here is the Chekov link - give you something to do while I am gone to dinner....ha!

http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/chekhovbio.html#PersonalInformation

Idril
08-30-2007, 08:31 PM
Or to put it better, the question is: why is Yakov like Yakov? And, we've come up with three words synonymous with Yakov--repression, selfishness, and pessimism--but we don't know what causes these characteristics in Yakov. We don't know why Yakov is like Yakov. Perhaps, Chekhov was only accurately stating the question and not solving it.

I've taken a bit of a vacation from the topic, not really intentional but that's not really important...anyway...

It would be interesting to know what Yakov was like before the death of his child, was that death to blame for his pessimistic views? And as for Chekhov not solving it, he never seems to be all that concerned with resolution anyway so I wouldn't doubt that 'why is Yakov like he is' wasn't a question he felt the need to address.

Lady with the Dog...is that the one that takes place, mostly, at a spa?

Quark
08-30-2007, 11:40 PM
I've taken a bit of a vacation from the topic, not really intentional but that's not really important...anyway...

It would be interesting to know what Yakov was like before the death of his child, was that death to blame for his pessimistic views? And as for Chekhov not solving it, he never seems to be all that concerned with resolution anyway so I wouldn't doubt that 'why is Yakov like he is' wasn't a question he felt the need to address.

Yeah, the story leaves you wondering about Yakov's past. Clearly Yakov, himself, can't account for it. He's totally repressed the memory of his lost daughter, so how accurate can his representations of his life be? Even though his past is somewhat hidden, we have to come to some conclusions about it if we're to make any estimation of Yakov's character. The whole question of his past decides whether Yakov is a just a petty, malevolent person or a hapless victim of fate. And, once we figure that out we can start to answer Yakov's greater question: What makes people miserable? So Yakov past is extremely important, but not expressly told by Chekhov. In the end, we're no more wise than Yakov because we're equally confused. I wonder if this is the intent, and I wonder if this is what makes the story so poignant. All we can do is grieve at the end like Yakov.


Lady with the Dog...is that the one that takes place, mostly, at a spa?

A lot of the action in "The Lady with the Dog" happens in a hotel in Yalta--I think it's something like Oreaga, or Origa? something Russian. I don't know if it's a spa or whether that's a different story. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what makes something a spa. I could be living in a spa right now and I wouldn't know it.

Janine
08-31-2007, 03:05 PM
Yeah, the story leaves you wondering about Yakov's past. Clearly Yakov, himself, can't account for it. He's totally repressed the memory of his lost daughter, so how accurate can his representations of his life be? Even though his past is somewhat hidden, we have to come to some conclusions about it if we're to make any estimation of Yakov's character. The whole question of his past decides whether Yakov is a just a petty, malevolent person or a hapless victim of fate. And, once we figure that out we can start to answer Yakov's greater question: What makes people miserable? So Yakov past is extremely important, but not expressly told by Chekhov. In the end, we're no more wise than Yakov because we're equally confused. I wonder if this is the intent, and I wonder if this is what makes the story so poignant. All we can do is grieve at the end like Yakov.

Quark, I agree with all you have said here, especially - that some facts are not expressly told by Chekhov. I do think this is the "intent"....and it makes the story very "poignant" to us. It is a 'puzzle', and 'enigma', as to why Yahov cannot be a happy individual, throughout his life; it is more 'realistic' that way, I believe. Many people are 'puzzles' to us and we can never really solve their story. Only they can know. Probably even Chekhov does not know. Hmmm.....just found this, quoting from Wikipedia article....

"His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later exploited by Virginia Woolf and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure.[12][13] He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.[14]"

Interesting, since I do think he is similar to Woolf in tone and internal thought and 'stream-of-consciousness' style. Funny we are studying both simultaneously.
Bye the way - the Wikipedia article is quite interesting with some great photos of Chekhov and also his home and Olga.
I did find this out also:

"At Yalta, Chekhov wrote one of his most famous stories, The Lady with the Dog (also called Lady with Lapdog),[82] which depicts what at first seems a casual liaison between a married man and a married woman in Yalta. Neither expects anything lasting from the encounter, but they find themselves drawn back to each other, risking the security of their family lives."

So the book in my library will do well for my needs. I had better hurry - they close at 5 tonight.



Hi Idril, nice to see you back; I hope you stick around for awhile.



A lot of the action in "The Lady with the Dog" happens in a hotel in Yalta--I think it's something like Oreaga, or Origa? something Russian. I don't know if it's a spa or whether that's a different story. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what makes something a spa. I could be living in a spa right now and I wouldn't know it.

Hey, Quark, Is the story sometimes called "Lady and The Lapdog"? since my library has a copy of that story in another anthology. I just found it listed in their online site. The book I presently have out does not have the story in it...strange considering it is one of most prominent stories from what I have read online.....so I have answered my own question above --- just revised my post...great news!

Quark
09-01-2007, 11:57 PM
I had to leave for a couple of days and I couldn't get to a computer. Hopefully people haven't completely given up on me yet. And, hopefully some people have read the story now. First, let me respond to some things.


Quark, I agree with all you have said here, especially - that some facts are not expressly told by Chekhov. I do think this is the "intent"....and it makes the story very "poignant" to us. It is a 'puzzle', and 'enigma', as to why Yahov cannot be a happy individual, throughout his life; it is more 'realistic' that way, I believe. Many people are 'puzzles' to us and we can never really solve their story. Only they can know. Probably even Chekhov does not know.

Yeah, I think Yakov's character is uncertain for a reason. Janine, you're right to point out how lifelike that is. But, I think Yakov's ambiguous past is also a statement about self-knowledge. Yakov's fuzzy memory is much like our own difficulty in defining ourselves, realizing our shortcomings and moving forward. As we read more of these stories, this theme will become more clear. Usually, somewhere locked within the characters is some important epiphany which generates the conflict in the story. In this case, Yakov's sense of lost life is at odds with his current life.



Hmmm.....just found this, quoting from Wikipedia article....

"His originality consists in an early use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, later exploited by Virginia Woolf and other modernists, combined with a disavowal of the moral finality of traditional story structure.[12][13] He made no apologies for the difficulties this posed to readers, insisting that the role of an artist was to ask questions, not to answer them.[14]"

Interesting, since I do think he is similar to Woolf in tone and internal thought and 'stream-of-consciousness' style. Funny we are studying both simultaneously.

Chekhov does place more importance on the characters' thoughts than the external action. This comes through noticeably in both "Rothschild's Violin" and "The Lady with a Dog". It's not quite a straight stream of consciousness--though. In Virginia Woolf novels, for example, the text gives us the direct unadulterated thoughts of the characters from their perspective. While Chekhov does write pretty thorough descriptions of a character's thoughts, they're usually done from a neutral perspective. Chekhov will translate for the audience Yakov's stream of consciousness instead of giving it to us directly like Virginia Woolf. He'll say something like, "Yakov wondered why there was so much suffering in the world". A typical stream of consciousness writer would put those kind of statements in first-person. I think Chekhov could be called a proto-stream of consciousness write, but, really, he's on the cusp between Realism--more externally oriented narration--and Modernism--the internal stream of consciousness narration.




"At Yalta, Chekhov wrote one of his most famous stories, The Lady with the Dog (also called Lady with Lapdog),[82] which depicts what at first seems a casual liaison between a married man and a married woman in Yalta. Neither expects anything lasting from the encounter, but they find themselves drawn back to each other, risking the security of their family lives."

So the book in my library will do well for my needs. I had better hurry - they close at 5 tonight.

Hey, Quark, Is the story sometimes called "Lady and The Lapdog"? since my library has a copy of that story in another anthology. I just found it listed in their online site. The book I presently have out does not have the story in it...strange considering it is one of most prominent stories from what I have read online.....so I have answered my own question above --- just revised my post...great news!

The stories are translated obviously, so their names could vary depending on what book you have. We had some confusion with "Rothschild's Fiddle" and "Rothschild's Violin", and I think most of the stories will be like that. I'm pretty sure that "The Lady and the Lapdog" is the same story as "The Lady with the Dog". Although, if you start reading and the story isn't about an adulterous relationship, then we might have problems.

I have a lot more to write, but I'm behind on some other threads. I'll have finish tomorrow. Have fun with the short story.

Janine
09-02-2007, 04:32 PM
I had to leave for a couple of days and I couldn't get to a computer. Hopefully people haven't completely given up on me yet. And, hopefully some people have read the story now. First, let me respond to some things.



Yeah, I think Yakov's character is uncertain for a reason. Janine, you're right to point out how lifelike that is. But, I think Yakov's ambiguous past is also a statement about self-knowledge. Yakov's fuzzy memory is much like our own difficulty in defining ourselves, realizing our shortcomings and moving forward. As we read more of these stories, this theme will become more clear. Usually, somewhere locked within the characters is some important epiphany which generates the conflict in the story. In this case, Yakov's sense of lost life is at odds with his current life.




Chekhov does place more importance on the characters' thoughts than the external action. This comes through noticeably in both "Rothschild's Violin" and "The Lady with a Dog". It's not quite a straight stream of consciousness--though. In Virginia Woolf novels, for example, the text gives us the direct unadulterated thoughts of the characters from their perspective. While Chekhov does write pretty thorough descriptions of a character's thoughts, they're usually done from a neutral perspective. Chekhov will translate for the audience Yakov's stream of consciousness instead of giving it to us directly like Virginia Woolf. He'll say something like, "Yakov wondered why there was so much suffering in the world". A typical stream of consciousness writer would put those kind of statements in first-person. I think Chekhov could be called a proto-stream of consciousness write, but, really, he's on the cusp between Realism--more externally oriented narration--and Modernism--the internal stream of consciousness narration.


The stories are translated obviously, so their names could vary depending on what book you have. We had some confusion with "Rothschild's Fiddle" and "Rothschild's Violin", and I think most of the stories will be like that. I'm pretty sure that "The Lady and the Lapdog" is the same story as "The Lady with the Dog". Although, if you start reading and the story isn't about an adulterous relationship, then we might have problems.

I have a lot more to write, but I'm behind on some other threads. I'll have finish tomorrow. Have fun with the short story.

Quark, in your first paragraph which Chekhov story are you referring to. Rothschild's Violin or the new one we will be doing? When do you think we will finish up this story and go onto that one? I am sure it is the same story and yes, what I read it is about an adulterous relationship - well, that should be interesting, more so than poor Yakov's story. One article online said it is the very same story. Still this current book I have does not contain it so I will get the other one out of my library on Tues - closed tomorrow for Labor Day. It features the 'Lady and the Lapdog' and other tales and according to their online site it is now available for checkout. This is better, I can alternate now between the two books.

Otherwise, good post on your part, understanding and helping me to understand the differences in the styles of 'stream-of-consciousness', and how they differ slightly in Woolf and Chekhov's writings. Makes perfect sense to me now. Thanks for the great explanation. :thumbs_up

Quark
09-02-2007, 11:51 PM
Quark, in your first paragraph which Chekhov story are you referring to. Rothschild's Violin or the new one we will be doing? When do you think we will finish up this story and go onto that one? I am sure it is the same story and yes, what I read it is about an adulterous relationship - well, that should be interesting, more so than poor Yakov's story. One article online said it is the very same story. Still this current book I have does not contain it so I will get the other one out of my library on Tues - closed tomorrow for Labor Day. It features the 'Lady and the Lapdog' and other tales and according to their online site it is now available for checkout. This is better, I can alternate now between the two books.


I was referring to both, but I was using "Rothschild's Fiddle" as the example because we've both read that one. I do think that the statement works for many Chekhov stories. I'll try to point it out in the next one which I'd like to start now. And, since we've been reading Virginia Woolf, I thought I'd let her give the first observation:


Our first impressions of Chekhov are not of simplicity but of bewilderment. What is the point of it, and why does he make a story out of this? we ask as we read story after story. A man falls in love with a married woman, and they part and meet, and in the end are left talking about their position and by what means they can be free from "this intolerable bondage."

"‘How? How?' he asked, clutching his head. ... And it seemed as though in a little while the solution would be found and then a new and splendid life would begin." That is the end. A postman drives a student to the station and all the way the student tries to make the postman talk, but he remains silent. Suddenly the postman says unexpectedly, "It's against the regulations to take any one with the post." And he walks up and down the platform with a look of anger on his face. "With whom was he angry? Was it with people, with poverty, with the autumn nights?" Again, that story ends.

But is it the end, we ask? We have rather the feeling that we have overrun our signals; or it is as if a tune had stopped short without the expected chords to close it. These stories are inconclusive, we say, and proceed to frame a criticism based upon the assumption that stories ought to conclude in a way that we recognize. In so doing we raise the question of our own fitness as readers. Where the tune is familiar and the end emphatic — lovers united, villains discomfited, intrigues exposed — as it is in most Victorian fiction, we can scarcely go wrong, but where the tune is unfamiliar and the end a note of interrogation or merely the information that they went on talking, as it is in Tchekov, we need a very daring and alert sense of literature to make us hear the tune, and in particular those last notes which complete the harmony. — Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Woolf is saying that many of the typical literary devices which create structure and meaning are missing in Chekhov's fiction. This leads to the kind of uncertainty we had in "Rothschild's Violin", but Woolf, in this quote, was referring to "The Lady with the Dog". What things do you think she found unclear about this story? Why do you think she may have been baffled by the ending and confused about the story's meaning?

Janine
09-03-2007, 12:29 AM
I was referring to both, but I was using "Rothschild's Fiddle" as the example because we've both read that one. I do think that the statement works for many Chekhov stories. I'll try to point it out in the next one which I'd like to start now. And, since we've been reading Virginia Woolf, I thought I'd let her give the first observation:

— Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Woolf is saying that many of the typical literary devices which create structure and meaning are missing in Chekhov's fiction. This leads to the kind of uncertainty we had in "Rothschild's Violin", but Woolf, in this quote, was referring to "The Lady with the Dog". What things do you think she found unclear about this story? Why do you think she may have been baffled by the ending and confused about the story's meaning?

Quark, This writing by Woolf is quite interesting to me. Thanks for posting it. I will have to read it again to get it's full portend. You ask some very pertinent questions, but you must give me a few days to read the story. I can't get the book until Tues; will read it that night. Tonight I will read the Lawrence story and I am also reading "The Plumed Serpent" by Lawrence, but quite slowly. I hope to complete the present chapter tonight and read the story, too. I better get offline, if I am to accomplish this, right? ;)

Quark
09-03-2007, 04:01 PM
Definitely keep Woolf's comments in mind when you're reading these stories. I think they're well put observations about the "bewilderment" involved in reading Chekhov. Often people consider Chekhov just a moralist, or a realist, or a humorist, but actually he's an artist. The stories have humor and realism, and the characters do derive some morals from the stories they're in. Yet, the point of the fiction is often beyond that. It has to do with that "bewilderment" that Woolf brings up. Once we begin to understand that, we can start to see why the stories are literature--not just comic everyday events that have a moral.

We can talk some more about this and define "bewilderment" more when we've all read "The Lady with the Dog".

Janine
09-03-2007, 05:15 PM
Quirk, Interesting. I also think this bewilderment idea could certainly apply to Lawrence's work as well, especially this last story I read last night. Interesting story, by the way, very multilayed - much to think about there. Yes, very true there was a bit of humor even in the last Chekhov story we read. It was subtle but I caught it now and then. Let's face it the funniest humor is real life humor and it's many ironies.

I will try tonight to read part of the (online) "The Lady and the Dog (Lapdog)" - I am sure it is the same story.

Quark
09-03-2007, 08:09 PM
Quirk, Interesting. I also think this bewilderment idea could certainly apply to Lawrence's work as well, especially this last story I read last night.

Certainly, Lawrence's stories also don't have obvious heroes and villains or conclusive endings. Many times we're wondering what the story is meaning to tell us. In the last Lawrence story we read, we couldn't be sure whether the violent end really solved anything. And, we didn't know who to blame. Was it just Adams? Or, possibly, were both Elsie and Whiston somehow culpable? Something about the story thwarts our effort to label people good or bad, and something also stops us from solving the characters' problems ourselves. We need new words to describe the characters and a larger context to describe the action. We need what Woolf calls a "very daring and alert sense of literature" to talk about this. Whether this is really cool idea about literature or just an author's excuse for not being able to reach conclusions, I don't know. But, you're right, I think it is applicable for both Chekhov and Lawrence.

Janine
09-03-2007, 11:00 PM
Certainly, Lawrence's stories also don't have obvious heroes and villains or conclusive endings. Many times we're wondering what the story is meaning to tell us. In the last Lawrence story we read, we couldn't be sure whether the violent end really solved anything. And, we didn't know who to blame. Was it just Adams? Or, possibly, were both Elsie and Whiston somehow culpable? Something about the story thwarts our effort to label people good or bad, and something also stops us from solving the characters' problems ourselves. We need new words to describe the characters and a larger context to describe the action. We need what Woolf calls a "very daring and alert sense of literature" to talk about this. Whether this is really cool idea about literature or just an author's excuse for not being able to reach conclusions, I don't know. But, you're right, I think it is applicable for both Chekhov and Lawrence.

Hi Quark, Oh good, glad we agree. Most certainly the last Lawrence story did have this quality of loose ends not quite coming to a definite final conclusion - there really was no definitive conclusion, but rather a sense of 'wondering' long after the story ended, and so it is with Chekhov's story about Yahov and I would think other stories he writes as well from what I recall of a few I have read before. I will be anxious to see if it is the same with the story that we are about to read. I do think it 'very daring' and an 'alert sense of literature' on the part of the author. I very much like this idea with short stories. Didn't Woolf's own novel "To the Lighthouse" end with much 'wondering' what would follow?

Tues. Edit: Hi again; I have read 2/3 of the story last night. I like it so far very much. It is interesting and reminds me of some other story I read, but now sure which story that is. It might come to me eventually. I see a bit of humor in the story also - very subtle but still amusing.
I am having some computer problems today that I need to address, also a sporadic mouse which may need to be replaced since it is driving me crazy, and I will be disconnected also for a short while to hook up a new monitor...finally! Probably will be online, on here later tonight....but not sure. Looks like a busy day in real life time, too.

Idril
09-04-2007, 08:10 PM
I came back only to leave on a little vacation for a few days. :blush: Quark, I remember now that it wasn't a spa, I knew they were not at home and were without their spouses but I was a little confused as to the setting. I'm in the middle of Beckett right now but I'll skim through the story tonight or tomorrow or possibly on thursday because my son has a doctor's appointment and we'll be sitting in the hospital for a few hours. I think since I've read it before, a skimming will suffice. I remember liking this story and I remember it being quite sad.

I find it a little funny that the author of Orlando is talking about bewilderment in Chekhov. :lol: ;) I understand she is talking not so much about the content, but the lack of endings and resolution and while I certainly acknowledge that that can be disconcerning, I still find his stories much more coherant than hers. Of course, I'm not that well versed in Woolf, I've only read a couple of her books and struggled with both of them whereas I responded to Chekhov right away with little trouble.

Janine
09-04-2007, 10:14 PM
Idril, just curious; how did you find 'Orlando'? I read something on it and wondered if I would like it. I have only read 'To the Lighthouse' and 'Mrs. Dalloway' so I, too, cannot judge well Woolf's writings.

I will also be progressing slowly on this story. Went to my library tonight to get the anthology (with story in it)and seemed they were surrounded by police and firetrucks. Turned out someone smelled smoke two times today but they had not found anything - just a big scare. Hope the building does not burn down over night. That would be tragic - no more free videos or CD's, not to mention books!

Idril
09-04-2007, 10:55 PM
Idril, just curious; how did you find 'Orlando'?


It was incredibly bizarre. Bizarre isn't always a bad thing though and there were some truly fascinating moments but you know what I had problems with? Not the fact that this person keeps switching sexes for no apparent reason or the fact that he/she lives for hundreds of years, no, that I could deal with. What drove me nuts was that no one seemed to think it was odd. :rolleyes: A silly thing to get hung up on, I know but I just couldn't get over it. If even one person had said, "Wow, Orlando, it's really weird that you just woke up as a woman" or "I wonder why it is that you've lived for 300 years", I would've been fine. Or if he/she had made some attempt to conceal or deal with these changes but everyone acts like it was just one of those things that happen once in awhile. I don't know, I guess if I can accept that someone's sex can change, the fact that people accept it as normal shouldn't be that big of a stretch. I would recommend it just because reading the book is such a surreal experience...but, it is truly odd. The only other Woolf book I've read was The Voyage Out which left me largely indifferent. The ending was refreshingly unpredictable and surprising but that's the most positive thing I can say about it. Although, it did contain the line, "So far, owing to great care on my part, they think of God as a kind of walrus;" :lol: Oh, that made me laugh for a long time.

Janine
09-04-2007, 11:39 PM
It was incredibly bizarre. Bizarre isn't always a bad thing though and there were some truly fascinating moments but you know what I had problems with? Not the fact that this person keeps switching sexes for no apparent reason or the fact that he/she lives for hundreds of years, no, that I could deal with. What drove me nuts was that no one seemed to think it was odd. :rolleyes: A silly thing to get hung up on, I know but I just couldn't get over it. If even one person had said, "Wow, Orlando, it's really weird that you just woke up as a woman" or "I wonder why it is that you've lived for 300 years", I would've been fine. Or if he/she had made some attempt to conceal or deal with these changes but everyone acts like it was just one of those things that happen once in awhile. I don't know, I guess if I can accept that someone's sex can change, the fact that people accept it as normal shouldn't be that big of a stretch. I would recommend it just because reading the book is such a surreal experience...but, it is truly odd. The only other Woolf book I've read was The Voyage Out which left me largely indifferent. The ending was refreshingly unpredictable and surprising but that's the most positive thing I can say about it. Although, it did contain the line, "So far, owing to great care on my part, they think of God as a kind of walrus;" :lol: Oh, that made me laugh for a long time.

Idril, thanks for the rundown on the novel. That truly does sound a bit odd....the age and sex thing. Humm, I would consider the same things, you were while reading it. I am too much of a realist to not wonder why others did not find it a bit strange. My friend from Michigan told me she liked best Woolf's "The Waves". I should probably try that novel someday. Not sure I want to invest my time in "Orlando". I will see. Interesting last line - I wonder, did the Beatles get their idea for the song "I am the Walrus" from this line?

Janine
09-05-2007, 03:00 PM
Quark, here is the link to the Chekhov site.


http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/chekhovbio.html#PersonalInformation


Quasimodo sent it to me so he gets all the credit. It is an interesting site.

Quark
09-05-2007, 03:13 PM
Didn't Woolf's own novel "To the Lighthouse" end with much 'wondering' what would follow?

Tues. Edit: Hi again; I have read 2/3 of the story last night. I like it so far very much. It is interesting and reminds me of some other story I read, but now sure which story that is. It might come to me eventually. I see a bit of humor in the story also - very subtle but still amusing.
I am having some computer problems today that I need to address, also a sporadic mouse which may need to be replaced since it is driving me crazy, and I will be disconnected also for a short while to hook up a new monitor...finally! Probably will be online, on here later tonight....but not sure. Looks like a busy day in real life time, too.


I find it a little funny that the author of Orlando is talking about bewilderment in Chekhov. :lol: ;) I understand she is talking not so much about the content, but the lack of endings and resolution and while I certainly acknowledge that that can be disconcerning, I still find his stories much more coherant than hers. Of course, I'm not that well versed in Woolf, I've only read a couple of her books and struggled with both of them whereas I responded to Chekhov right away with little trouble.

Woolf's characterization of Chekhov seems like self-description, doesn't it? Much of Woolf's Reader is meant to divide past literature into two camps: that which is outdated and that which is moving towards a new better form of literature. She latches onto Chekhov because she believes that his clever technical innovations could be part of the new trend--notice how she separates "bewilderment" from the Victorian writers. Since Woolf thinks that Chekhov's writing is most useful to her own, he becomes one of the heroes of the Reader.

I'm not sure if Chekhov would have wanted to be considered this way. He considered himself a great realist, and realism honors clarity and precision which Woolf's definition claims he lacks. He probably thought his new form produced wit, and not bewilderment; he probably considered his endings understatements, not puzzles.

What's funny is that we probably read Chekhov for that "bewilderment" Woolf is talking about even though Chekhov wasn't conscious it was there. Even though Woolf's comments have some personal motivations, her perspective is closer to our own. She was also a reader studying his work from a certain geographical and generational distance. Somewhere in the travel between 19th century Russia and 20th century England the cleverness and wit of Chekhov's writing lose their edge, and what stands out more is the abstracted quality of "bewilderment". I wonder, after all this time, who has more appreciation for his work?


I remember liking this story and I remember it being quite sad.

This story is also a bit of a downer--sorry about that. Next time, I promise, we'll have a lighthearted, funny one. The sad ones can a be fun too, though, once we dig a little deeper.

Idril
09-05-2007, 05:49 PM
This story is also a bit of a downer--sorry about that. Next time, I promise, we'll have a lighthearted, funny one. The sad ones can a be fun too, though, once we dig a little deeper.

Oh, don't worry about that. I actually like sad and depressing stories so this will be right up my alley. ;)

Quark
09-05-2007, 06:31 PM
Oh, don't worry about that. I actually like sad and depressing stories so this will be right up my alley. ;)

You must have liked the last story; it really can't get much sadder. I haven't read a more depressing story than that since I read Jude the Obscure where the main character dies alone reciting the book of Job.

Your review of Orlando was interesting. I didn't know the book was so fantastic and far-fetched. I tried to pick it up at my bookstore, but they hadn't heard of it. In fact, they hadn't heard of Virginia Woolf--I had to spell out the name to them before they could even search for the book. Imagine the trouble I had when I tried to order a Dosdoevsky novel from them. After five tries at getting them to pronounce the name, we just decided to refer to him as "The Russian One".

--Where's that book I ordered?
--You mean that book by "The Russian One"?
--Yes, and where's my W-O-O-L-F book?
--Who?
--Never mind

My conversations with them go something like that.

littlewing53
09-05-2007, 06:54 PM
hello...have been lurking in the back reading this post...i like russian authors too...so i had to read the violin story...you all made it sound so interesting..enjoyed it very much...my friend is also reading it now who is that you were talking about quark...jude the obscure?...got lost is that also by chekhov? sounds interesting..

Quark
09-05-2007, 07:17 PM
hello...have been lurking in the back reading this post...i like russian authors too...so i had to read the violin story...you all made it sound so interesting..enjoyed it very much...my friend is also reading it now who is that you were talking about quark...jude the obscure?...got lost is that also by chekhov? sounds interesting..

Hi, littlewing. I'm glad you liked "Rothschild's Violin". It's definitely one of my favorite Chekhov stories; it's poignant, philosophical, and clever. And, it accomplishes so much in only nine pages--very concise. Next, we're going to read perhaps the most famous Chekhov short story: "The Lady with a dog" which is about the conflict between our public and private lives. It's a good story. So, if you have time, don't hesitate to step into the discussion--don't just lurk.

Oh, and Jude the Obscure is a novel by Thomas Hardy. I brought it up because of the low mood the story ends on is similar to the end in "Rothschild's Violin".

Idril
09-05-2007, 07:24 PM
You must have liked the last story; it really can't get much sadder. I haven't read a more depressing story than that since I read Jude the Obscure where the main character dies alone reciting the book of Job.

Oh my heavens! Jude the Obscure was a devastating book. It wasn't Jude's death that killed me though, I think I was numb at that point. It was the scene in the hotel...with the children...I won't give away plot points but you know what I'm talking about.

I think the most depressing book I've ever read is The Idiot by Dostoevsky. It's a close race between that and Jude... but I have to go with The Idiot. The oppressive tragedy just never lets up from page one to the end and it just keeps building, you're thinking it can't possibly get any worse and yet some how, it does.

The depressing and oppressive quality is one of the things I like about Russian literature. They have such a dark view of life and the processes of the mind. I think Dostoevsky captures that spirit best but Chekhov does a fine job himself. ;)


Your review of Orlando was interesting. I didn't know the book was so fantastic and far-fetched.

The odd thing is, given the subject matter, it's not written as a fantastic and far-fetched book. She tells it just like she would any other story, it's all dealt with so matter of factly. You should give it a try, even though it may not go down as one of my favorite books of all time, I'm glad I read it.


After five tries at getting them to pronounce the name, we just decided to refer to him as "The Russian One".

:lol: :lol: Even if you haven't read either of those authors, I can't imagine working in a book store and not even knowing who they are.

Janine
09-05-2007, 11:34 PM
Hi All, How funny. All the last few posts have been so, especially Quirk's experience in the bookstore. Even in my huge Barnes and Noble bookstore, I sometimes feel as though I am requesting some book from outerspace - the sales people look at you like you have two heads; so I can fully relate.

Unfortunately, I am going half blind right now. I hooked up my new LCD monitor, but I can't figure out how to adjust the brightness - you need to be a rocket scientist, I believe. I know it has to be some simple adjustment, but even in my own Display window of my computer I can't find a dark/light setting. What is with that? Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

The monitor will be super when I get it adjusted and darkened up, but currently I need sunglasses to even look at the screen, especially on here - it is blindingly bright! My mouse is still a bit odd, too, even though I cleaned it; somehow I think it is time for a new optical type mouse.

I wanted to let everyone know the posts I have read and found interesting. Yes, Idril, I would aqree with you "Jude the Obscure" is especially devastating but mostly in the lodging scene. I don't want to give the book away to anyone. Have you ever seen the film based on the book. Oh my, Kate Winslett does an incredible job with that scene. For the information of Little Wing,Jude the Obscure is a Thomas Hardy novel - the last he wrote. After Jude he turned to poetry exclusively. I think that novel did him in completely. If you have not read his other novels he is a fine author. I have read nearly everything he wrote and once belonged to a group online dedicated exclusively to his life and work.

I have been reading the other posts concerned with Woolf and her thoughts on Chekhov and I do not really have any more comments on the subject.
I now have read all but the last section of the short story 'The Lady and the Dog'. I like the story very much. I hope to finish it up tonight.

Quark
09-06-2007, 01:16 PM
Oh my heavens! Jude the Obscure was a devastating book. It wasn't Jude's death that killed me though, I think I was numb at that point. It was the scene in the hotel...with the children...I won't give away plot points but you know what I'm talking about.

I think the most depressing book I've ever read is The Idiot by Dostoevsky. It's a close race between that and Jude... but I have to go with The Idiot. The oppressive tragedy just never lets up from page one to the end and it just keeps building, you're thinking it can't possibly get any worse and yet some how, it does.

The depressing and oppressive quality is one of the things I like about Russian literature. They have such a dark view of life and the processes of the mind. I think Dostoevsky captures that spirit best but Chekhov does a fine job himself. ;)


I wanted to let everyone know the posts I have read and found interesting. Yes, Idril, I would aqree with you "Jude the Obscure" is especially devastating but mostly in the lodging scene. I don't want to give the book away to anyone. Have you ever seen the film based on the book. Oh my, Kate Winslett does an incredible job with that scene. For the information of Little Wing,Jude the Obscure is a Thomas Hardy novel - the last he wrote. After Jude he turned to poetry exclusively. I think that novel did him in completely. If you have not read his other novels he is a fine author. I have read nearly everything he wrote and once belonged to a group online dedicated exclusively to his life and work.

Yeah, that part of Jude the Obscure was a surprise; it really made me jump. There's a version with Kate Winslett? Sounds hot, but could she really pull it off? I can imagine her as the carefree Sue in the beginning, but could she really be the contrite and subdued Sue at the end? It's a hard role.



The odd thing is, given the subject matter, it's not written as a fantastic and far-fetched book. She tells it just like she would any other story, it's all dealt with so matter of factly. You should give it a try, even though it may not go down as one of my favorite books of all time, I'm glad I read it.

So it's a book about gender changing three-hundred year old that is realistic. Hmm, sounds good. I'll have to give it a read.



:lol: :lol: Even if you haven't read either of those authors, I can't imagine working in a book store and not even knowing who they are.

I know. It's a bit like being a doctor and not knowing where the liver is.



Unfortunately, I am going half blind right now. I hooked up my new LCD monitor, but I can't figure out how to adjust the brightness - you need to be a rocket scientist, I believe. I know it has to be some simple adjustment, but even in my own Display window of my computer I can't find a dark/light setting. What is with that? Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

The monitor will be super when I get it adjusted and darkened up, but currently I need sunglasses to even look at the screen, especially on here - it is blindingly bright! My mouse is still a bit odd, too, even though I cleaned it; somehow I think it is time for a new optical type mouse.

There are usually buttons on the monitor that control that. As the technology has progressed, though, the buttons have gotten smaller and better hid. On a lot of the LCD screens they're behind the monitor. If you feel with your fingers behind the outside frame of the monitor, you might feel some bumps--those are the buttons that change the brightness and contrast. My monitor, an early twentieth century model, I think, is incredibly old, and I don't even have buttons. My monitor has these giant wheels and knobs just below the screen which I turn. This thing is huge. I believe it was the second monitor ever built. The first one was huge as well, but they added some more things onto the second one to make it this fifty pound behemoth that hums. That's right, it actually makes noise. I'm not sure how a monitor makes a hum since there is no fan, but it whistles none the less. It's hard to find a computer table that will even fit this thing because it goes back about two feet. Some day I'm sure I'll upgrade to LCD--for my eyes if nothing else--but right now I'm stuck with my humming fifty pound friend.


I read over "The Lady with the Dog" again so I could explain the mood of this story. And, since I've never used emoticons before, I figured I would show the transitions in mood entirely in little faces.

:):rolleyes::(;) :( :lol: :p :nod: :eek: :brow: :confused: :( :brickwall :( :( ;) :(

Tell me if you think this is a good rendering. I wasn't sure about some of the story--like the end. I used mostly frowning faces because it does get depressing. I never used any bawling faces, though, because I don't think it ever goes that far. There is always hope, it seems. I thought I nailed the middle part with their relationship. The lascivious brow raise seemed particularly fitting for their romantic episode in the hotel, and I thought the nod worked for the flirting parts. Still, there are six frowny faces--an awfully sad story. Do you think that's enough, though?

littlewing53
09-06-2007, 02:13 PM
thanks for the comments everyone ...and for peaking my curiosity and expanding my reading material...tho it demands more time for peace and quiet

...it's good to know jude was written by hardy...i have enjoyed his books...b/c of tess and far from the maddening crowd movies started reading his books...so i look forward to reading jude..tried to read the return of the native but hate to confess have yet to finish...

btw love yr new avatar idril...:)...loved reading the idiot as well...there's definitely a dark cloud lingering over the russian writing...but still find myself going back for more...

as far as books are concerned there's nothing like a garage sale, or an old second hand store that sells old books..it's so exciting to find books i've wanted to read or reference books....and for a quarter or couple of bucks...what a find!!!...

Idril
09-06-2007, 02:20 PM
That's brilliant, Quark! :lol: Is the rolling eyes for Dmitri's view of women? ;)

After having read it a second time, I don't think the ending was as depressing as I first thought it. The whole situation is hopeless of course but there the belief that no matter how difficult things might get, they'll figure out a way to be together. There is an acceptance of their fate, if not a resolution to it. It's not such a bad thing to be able to say, "This situation sucks and we're miserable and in tremendous amounts of pain but one day, we'll find a way to make it better." :p

I did know there was a film version of Jude but honestly, I don't know if I could take it. Reading it was devastating enough, I'm not sure I need to see it. :(

Janine
09-06-2007, 02:38 PM
Yeah, that part of Jude the Obscure was a surprise; it really made me jump. There's a version with Kate Winslett? Sounds hot, but could she really pull it off? I can imagine her as the carefree Sue in the beginning, but could she really be the contrite and subdued Sue at the end? It's a hard role.

Yes, a very hard role to take on but Kate can handle just about anything - she is a fine actress. Did you see her in Hamlet - the Branagh full-length version(?)- she was amazing as Ophelia rapidly going mad. Actually, I think the film, "Jude" is pretty well done, and the scene we were referring to of horror she handled incredibly well. She seems to shine in tragic parts. By the way, in a few scenes Kate (since you deem her hot) shows all. The ending is a bit strange and does not hold true, exactly to the book. Still, all in all, it is a well-done production with the two women being portrayed quite accurately I believe. Yes, in the book how that part just hits one and takes you by surprise.





So it's a book about gender changing three-hundred year old that is realistic. Hmm, sounds good. I'll have to give it a read.


:lol: :eek2: :brow: :confused: :lol: (this emoticon thing is spreading)


I know. It's a bit like being a doctor and not knowing where the liver is.

Really....I do wonder sometimes how these people get jobs at bookstores, anyway.



There are usually buttons on the monitor that control that. As the technology has progressed, though, the buttons have gotten smaller and better hid. On a lot of the LCD screens they're behind the monitor. If you feel with your fingers behind the outside frame of the monitor, you might feel some bumps--those are the buttons that change the brightness and contrast. My monitor, an early twentieth century model, I think, is incredibly old, and I don't even have buttons. My monitor has these giant wheels and knobs just below the screen which I turn. This thing is huge. I believe it was the second monitor ever built. The first one was huge as well, but they added some more things onto the second one to make it this fifty pound behemoth that hums. That's right, it actually makes noise. I'm not sure how a monitor makes a hum since there is no fan, but it whistles none the less. It's hard to find a computer table that will even fit this thing because it goes back about two feet. Some day I'm sure I'll upgrade to LCD--for my eyes if nothing else--but right now I'm stuck with my humming fifty pound friend.

Oh, how funny and reminescent of my old monitor, which is still sitting on my desktop - pushed down to make room for this space-saving one. It is a monster monitor also. My son gave it to me - he works installing equipment in colleges, hospitals, school, pharmaceutical companies. Actually, this old one is a high end monitor I think - a NEC - ever hear of this brand? Seems new LCD ones sell for at least 1000. But the thing weights a ton and is so cumbersome and is as deep at you said yours is...as I said a monster! I think it is bowing the table top. Screen's pretty large and flatscreen, but not widescreen, but the color is wonderful and resolution is amazing. I don't know - maybe I am regretting this whole switch now. I still can't get the brightness toned down. I think I will go to the local Staples store and see if anyone working there could clue me in on these weird settings and menus - buttons are on the front of the monitor, but you need to be a rocket scientist to understand how they work. Quark, you may be better off keeping you 50lb friend. I am so frustrated today and still going quite blind from monitor glare.



I read over "The Lady with the Dog" again so I could explain the mood of this story. And, since I've never used emoticons before, I figured I would show the transitions in mood entirely in little faces.

:):rolleyes::(;) :( :lol: :p :nod: :eek: :brow: :confused: :( :brickwall :( :( ;) :(

Tell me if you think this is a good rendering. I wasn't sure about some of the story--like the end. I used mostly frowning faces because it does get depressing. I never used any bawling faces, though, because I don't think it ever goes that far. There is always hope, it seems. I thought I nailed the middle part with their relationship. The lascivious brow raise seemed particularly fitting for their romantic episode in the hotel, and I thought the nod worked for the flirting parts. Still, there are six frowny faces--an awfully sad story. Do you think that's enough, though?

:lol: :D :lol: :D :lol: I could not stop laughing. Very creative Quark! It does seem to be a pretty accurate rendering. :lol: ;)

I am still way behind you. I have not finished reading it once yet. I was too tired last night to read the last section or chapter. Next time do you think you could pick a little shorter story, Q? ho hummmm.......

Quark
09-06-2007, 06:51 PM
littlewing, I'm happy that you're learning something from this. I wasn't sure if we were really getting anything done here. We're getting a little chatty in between stories--not that it's a bad thing. Certainly read more Hardy if you get a chance; Jude is my favorite book of his, too. I wonder about his poetry sometimes. Some people say they enjoy it immensely, but I haven't read any of it yet. If you want to know more about his work, you probably should PM Janine--she's the expert, I think.



btw love yr new avatar idril...:)...loved reading the idiot as well...there's definitely a dark cloud lingering over the russian writing...but still find myself going back for more...

For being as much of Dostoevsky fan as I am, I haven't read The Idiot or The Possessed--two of his major novels. I dissuaded myself from reading The Idiot because I thought it would be overly sentimental and probably contain long boring passages where little happens. I estimated The Idiot by taking the boring passages from The Brothers Karamazov and stretched them into 600 pages. From what you and Idril are saying, though, it seems like I may have made a mistake. Is the book dark and tragic? I thought it would be unrealistically upbeat since it has a hero that Dostoevsky believed very strongly in. My favorite Dostoevsky characters are the ones that he's critical of; Ivan Karamazov and Raskilnokov are the best ones, I think.


That's brilliant, Quark! :lol: Is the rolling eyes for Dmitri's view of women? ;)

Yeah, I was rolling my eyes at Dmitri's misogyny and also his pretentious wife. They're quite a pair. Do you think Dmitri really means it, though? Does he really view women as a "lower race" or is he merely being guarded? In that great paragraph where Dmitri learns the difference between his personal life and his fake social life, he considers his negative view of women as part of that disingenuous public life. Could Dmitri's disrespect towards women be fake?


After having read it a second time, I don't think the ending was as depressing as I first thought it. The whole situation is hopeless of course but there the belief that no matter how difficult things might get, they'll figure out a way to be together. There is an acceptance of their fate, if not a resolution to it. It's not such a bad thing to be able to say, "This situation sucks and we're miserable and in tremendous amounts of pain but one day, we'll find a way to make it better." :p


Their whole relationship is very tenuous. Not only might they get separated, but also Dmitri could lose interest. His attitude at the beginning says it all: "Every intimacy, which at first so agreeably diversifies life and appears a light and charming adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy, and in the long run the situation becomes unbearable". Might not their love affair grow into a tiresome marriage? Or, what happens when Anna discovers that Dmitri isn't the kind and lofty gentlemen that she thinks he is? We know both Anna and Dmitri have been fooled in the past about love. It's hard to tell whether these characters are repeating another tragic cycle, or actually beginning a new life with each other.


By the way, in a few scenes Kate (since you deem her hot) shows all. The ending is a bit strange and does not hold true, exactly to the book. Still, all in all, it is a well-done production with the two women being portrayed quite accurately I believe. Yes, in the book how that part just hits one and takes you by surprise.

Wow, that does sound hot. You right; I don't remember that part in the book, either. Was it still the same story--though with a little more nudity?


I still can't get the brightness toned down. I think I will go to the local Staples store and see if anyone working there could clue me in on these weird settings and menus - buttons are on the front of the monitor, but you need to be a rocket scientist to understand how they work. Quark, you may be better off keeping you 50lb friend. I am so frustrated today and still going quite blind from monitor glare.

Hmm, there should be a button with a symbol that looks like circle with a line down the middle. Or, it might have one with a circle with little lines around it--like a crude drawing of the sun. Those should be your brightness controls.


:lol: :D :lol: :D :lol: I could not stop laughing. Very creative Quark! It does seem to be a pretty accurate rendering. :lol: ;)

I'm glad you liked it. I haven't been in a particularly verbal mood today. The emoticons come in handy sometimes.


I am still way behind you. I have not finished reading it once yet. I was too tired last night to read the last section or chapter. Next time do you think you could pick a little shorter story, Q? ho hummmm.......

Normally I'd sympathize with you, but I think this time you're just getting lazy. The Chekhov story isn't any longer than the Lawrence story we're doing, and you haven't posted on that even. Although, your unbearably radiant monitor might have something to do with that, so I take it back. But, still, c'mon it's 16 pages.

Idril
09-06-2007, 07:45 PM
btw love yr new avatar idril...:)

I'm assuming you're talking about Chris there? Yes, a few people are sporting beefcake in honor of Biblio's birthday and I'm not really the male model type so I went with the rocker theme. He's as good a beefcake as any. ;)






For being as much of Dostoevsky fan as I am, I haven't read The Idiot or The Possessed--two of his major novels. I dissuaded myself from reading The Idiot because I thought it would be overly sentimental and probably contain long boring passages where little happens. I estimated The Idiot by taking the boring passages from The Brothers Karamazov and stretched them into 600 pages. From what you and Idril are saying, though, it seems like I may have made a mistake. Is the book dark and tragic? I thought it would be unrealistically upbeat since it has a hero that Dostoevsky believed very strongly in. My favorite Dostoevsky characters are the ones that he's critical of; Ivan Karamazov and Raskilnokov are the best ones, I think.

Oh my gosh, there is nothing, not even remotely upbeat about The Idiot. Dostoevsky might like Myshkin, but that doesn't stop him from torturing the poor man endlessly. Not one happy or sentimental thing happens in that book so you don't have to worry about that. It is both dark and tragic. And I hear you about Brothers Karamazov, I had a hard time with that one but The Idiot doesn't have quite the tangents than BK has. Dostoevsky has a tendency to rant, that's there in some form in all his books but I didn't find it as bothersome in this one as Brothers. The Posessed is excellent as well, I have a hard time deciding which is my favorite Dostoevsky book, that or Crime and Punishment...it's that good.




Yeah, I was rolling my eyes at Dmitri's misogyny and also his pretentious wife. They're quite a pair. Do you think Dmitri really means it, though? Does he really view women as a "lower race" or is he merely being guarded? In that great paragraph where Dmitri learns the difference between his personal life and his fake social life, he considers his negative view of women as part of that disingenuous public life. Could Dmitri's disrespect towards women be fake?

Well, I thought it was interesting when Chekhov said that Dmitri "feared" his wife, it's an interesting choice of words considering that he was dismissing her for being unintelligent and inelegant. There's part of me that thinks what Dmitri fears the most is emotional intimacy, hence his affairs and his opinion of women as the "lower race". He sets himself apart from them and objectifies them, even his wife he keeps at a "safe" distance. I think to a certain extent, that's why I feel his relationship with Anna has a fair chance of being real. Chekhov even says, "And only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love-for the first time in his life." Who's to say he can mantain that feeling, falling in love can be easy, it's mantaining that gets tricky.


Or, what happens when Anna discovers that Dmitri isn't the kind and lofty gentlemen that she thinks he is?

Ah but doesn't Dmitri address this specifically?


He always seemed to women different from what he was, and they loved in him not himself, but the man created by their imagination, whom they had been eagerly seeking all their lives; and afterwards, when they noticed their mistake, they loved him all the same.

Dmitri doesn't seem to be too worried she'll come to her senses and perhaps with her, he will be lofty. Perhaps she'll give him the honor and depth of character that women have always imagined he had....it's a possibility anyway. ;)


Wow, that does sound hot. You right; I don't remember that part in the book, either. Was it still the same story--though with a little more nudity?

Well, they do have a lot of sex because, you know, they have a lot of kids so while it's not spelled out in the book, maybe for the movie they've "fleshed" that part out a bit. ;) :lol:

Quark
09-06-2007, 11:18 PM
Very quickly, before tomorrow, I want to reply to some things. I'll probably rephrase a lot of this tomorrow when I read how incoherent much of it is.



Well, I thought it was interesting when Chekhov said that Dmitri "feared" his wife, it's an interesting choice of words considering that he was dismissing her for being unintelligent and inelegant. There's part of me that thinks what Dmitri fears the most is emotional intimacy, hence his affairs and his opinion of women as the "lower race". He sets himself apart from them and objectifies them, even his wife he keeps at a "safe" distance. I think to a certain extent, that's why I feel his relationship with Anna has a fair chance of being real. Chekhov even says, "And only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love-for the first time in his life." Who's to say he can mantain that feeling, falling in love can be easy, it's mantaining that gets tricky.

That's true. Gurov's attitude towards women is somewhat of a protection, but his previous experiences with women also add in. He's married to a woman he doesn't respect, and he constantly has temporary affairs with women whom he doesn't really care for. All of this might erode Dmitri's respect for the opposite sex.




Ah but doesn't Dmitri address this specifically?

Dmitri doesn't seem to be too worried she'll come to her senses and perhaps with her, he will be lofty. Perhaps she'll give him the honor and depth of character that women have always imagined he had....it's a possibility anyway. ;)

Yes, the women still love and revere him even after the delusions of his excellence are gone, but they are not happy with him. In fact, those are the exact words just after the text you quoted. This seems to be the way Gurov's love affairs go: the woman loves him but doesn't find any pleasure being with him, and Gurov finds the woman pleasurable but doesn't really love her.



maybe for the movie they've "fleshed" that part out a bit. ;) :lol:

Ha, there was a lot of implied sex in Jude the Obscure. Even the most puny imagination should have been able to tell what the scene with Arabella and Jude wrestling towards the bedroom meant. I think we've all been "tackled" on a bed before.

Janine
09-07-2007, 01:47 AM
Wow, that does sound hot. You right; I don't remember that part in the book, either. Was it still the same story--though with a little more nudity?

Well, there are some very explicit scenes in that film. The director and Kate were not shy about those scenes obviously. One is a birth scene. Other just her giving herself to him finally. The film is very visually pleasing and the acting is good. You should check it out. For once I don't own this one but my library has had the tape in a couple of times and usually I watch it feeling it does have some merit. I like the opening scene in the crow infested cornfield - that is very well done and grabs your attention right away.


Hmm, there should be a button with a symbol that looks like circle with a line down the middle. Or, it might have one with a circle with little lines around it--like a crude drawing of the sun. Those should be your brightness controls.

I went to Staples and asked the sales guy to show me how the settings worked, then returned home hopeful but still after changing them the monitor seems to be not much different. It is still quite bright on white pages. I did manage to figure out how to fix some annoying wiggly type and I think maybe now I need to raise the monitor a little higher - angle is everything with these monitors. It darkens it if you sit lower and look upward.
I might need to download a driver - I will look into that tomorrow. Me and drivers don't get along well....ho hum...too tired out now.



I'm glad you liked it. I haven't been in a particularly verbal mood today. The emoticons come in handy sometimes.

Yes, I thought it was quite clever and got the idea across. Haha:lol:




Normally I'd sympathize with you, but I think this time you're just getting lazy. The Chekhov story isn't any longer than the Lawrence story we're doing, and you haven't posted on that even. Although, your unbearably radiant monitor might have something to do with that, so I take it back. But, still, c'mon it's 16 pages.


Well, just beat a person up! I have needed a rest since about 6 months ago. I needed one badly and have been suffering burnout ever since the "Women in Love" discussion - that was really intense! Then most of last month I was discussing the L short story all by myself:bawling:. Virgil has urged me to take a break. Actually, we all agreed in that thread to not do a story in August and then you came along and I felt abliged to discuss one. You are right - it is not looking hopeful for this month. Virgilposted tonight saying he has to re-read the story and so do I. I am nearly done the Chekhov story and promise to post something soon. Gee, give a girl a break, will you!:( I am aging and tired...;), not to mention going blind on this white page from glare.
Hey, Quark, you have 179 posts and I have 2,571 posts - does that say something to you? And I joined in Oct, you in May, 2006. See what I mean about burned out!

Quark
09-07-2007, 07:51 PM
Well, there are some very explicit scenes in that film. The director and Kate were not shy about those scenes obviously. One is a birth scene. Other just her giving herself to him finally. The film is very visually pleasing and the acting is good. You should check it out. For once I don't own this one but my library has had the tape in a couple of times and usually I watch it feeling it does have some merit. I like the opening scene in the crow infested cornfield - that is very well done and grabs your attention right away.

I'll have to check it out some time. It would probably be better than the To The Lighthouse movie which was just confusing and poorly acted. I think if they tried to do a Victorian novel, where the conflicts are external, it would probably come out better. In the Woolf remake, for example, they keep the dialogue the same, but without any of the narration that makes it meaningful. Mr. Ramsay says, "Yes, you are at N, but at that age I was at P". This would mean something if you had read the book; but, without that, you would be just confused. And, if the movie doesn't add anything to the story, but requires you to read the story, why should I watch the movie? I think the Jude movie would be more interesting because it would be a modern retelling of the novel--with actual and not implied nudity. You wouldn't have to know the story to watch the movie, and it might be slightly different than the real story anyway.


I went to Staples and asked the sales guy to show me how the settings worked, then returned home hopeful but still after changing them the monitor seems to be not much different. It is still quite bright on white pages. I did manage to figure out how to fix some annoying wiggly type and I think maybe now I need to raise the monitor a little higher - angle is everything with these monitors. It darkens it if you sit lower and look upward.
I might need to download a driver - I will look into that tomorrow. Me and drivers don't get along well....ho hum...too tired out now.

Is it true that if you keep poking an LCD screen with your finger you will actually break it? I'm curious to know whether I'm slowly wrecking my friends' and family's monitors.


Well, just beat a person up! I have needed a rest since about 6 months ago. I needed one badly and have been suffering burnout ever since the "Women in Love" discussion - that was really intense! Then most of last month I was discussing the L short story all by myself:bawling:. Virgil has urged me to take a break. Actually, we all agreed in that thread to not do a story in August and then you came along and I felt abliged to discuss one. You are right - it is not looking hopeful for this month. Virgilposted tonight saying he has to re-read the story and so do I. I am nearly done the Chekhov story and promise to post something soon. Gee, give a girl a break, will you!:( I am aging and tired...;), not to mention going blind on this white page from glare.

I didn't see the Women in Love thread. If you made some heroic effort to keep that going, then I can see how you might want a break. I was just noticing that we finally had some eager participation in the Lawrence discussion, and then you suddenly get reader's block.


Hey, Quark, you have 179 posts and I have 2,571 posts - does that say something to you? And I joined in Oct, you in May, 2006. See what I mean about burned out!

Don't change the subject.

Idril, I see the goofy avatar things is catching on. I probably won't join in, though. I'm one of those people, who, the second they do something cool, that thing stops being cool. I think I'm personally responsible for killing both Grunge and Alternative Rock. Once I got an IPhone, they made a new one just so that their product wouldn't be conflated with my personality in any way. This time, I'll just keep a respectful distance between me and cool.

Janine
09-07-2007, 10:46 PM
I'll have to check it out some time. It would probably be better than the To The Lighthouse movie which was just confusing and poorly acted. I think if they tried to do a Victorian novel, where the conflicts are external, it would probably come out better. In the Woolf remake, for example, they keep the dialogue the same, but without any of the narration that makes it meaningful. Mr. Ramsay says, "Yes, you are at N, but at that age I was at P". This would mean something if you had read the book; but, without that, you would be just confused. And, if the movie doesn't add anything to the story, but requires you to read the story, why should I watch the movie? I think the "Jude" movie would be more interesting because it would be a modern retelling of the novel--with actual and not implied nudity. You wouldn't have to know the story to watch the movie, and it might be slightly different than the real story anyway.
Yes, the Lighthouse DVD is not a rousing film. It is a typical older BBC show - made for TV I believe; I did not think it was so poorly acted it just lacked so much especially if you read the book. Also film quality was dreadful.
The film is called just "Jude" and not "Jude the Obscure" but it does say based on the book. I think it was pretty good considering the calabre of the actors and I just like English adaptations that depict locations such as the University and also the countryside in Hardy's time. I hope you can find the film and view it soon. I think Ken Russell did that film but I am not 100% sure. I will look it up. He did do other Hardy, Lawrence adaptations.



Is it true that if you keep poking an LCD screen with your finger you will actually break it? I'm curious to know whether I'm slowly wrecking my friends' and family's monitors.

I don't know - the surface is pretty hard, but I don't think it is good to keep touching it; I try not to. You get a special cleaner for it, also. I don't think it is as delicate as I thought - maybe those were the plasma screens that one could not touch or it left a mark on the surface. I will ask my son about it - he works with electronics at his job. I don't have all the kinks out of the settings yet, but mostly it is near normal in appearance with some adjustments I did last night. Because it is wide-screen it does take a little bit of time to get used to. My type seems smaller and thinner to me but that might also be an adjustment I overlooked.


I didn't see the Women in Love thread. If you made some heroic effort to keep that going, then I can see how you might want a break. I was just noticing that we finally had some eager participation in the Lawrence discussion, and then you suddenly get reader's block.
Oh yikes it was long and it also was quite extensive and intense. I was worn thin after that discussion and yes, I took a very active role in posting. I even scanned some added information and commentary to add to the ending. Everyone seemed to learn a great deal but it was a very exhausting month.
Then, being in a certain flow I actually did fight taking a rest but now fatique has come upon me and tonight I am not feeling well at all. So I must take this rest for a little while. We certainly did have eager participation in Lawrence. I worked hard to get that thread going and keep going but now some of the young women in the thread are headed back to school so they will probably slack off a bit. I keep in contact with them. We all plan on reading "Sons and Lovers" in the fall....maybe October or November....not sure when yet.




Don't change the subject. :lol: hope that was meant as a joke or amusing. I do have tons of posts and most are in the serious stuff, not the games.


Idril, I see the goofy avatar things is catching on. I probably won't join in, though. I'm one of those people, who, the second they do something cool, that thing stops being cool. I think I'm personally responsible for killing both Grunge and Alternative Rock. Once I got an IPhone, they made a new one just so that their product wouldn't be conflated with my personality in any way. This time, I'll just keep a respectful distance between me and cool.

Oh, no Idrilcaught it, too. I liked it first time when you summed up the story.:lol: I read what I thought was the last part of the story last night, but when I got to the end I said "there has to be something more"....I will go now and check to see if I just missed printing out the last part. How many pages are there to this story, Q?

Quark
09-07-2007, 11:23 PM
I don't know - the surface is pretty hard, but I don't think it is good to keep touching it; I try not to. You get a special cleaner for it, also. I don't think it is as delicate as I thought - maybe those were the plasma screens that one could not touch or it left a mark on the surface. I will ask my son about it - he works with electronics at his job. I don't have all the kinks out of the settings yet, but mostly it is near normal in appearance with some adjustments I did last night. Because it is wide-screen it does take a little bit of time to get used to. My type seems smaller and thinner to me but that might also be an adjustment I overlooked.

Yeah, I think I was confusing the LCD monitors with the plasma ones. I think I can indulge in all the monitor poking I want with an LCD monitor, but it doesn't do the wave thing that amuses me so with the plasma monitors. Try poking your monitor, though, just to be sure.


Oh yikes it was long and it also was quite extensive and intense. I was worn thin after that discussion and yes, I took a very active role in posting. I even scanned some added information and commentary to add to the ending. Everyone seemed to learn a great deal but it was a very exhausting month.
Then, being in a certain flow I actually did fight taking a rest but now fatique has come upon me and tonight I am not feeling well at all. So I must take this rest for a little while. We certainly did have eager participation in Lawrence. I worked hard to get that thread going and keep going but now some of the young women in the thread are headed back to school so they will probably slack off a bit. I keep in contact with them. We all plan on reading "Sons and Lovers" in the fall....maybe October or November....not sure when yet.

Certainly count me in for reading "Sons and Lovers" later on.


:lol: hope that was meant as a joke or amusing. I do have tons of posts and most are in the serious stuff, not the games.

I think what I said came off a little more pointed than it was supposed to sound. I was trying to gently cajole you back to literature.

And, you were making me defensive about my 179 posts. It's 181, by the way.

Also by the way, What are games? I thought LitNet was serious work to be approached with a disciplined mind. Is this a game to you? Do you not take this seriously?!!?! Sorry. Sorry. It's getting pointed again.


Oh, no Idrilcaught it, too. I liked it first time when you summed up the story.:lol: I read what I thought was the last part of the story last night, but when I got to the end I said "there has to be something more"....I will go now and check to see if I just missed printing out the last part. How many pages are there to this story, Q?

Oh, no, don't get me wrong. I love the emoticons. I was just noticing that people are doing a whole muppet theme with their avatars, and I thought about joining in. Then I realized how powerfully uncool it might appear if I did.

Janine
09-08-2007, 02:45 AM
Yeah, I think I was confusing the LCD monitors with the plasma ones. I think I can indulge in all the monitor poking I want with an LCD monitor, but it doesn't do the wave thing that amuses me so with the plasma monitors. Try poking your monitor, though, just to be sure.
Well I just touched it (I refush to poke it) and it did not make a wave pattern. I know the kind you mean - laptops are like that too - some of them. I am glad this is not a plasma screen - those look too touchy to me.



Certainly count me in for reading "Sons and Lovers" later on. So glad - that would be great!




I think what I said came off a little more pointed than it was supposed to sound. I was trying to gently cajole you back to literature.

And I was worrying that I might have come off too pointed with you. That is really funny. I did not want to get you on my bad side. I did not feel well today so later thought what I had written might have sounded like a put-down. Sorry, I did not mean it that way at all. I was just kidding around with you.


And, you were making me defensive about my 179 posts. It's 181, by the way.

Same here - just my way of kidding but really I did post tons and I felt a need for some brain rest. Yes 181 now. Maybe too your posts are longer than mine although I have had my share of long posts before. Go see "Women in Love" thread. Lawrence is my author so I did not want for enthusiasm.


Also by the way, What are games? I thought LitNet was serious work to be approached with a disciplined mind. Is this a game to you? Do you not take this seriously?!!?! Sorry. Sorry. It's getting pointed again.

Games - I meant less serious threads like 'how do you feel today?' or 'movie scenes', etc --- not to put any of these down in, anyway....they can be fun and a good outlet. I sometimes check out movie scenes and Haiku. Basically though I came to this site to be involved in the more serious book/story/poetry discussions and learn something new and have the interchange with others I so missed having been out of school for many moons now. I do take threads like this and the L threads very seriously.

I have a question, Quark, - then the story we are reading (The Lady and the Dog) ends with the couple thinking the hardest part was yet to come? I don't have the exact quote. I really found the ending a little perplexing, if this is truly the end.


Oh, no, don't get me wrong. I love the emoticons. I was just noticing that people are doing a whole muppet theme with their avatars, and I thought about joining in. Then I realized how powerfully uncool it might appear if I did.

How funny -- I had not noticed. I will have to check this out.

Quark
09-08-2007, 10:31 AM
I have a question, Quark, - then the story we are reading (The Lady and the Dog) ends with the couple thinking the hardest part was yet to come? I don't have the exact quote. I really found the ending a little perplexing, if this is truly the end.

No, there isn't any more story after that. Despite the fact that it's an abrupt ending, I don't think there was any other way to end it. There really isn't anything more Chekhov could add past that point that wouldn't ruin the story. The excitement of the story is created by the fact that you don't whether they will be successful in getting together, or whether they will be successful at being intimate. The reader is also confused whether Gurov is really hoping for love and redemption with Anna, or whether he's just after Anna for adventure. If the story ended definitively, then the questions would be solved and the story wouldn't be nearly so dramatic.

downing
09-09-2007, 10:31 AM
Hello everyone!!!
I know you all- Janine- my old good friend :lol: , Quark-from the Yeats Reading Group( I hope you remember me:D ) and of course Idril from some Tolstoy threads.
I'd like to join this discussions, at least the one about ''Lady and the lapdog''. Can I? :) I have just finished reading the story and I liked it very much. This is the first Chekov writing I have ever read so please understand my unknowledge :D. I read all your posts about the currently discussed short story and also read your oppinions on different subjects. I'd like to express my oppinion on some of them:
- I love Dostoevsky, but I have read only The Brothers Karamazov- impressive book, one of my favourites.
- I am also a Hardy fan, but unfortunately I haven't read Jude the Obsure and none of his poems- just The Return of the Native, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess D'Urbervilles.
School starts on 17th September and I might not participate at the whole discussion. And another question:
Quark, you also joined the Lawrence short story thread(I also was in that one and debated two stories- The White Stocking not entirely, unfortunately), so you know the way in which Janine organizes the discussions: she copies the story and from there we start commenting key words and important paragraphs, the importance of the verbs.
I see that you don't have the same method over here, but I think we should have plan in our mind, otherwise we will get lost in all the symbols of the story. You choose the plan.
Please do not perceive me like a bossy person, I just asked you how will we comment the story.
I am sure we will all go along. This seems a really neat thread. By the way, Quark, thank you for re-opening it.:)

Idril
09-09-2007, 11:03 AM
Idril, I see the goofy avatar things is catching on. I probably won't join in, though. I'm one of those people, who, the second they do something cool, that thing stops being cool. I think I'm personally responsible for killing both Grunge and Alternative Rock. Once I got an IPhone, they made a new one just so that their product wouldn't be conflated with my personality in any way.

Well, I'm rather attached to my Tolkien emblem but yet I long for change so this little muppet thing is a good excuse for me to make a change...but only for awhile, I'll be back to my emblem in a few days. ;) It's muppet week, so I think you should join in for the next few days if you're interested.

And you didn't kill grunge and alternative rock, it's alive and well in the memories and iTunes libraries of many of us. I'm a huge grunge and alternative fan and I know there are several others on this board. :nod:

And back to Chekhov, yes, I think part of the charm of the story is that you get to fill in the blanks so to speak. I prefer to think that they somehow worked things out, that Dmitri really did find love with Anna...at least for a little while. I don't like endings to be completely happy so maybe they had their glory days but became so worn down by either their double life if they both chose to stay married or society's judgement if they both left their spouses and lived together.

I think these short stories are short enough that it's not necessary to pick apart every line, it's easy enough to find a section that someone refers to or to quickly read over a part that you may have skipped over. The problem with that is that everyone reads at a different level, these stories I can finished in a matter of minutes and then I move on, if something catches my eye while reading, I just mark it down so I remember to mention it later. Janine obviously got horribly worn down by such an intense study of the Lawrence book, I'd rather have an enjoyable discussion of a story I read than to get overwhelmed by details and in the end, end up burnt out.

Quark
09-10-2007, 11:31 AM
Hi, downing, we remember you. By all means, join in. Did you just read "The Lady with the Dog"? What did you think? Don't be shy; I'll be forgiving of your "unknowledge" so long as you put up with my intellegencelessness. Don't be afraid to be bossy either. I think you're right right that we need some order here now that we have more participation. I do want to post some chunks of the story; but, instead of going from the beginning of the story to the end, I like to approach the story through characters and ideas. So the quotes could come from any part of the story so long as they pertain to that theme or person in the story. I'll post topics when there are lulls in the activity; but, if you have your own ideas you want to discuss, go ahead. And, if you have a thought, but can't remember a particular passage that supports it, post it anyway. Usually, I should know what you're talking about and can find some text that explains it.

I actually wanted to talk about setting and place. It's very important to the story, and it can go unnoticed if you're not watching closely. I'll post some important chunks of the story for discussion, soon. I wanted to reply to everyone's comments before I moved on, though.

Idril, I like the optimistic reading, too. Maybe I just want them to be happy at the end, though, because there is so much evidence to indicate that they are not going to be happy together. There are both societal problems and intimacy problems that separate them. Anna and Gurov are very insecure and lead widely divergent lives. Can sincere and genuine love bring them together? You would like to say yes. But, can you really?

littlewing53
09-10-2007, 12:01 PM
hello all...i'd like to continue in the discussion as well...i was reading jude, but it looks like the lady and the dog is part of the current book under discussion...?...

Quark
09-10-2007, 02:13 PM
I was looking at the settings in this story, and it seems like there are three locations where action takes place: Yalta, just outside of Yalta, and Moscow. Yalta, the scene of their adultery and passionate love, is a colorful, vibrant city. Anna and Gurov meet in gardens, and the smell of flowers is never far. Yalta is also very hot. In a typical meeting, Chekhov describes the ambiance as,


They walked and talked of the strange light on the sea: the water was of a soft warm lilac hue, and there was a golden streak from the moon upon it. They talked of how sultry it was after a hot day.

The color is often linked to the sense of variety that Gurov and Anna feel when on vacation from their spouses. The heat is both literal and sexual. For example, Chekhov summarizes the progression of the lovers' relationship as,


Often in the square or gardens, when there was no one near them, he suddenly drew her to him and kissed her passionately...the heat, the smell of the sea...He was impatiently passionate, he would not move a step away from her.

Outside of the town this heated, passionate love affair they are having cools down and becomes almost tranquil. The landscape changes dramatically. Chekhov gives us the view from Oreanda, just a little outside of Yalta:


At Oreanda they sat on a seat not far from the church, looked down at the sea, and were silent. Yalta was hardly visible through the morning mist; white clouds stood motionless on the mountain-tops. The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, soothed and spellbound in these magical surroundings — the sea, mountains, clouds, the open sky — Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence.

Suddenly, the setting changes to this still and calm scene of universal peace and beauty. It seems like their feelings for each other change when they are affected by the view. They experience some more deeper or ideal sense of love. The words both "salvation" and "perfection" are in this paragraph, too. The more spiritual kind of love that they experience outside of Yalta might actually be redemptive. For whatever reason, the couple return to outskirts of Yalta and feel similarly:


Rather late almost every evening they drove somewhere out of town, to Oreanda or the waterfall; and the expedition was always a success, the scenery invariably impressed them as grand and beautiful.

Gurov comes back to Moscow and the setting changes to a bleak, monochrome world where everything is white and grey:


At home in Moscow everything was in its winter routine; the stoves were heated, and in the morning it was still dark when the children were having breakfast and getting ready for school, and the nurse would light the lamp for a short time. The frosts had begun already. When the first snow has fallen, on the first day of sledge-driving it is pleasant to see the white earth, the white roofs, to draw soft, delicious breath, and the season brings back the days of one's youth. The old limes and birches, white with hoar-frost, have a good-natured expression; they are nearer to one's heart than cypresses and palms, and near them one doesn't want to be thinking of the sea and the mountains.

Gurov experiences some happiness in Moscow. The comfort of familiarity makes him at least content, but there is none of the passion and variety of Yalta or the beauty of Oreanda around him in Moscow.

Oh, and littlewing, we are doing "The Lady with the Dog". While Jude the Obscure is a great book, and I encourage you to read it, this is a Chekhov thread. We're doing a story every month, and this one is "The Lady with the Dog".

Janine
09-10-2007, 02:41 PM
Quark, I like your ideas on how to go about discussing the story. Now there is some type of direction and format we can follow and not just jump around all over the place. I am lost when that happenes. Starting with location and setting is excellent and I quite agree that it is important to the story and sets the atmosphere or atmospheres up and refects what is going on between the characters.
I know in the last Lawrence story, "The White Stocking" there were also several locations and defining sections to the story. The locations and time sequences divided the story nicely, effectively. Same with "To the Lighthouse" . I think these divisions also alow the reader some 'breathing room' in order to gather his thoughts on how the characters are responding to each other or the story is progressing. I hope this makes sense. I am writing it rather quickly as I have other things to attend to. I have not totally read all of the posts or your last one, Quark, but I certainly will. Now you have gotten my attention again.

I liked the story but the ending did have me a bit mifted. It seemed so abrupt to me. It was not the question of what would happen next but the fact it was sudden. I do think both lovers have their issues so I doubt the ending or true outcome will be positive. That would all depend on how much each could compromise for each other or change or alter within their own personalites in the coming months, years, whatever. I find the woman to be quite insecure and also very aware of her feelings of guilt. I am not sure if the man truly loves her or loves her because she is now the one who is unattainable, being also married.
I will write more on my ideas later on.

Quark
09-10-2007, 03:09 PM
Starting with location and setting is excellent and I quite agree that it is important to the story and sets the atmosphere or atmospheres up and refects what is going on between the characters.
I know in the last Lawrence story, "The White Stocking" there were also several locations and defining sections to the story. The locations and time sequences divided the story nicely, effectively. Same with "To the Lighthouse" . I think these divisions also alow the reader some 'breathing room' in order to gather his thoughts on how the characters are responding to each other or the story is progressing.

Janine, you're right when you say that authors often use setting as part of their structure. They can break up the story into more manageable chunks for the reader by separating the action into different scenes. I think Lawrence might have been a little better at this than Chekhov. Chekov was good at using his backgrounds to reflect the action occurring in a given part. We saw in "Rothschild's Violin" how the river and trees mirrored Yakov's own life. In "The Lady with the Dog", this is done extensively. Colors, landscapes, and ambiance all combine to complete the mood that Chekhov is trying to generate.


I liked the story but the ending did have me a bit mifted. It seemed so abrupt to me. It was not the question of what would happen next but the fact it was sudden. I do think both lovers have their issues so I doubt the ending or true outcome will be positive. That would all depend on how much each could compromise for each other or change or alter within their own personalities in the coming months, years, whatever. I find the woman to be quite insecure and also very aware of her feelings of guilt. I am not sure if the man truly loves her or loves her because she is now the one who is unattainable, being also married.
I will write more on my ideas later on.

The story does end a little suddenly. I liked the way Chekhov ended "Rothschild's Violin" better. In that story Chekhov doesn't just explain the feeling of loss, but he makes us feel it with Yakov. The ending with Yakov playing the violin is very moving. In "The Lady with the Dog" Chekhov describes very fully the conflicts that Gurov and Anna are experiencing, but we don't get an ending where we feel it. Chekhov makes an attempt; there is the part at the end where Gurov clutches his head and asks, "How? How?". It is somewhat expressive of the agonizing confusion that we feel at the end, but it's not nearly as moving as in the other story.

downing
09-10-2007, 04:12 PM
My first reaction to the story? It struck me how much it looks like Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: the plots are alike- woman comes in different city without husband and falls in love with another man, they love eachother passionately, she tries to break up with him but the meet again and continue their relationship. Of course, there are some differences between the plots, such as in Anna Karenina, Anna doesn't have any sexual relationshp with Vronsky so soon, but you understand on what I'd like to insist. The female character is named Anna...could there by some Tolstoy influence in Chekhov's Lady with the Lapdog. I did some research and found out that Anna Karenina was written in 1877 and LWTL(Lady with the Lapdog) in 1899...of course, it isn't this what really matters.
Quark, excellent way of commenting the role of the setting...good idea:thumbs_up. By the way, I read that Chekhov wrote this short story while he stood in his mansion in Yalta. I also found something interesting about his relationship with Olga, his wife- you might find some conections between him and his character, Gurov:


On 25 May 1901 Chekhov married Olga Knipper — quietly, owing to his horror of weddings — a former protegée and sometime lover of Nemirovich-Danchenko whom he had first met at rehearsals for The Seagull.[73][74][75] Up to that point, Chekhov, who has been called "Russia's most elusive literary bachelor",[76] had preferred passing liaisons and visits to brothels over commitment;[77] he had once written to Suvorin:

“ By all means I will be married if you wish it. But on these conditions: everything must be as it has been hitherto — that is, she must live in Moscow while I live in the country, and I will come and see her… give me a wife who, like the moon, won't appear in my sky every day.[78] ”

Chekhov and Olga, 1901, on honeymoonThe letter proved prophetic of Chekhov's marital arrangements with Olga: he lived largely at Yalta, she in Moscow, pursuing her acting career. (Source:Wikipedia)


The man who enjoys liaisons sounds like Gurov, doesn't it?

And he told himself that this had been just one more of the many adventures in his life, and that it, too, was over, leaving nothing but a memory. . . .


He had believed that in a month's time Anna Sergeyevna would be nothing but a vague memory, and that hereafter, with her wistful smile, she would only occasionally appear to him in dreams, like others before her.

littlewing53
09-11-2007, 01:39 PM
ok..on aboard now...read the story last night...enjoyed it...it seems to me that chekhov wants his cake and eat it too....i enjoyed the violin more tho...as you mentioned earlier, Quark, there is an end..and there is more substance to his characters....whereas with lady...there is no change to their sad little affair other than they've latched onto each for dear life for lack of any other meaning in their separate lives...it is hard to believe that Gurov could love anything beyond himself and even himself with no real depth...the repression of those days...life still goes on but the cost of staying within the lines or outside the lines seems very dear...well written, yes....

Janine
09-11-2007, 02:19 PM
Hi everyone, I am back briefly. I am sorry not to have been very active on Lit Net lately. I have been quite busy outside of here. I needed a break from the computer, also....so I did take it and lost my momentum somewhat.
I do agree with both Downing and littlewing about this current story. I agree with Downing that all while reading it I was reminded of "Anna Karenina" but not as detailed. Does this woman have children like Anna K? I don't recall reading that either had children but the scenerio seems so similar.
Personally, I did not like the ending. Perhaps that is insignificant, but I felt it just 'dropped off' into nowhere and I was taken aback. I was actually looking on the internet for the next pages. So as you said littlewings, it seemed that 'there is no change to their sad little affair'. I can't see where the story has taken us. It seems sort of pointless in the end.
I know, Quark, you are going to disagree with this, but I don't like 'happily ever after' endings all the time or actually hardly ever, so that is not the problem, but this ending seemed just plain flat to me and dismal. If there had been some sense that they would either fail in continuing or advance in someway, I might have bought this ending, but something felt very lacking to me in the way the last lines read. I need to read the story over again and maybe something more will emerge and enlighten me, but when I completed the story I felt like saying 'so this is it (?)'
I do agree that both characters have definite issues within themselves. The man does seem to 'want his cake and eat it, too.' He has been quite a womanizer, so he got into that pattern of living. I think the woman is a poor match for him, since she seems to be quite insecure. I think the fact of her deep needs being what has actually drawn him to her. He thought he could save her from something, perhaps? maybe from herself? I don't really know - that might just be a stab in the dark. Perhaps she feeds his male ego. It seems she has something the other woman did not, that attracts him. What does everyone else think? What quality do you think keeps him coming back to her?

Quark
09-12-2007, 02:37 PM
downing, you're right that the plot of the story isn't original. It's been done many times. Probably the most famous is the one you brought up: Anna Karenina. I don't know if Chekhov took the name Anna from that novel and transposed it into his short story. Anna is a common name in Russia, and the Russian don't have much originality in naming people. Usually, if you're male, your either Ivan or Dmitri. If you're female you're Anna or Olga. This is why characters in Russian fiction use their middle names and nicknames so much. As for the connection between Gurov and the writer, I think there are similarities. And, it's quite possible that Chekhov may have been working through some of his own feeling about sex and love when writing the story. The story is so general, though, that I don't think it's really autobiographical. Chekhov probably just took his own life as a starting point for this story, and then went from there. When we read the story it's probably less about Chekhov, himself, than it is about love in general--if that makes sense.


ok..on aboard now...read the story last night...enjoyed it...it seems to me that chekhov wants his cake and eat it too....i enjoyed the violin more tho...as you mentioned earlier, Quark, there is an end..and there is more substance to his characters....whereas with lady...there is no change to their sad little affair other than they've latched onto each for dear life for lack of any other meaning in their separate lives...it is hard to believe that Gurov could love anything beyond himself and even himself with no real depth...the repression of those days...life still goes on but the cost of staying within the lines or outside the lines seems very dear...well written, yes....

Wow, you liked "Rothschild's Violin" more than this one. I know I had problems with how abrupt the ending was, but I thought overall it was a pretty great story. I would say this story has the deeper characters, too. Yakov, from "Rothschild's Violin", has two levels to him. On one level, there is his money-obsessed repressed side. On the other side, there is his deeply felt sense of life and loss. The story plays well off of these two sides is Yakov, and the ending does move you. But, in the end, Yakov had two levels to him, and the story doesn't get more complicated than that. In "The Lady with the Dog", both Anna and Gurov have many different sides to the personality that are not so clearly defined. I can name four, at least. Anna, for example, is split between her duty towards her society, her lust and passion, her love for Gurov, and her feelings of insecurity. Gurov is even more complicated than that. Added onto all of these characteristics, he has his miserable past that plagues him. So, when I compare "Rothschild's Violin" and "The Lady with the Dog" I generally find the latter to be more complex. I still like "Rothschild's Violin", and I'm not saying that you should like that story. I certainly think the ending in "Rothschild's Violin" is more moving. It's just that the story isn't as complex and involving as "The Lady with the Dog".



Personally, I did not like the ending. Perhaps that is insignificant, but I felt it just 'dropped off' into nowhere and I was taken aback. I was actually looking on the internet for the next pages. So as you said [B]littlewings, it seemed that 'there is no change to their sad little affair'. I can't see where the story has taken us. It seems sort of pointless in the end.
I know, Quark, you are going to disagree with this, but I don't like 'happily ever after' endings all the time or actually hardly ever, so that is not the problem, but this ending seemed just plain flat to me and dismal. If there had been some sense that they would either fail in continuing or advance in someway, I might have bought this ending, but something felt very lacking to me in the way the last lines read. I need to read the story over again and maybe something more will emerge and enlighten me, but when I completed the story I felt like saying 'so this is it (?)'
I do agree that both characters have definite issues within themselves. The man does seem to 'want his cake and eat it, too.' He has been quite a womanizer, so he got into that pattern of living. I think the woman is a poor match for him, since she seems to be quite insecure. I think the fact of her deep needs being what has actually drawn him to her. He thought he could save her from something, perhaps? maybe from herself? I don't really know - that might just be a stab in the dark. Perhaps she feeds his male ego. It seems she has something the other woman did not, that attracts him. What does everyone else think? What quality do you think keeps him coming back to her?

You guys are really embracing the pessimistic view. What about the parts where Gurov says that he's finally in love; that all the other were just miserable affairs, but this one is real. Is he lying? It's possible, but I don't believe it. I think he really does love Anna, but he's trapped. He has to find some way of reconciling his needs with those of society--which could be really difficult since he's married and has children. He also has to get over his dark forebodings that this relationship will turn out like his others. Gurov still doubts that this love will not turn dull and monotonous like his others. I don't think it will. Despite the circumstances that would make him forget about Anna, he constantly keeps returning to her in his thoughts. I would assume that this means something more than he's bored in Moscow again. Usually, he just runs off to random women, and he does it with little chance of being caught. This time he want to come to the same woman, and he risks losing everything to do it. The story ends so confusing because Chekhov doesn't know whether Gurov's love for Anna can overcome all the other forces that are posed against it. And, he wants to leave it unclear whether it's love or lust that's between them. This is good way to end it. Once again, isn't this true to life. Do we really know whether it's love or lust? Or, Do we always know whether we should respect our previous obligations or disregard them for hopeful possibilities? Can we say how much the past should affect us? Do you know how much people should indulge their own desires and how much people need to work to improve society? I think if Chekhov gave away the future of Anna and Gurov too much it would answer these questions, and it would do incredible damage to the story.

This is starting to sound like a rant, so I'll stop. Thanks, everyone, for writing.

downing
09-13-2007, 11:08 AM
Quark, I agree with you about:

The story is so general, though, that I don't think it's really autobiographical. Chekhov probably just took his own life as a starting point for this story, and then went from there.
This is what really happens when one writes, isn't it?

Janine's idea of Gurov being a womanizer: Indeed, I found some quotes to sustain your idea:

He considered that the ample lessons he had received from bitter experience entitled him to call them whatever he liked, but without this "lower race" he could not have existed a single day. He was bored and ill-at-ease in the company of men, with whom he was always cold and reserved, but felt quite at home among women, and knew exactly what to say to them, and how to behave; he could even be silent in their company without feeling the slightest awkwardness. There was an elusive charm in his appearance and disposition which attracted women and caught their sympathies. He knew this and was himself attracted to them by some invisible force.



"If she's here without her husband, and without any friends," thought Gurov, "it wouldn't be a bad idea to make her acquaintance."


Actually, I think that Gurov ''plays'' with Anna at the beginning just to obtain lusty satisfaction. He isn't really in love with her then, or at least, if he is, he doesn't realize this. On on threshold of their sexual relationship, Anna knows she is degrading herself and fears that he will no longer respect her. In this part of the story, we see that
Gurov listened to her, bored to death. . Other way said, he wanted her, and soon :lol: He didn't care about her feelings at that time.



The sea had roared like this long before there was any Yalta or Oreanda, it was roaring now, and it would go on roaring, just as indifferently and hollowly, when we had passed away.

This is a very fine idea which I also found in The Great Gatsby. Unfortunately, I couldn't discover the quote online: the idea of the primordial existence of nature, which goes on, whereas we are passing elements through Universe.

I found another resemblance between Anna Karenina and this Chekhov short story: the fact that the adulterous man and woman are always unhappy. Again, I can't find the quote from Anna Karenina because I don't know the chapter, but I know that Vronsky told Anna that they are doomed and insisted on this word. If the adulturous person is separated from the lover, she is unhappy, but if they are together she is also unhappy, because they cannot stay too much- the same problem which appears to Gurov and Anna at the end of the story. But the word unhappy appears in this part of the story:

"You must go away," went on Anna Sergeyevna in a whisper. "D'you hear me, Dmitry Dmitrich? I'll come to you in Moscow. I have never been happy, I am unhappy now, and I shall never be happy--never! Do not make me suffer still more! I will come to you in Moscow, I swear it! And now we must part! My dear one, my kind one, my darling, we must part."

She pressed his hand and hurried down the stairs, looking back at him continually, and her eyes showed that she was in truth unhappy.



Every individual existence revolves around mystery, and perhaps that is the chief reason that all cultivated individuals insisted so strongly on the respect due to personal secrets.
Interesting.
The fact that our secret lives are our real lives- I believe that this is one of the text's main ideas.


He felt a pity for this life, still so warm and exquisite, but probably soon to fade and droop like his own. Why did she love him so? Women had always believed him different from what he really was, had loved in him not himself but the man their imagination pictured him, a man they had sought for eagerly all their lives. And afterwards when they discovered their mistake, they went on loving him just the same. And not one of them had ever been happy with him. Time had passed, he had met one woman after another, become intimate with each, parted with each, but had never loved. There had been all sorts of things between them, but never love.

And only now, when he was gray-haired, had he fallen in love properly, thoroughly, for the first time in his life.
I believe that this quote shows that Gurov was transfomed on the course of the story. At the beginning- a womanizer, at the end, a man who is capable of loving with his entire soul. Another quote which sustains this idea is:

Anna Sergeyevna came in, too. She seated herself in the third row of the stalls, and when Gurov's glance fell on her, his heart seemed to stop, and he knew in a flash that the whole world contained no one nearer or dearer to him, no one more important to his happiness. This little woman, lost in the provincial crowd, in no way remarkable, holding a silly lorgnette in her hand, now filled his whole life, was his grief, his joy, all that he desired. Lulled by the sounds coming from the wretched orchestra, with its feeble, amateurish violinists, he thought how beautiful she was . . . thought and dreamed. . . .

Quark
09-13-2007, 10:10 PM
downing, that's a good post. You've hit on one of the big questions in the story. Is Gurov in love? Or, is he looking for escape from his monotonous life?


I believe that this quote shows that Gurov was transfomed on the course of the story. At the beginning- a womanizer, at the end, a man who is capable of loving with his entire soul. Another quote which sustains this idea is:

So Gurov is transformed. He begins as an aging adulterer and ends as a passionate lover. I have to admit that I am partial to this reading. I like to think that Gurov is capable of change and love. Where do you think Gurov changes, though? Do you think it was a conscious change and a total change?


This is a very fine idea which I also found in The Great Gatsby. Unfortunately, I couldn't discover the quote online: the idea of the primordial existence of nature, which goes on, whereas we are passing elements through Universe.

I found another resemblance between Anna Karenina and this Chekhov short story: the fact that the adulterous man and woman are always unhappy. Again, I can't find the quote from Anna Karenina because I don't know the chapter, but I know that Vronsky told Anna that they are doomed and insisted on this word. If the adulturous person is separated from the lover, she is unhappy, but if they are together she is also unhappy, because they cannot stay too much- the same problem which appears to Gurov and Anna at the end of the story. But the word unhappy appears in this part of the story:

You're going to make me read Anna Karenina again. I'm straining to remember, but I think you're right. Vronsky has this tragic take on adultery which turns out to be rather prescient. Both Anna's in these stories are faced with similar circumstances. They each have to choose whether to be loyal to their social duties or accept their new love affairs. Both Tolstoy and Chekhov end in a noncommittal way. One Anna is killed by a train, and the other isn't given enough room by the author to make a decision.

The adultery tale I thought of when I read the Chekhov story was actually Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. But, on second thought, I think that Anna Karenina is much better comparison. The Age of Innocence ends much more conclusively than the other two. Wharton wanted to attack society with her book, and I think the others just wanted to represent the conflict between private and public lives.


Interesting.
The fact that our secret lives are our real lives- I believe that this is one of the text's main ideas.

Gurov certainly believes that. He says so directly to the reader. I'm not sure I believe it, though. Gurov is a married man trying to have an illicit affair with a married woman. The conclusion that personal interests should be placed about the standards of the community seems self-serving coming from someone in Gurov's place. I can't say I'm convinced. The cause of Gurov's unhappiness isn't the fact that he's neglected his secret life. In fact, he leads a full secret life--maybe even an over-full secret life. Gurov's depression stems more from his poor marriage choice. Chekhov leads us to believe that his marriage began like his one of his affairs. Dmitri was searching for variety and lustful pleasure and he met his future wife. After they get married, though, the relationship becomes unbearable because he doesn't care for his wife at all. He then proceeds to have many concupiscent affairs with same motive that got him his wife. Between the affairs and his marriage he does manage to strike a healthy balance (sort of). Anna changes this. When Gurov discovers genuine affection for another person, his previous life becomes unlivable, and he risks everything to meet with Anna. I think one of the main themes of the story is that love is more real than pleasure. When I talked about setting, I brought up a quote from the story that I think is quite good. I'll repeat it:


At Oreanda they sat on a seat not far from the church, looked down at the sea, and were silent. Yalta was hardly visible through the morning mist; white clouds stood motionless on the mountain-tops. The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, soothed and spellbound in these magical surroundings — the sea, mountains, clouds, the open sky — Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence.

Chekhov put it more poetically than I did, but that's what I'm saying.

Once again, downing, thanks for writing. It sounds like you took something meaningful away from the story--which is good so long as you condescend to share it with the rest of us. Just tell me if you think I messed something up (I probably did).

Janine
09-13-2007, 10:46 PM
Two truly excellent posts - Downing and Quark! I enjoyed reading them, although I won't comment at this time. I am too tired out now. I think both of you said it all very articulately anyway, so not sure I could add anything else to these fine posts. And no Q, you did not mess something up!... stop knocking yourself!
I will only comment now on this - I do see what you mean Q, about Gurov being this time really in love and not just a state of lust or pursuit of the woman. Also, I see that Downing agrees with this and she has posted some good quotes to support her postion. So therefore, I consider it might be the case this this older gray haired Gurov has now found the true meaning of love, even though it is so late in his life.

downing
09-14-2007, 05:47 AM
Wow, thank you both for your appreciation...I am flattered! :)

Quark- excellent post, just like Janine said.
Interesting idea about the resemblance between Age of Innocence and this Chekhov short story. Unfortunately, I haven't read the book you are referring at, even though I heard about it. I make you re-read Anna Karenina and you make me read The Age of Innocence.:lol:



So Gurov is transformed. He begins as an aging adulterer and ends as a passionate lover. I have to admit that I am partial to this reading. I like to think that Gurov is capable of change and love. Where do you think Gurov changes, though? Do you think it was a conscious change and a total change?

To quote you again, I think that Gurov changes when he finds that 'genuine affection' for Anna. Until now, in the other affairs it was never love, as Chekhov says in the end, just lustful desire. I think it was lustful desire in his and Anna's case too, perhaps until the beginning of their sexual relationship.


But here the timidity and awkwardness of youth and inexperience were still apparent; and there was a feeling of embarrassment in the atmosphere, as if someone had just knocked at the door. Anna Sergeyevna, "the lady with the dog," seemed to regard the affair as something very special, very serious, as if she had become a fallen woman, an attitude he found odd and disconcerting.
She is really different to the other women he was with and I think that her timidity and awakwardeness make him fall in love. And there is something else, too- the idea of soulmates.

They were like two migrating birds, the male and the female, who had been caught and put into separate cages. They forgave one another all that they were ashamed of in the past and in the present, and felt that this love of theirs had changed them both.


Janine, don't kill me. I know you don't believe in the 'soulmates' idea.:lol: :lol:

Quark, do you disagree with the idea that 'our secret lives are our real lives'? I think it is a real thing, because we don't show everything to society, we look like different persons in real life, different than we really are. In one of our interesting IM discussions when talking about this, Janine said that even LitNet is the place where we are ourselves...it is the our secret life:D.



Once again, downing, thanks for writing. It sounds like you took something meaningful away from the story--which is good so long as you condescend to share it with the rest of us. Just tell me if you think I messed something up (I probably did).
You are welcome. It is my pleasure! And you messed up nothing :)

Quark
09-16-2007, 11:07 PM
Alright, I'm back. I hope everyone had as lazy of a weekend as I did. I went off to my parents house for the weekend, and I didn't get a chance to post anything--even though it seemed like the conversation was starting to pick up. I don't know if I'll have time tonight to write some responses, but I will try to post tomorrow morning (so long as I don't have to work). downing raises some good points that don't need anything added, and she has some that could be debated. I'll be a little more specific tomorrow, I promise.

chaplin
09-17-2007, 03:47 PM
Hello,

I'm glad that Chekhov is being read and discussed, he truly deserves it, I mean he is the greatest short story writer ever (in my opinion, of course).

Pertaining to "The Lady with the Little Dog", I don't think it could be called exactly an autobiographical story, but it has obvious parallels to Chekhov's life. I don't know if they were worked into the story consciously or unconsciously, but I think they are definitely there. For example, at the end of the story he writes:
"And only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love -- for the first time in his life."

Gurov's path to "love" -a series of mostly physical relationships with a variety of different women- shadow's Chekhov's life. Chekhov had numerous liaisons, some sexual others not, with a really wide range of women, including even a pair of bi-sexual actresses, and two or three sets of "three sisters".

That being said, I don't think that Gurov is really at all Chekhov embodied in fiction. Chekhov had a knack for having autobiographical details of the story (a characters profession, as a doctor, a story's setting etc.) but was able to create a character from entirely original sources and not use him or her as a mouthpiece or mirror of himself.

Anyway, thank you for allowing me to add to your discussion and don't hesitate to tell me to stop if I depreciate it in any way.

Quark
09-17-2007, 04:57 PM
Hello,

Where have you been? You may be the biggest Chekhov fan in this forum, and we haven't heard from you at all, yet. What do you think of the story? Many critics consider it Chekhov's best. Are they completely wrong or exactly right?


I'm glad that Chekhov is being read and discussed, he truly deserves it, I mean he is the greatest short story writer ever (in my opinion, of course).

I think Chekhov may be the most accessible and popular short story writer. That's why I wanted to devote a thread to his stories.


Pertaining to "The Lady with the Little Dog", I don't think it could be called exactly an autobiographical story, but it has obvious parallels to Chekhov's life. I don't know if they were worked into the story consciously or unconsciously, but I think they are definitely there. For example, at the end of the story he writes:
"And only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love -- for the first time in his life."

Gurov's path to "love" -a series of mostly physical relationships with a variety of different women before finding a marriageable mate- shadow's Chekhov's life. Chekhov had numerous liaisons, some sexual others not, with a really wide range of women, including even a pair of bi-sexual actresses, and two or three sets of "three sisters".

That being said, I don't think that Gurov is really at all Chekhov embodied in fiction. This is evident in Gurov's attitude toward love. It is more optimistic, hopeful, or, better, anticipative than Chekhov's. Even when Chekhov married Olga Knipper, I feel, that he wasn't enamored with her the way Gurov is with Anna. Chekhov definitely had a very fond affection for her, otherwise he wouldn't have married her (a step he was very cautious of taking); but, in his letters to and about Knipper, he never uses the rapturous language that Gurov sometimes does.

downing brought up the possible connection between Dmitri and Chekhov, and I wasn't sure how to respond--since I know so little about Chekhov's personal life. I had a feeling that Gurov's attitudes were probably similar to the writer's own, but it sounds like that their ideas could be pretty opposite. Was Chekhov really that dark? Do you think that maybe Chekhov would have accepted the more cynical reading of this story (that Gurov isn't really in love)?



Interesting idea about the resemblance between Age of Innocence and this Chekhov short story. Unfortunately, I haven't read the book you are referring at, even though I heard about it. I make you re-read Anna Karenina and you make me read The Age of Innocence.:lol:

There are some parallels between the Age of Innocence and "The Lady with the Dog", but I wouldn't rush out to read the Wharton book. I actually like the Chekhov story better because it's much more succinct and poetic. Wharton's story is much more of a comedy of manners, and a lot of the book is lost on a twenty-first century audience. It can be boring at times. There are some good parts--the love story is well done--but the book delves deeply into these social questions that I really didn't care about. Stick with Anna Karenina.


She is really different to the other women he was with and I think that her timidity and awakwardeness make him fall in love.

Yeah, I noticed this too. It's a good point, downing. Gurov calls her "pathetic", and that's her most attractive quality. Why is this? What's going on here?


And there is something else, too- the idea of soulmates.

Janine, don't kill me. I know you don't believe in the 'soulmates' idea.:lol: :lol:

You and Janine can fight this one out, but I think I'll stay neutral. Although, the more important question might not be whether "soulmates" exist in reality, but whether they exist in the story.


Quark, do you disagree with the idea that 'our secret lives are our real lives'? I think it is a real thing, because we don't show everything to society, we look like different persons in real life, different than we really are. In one of our interesting IM discussions when talking about this, Janine said that even LitNet is the place where we are ourselves...it is the our secret life:D.

What do I believe? Oh, no, I keep that hidden. I was just arguing that the story, itself, doesn't really give me the idea that the secret, personal life is more important than the exposed, public one. Gurov believes that strongly at the end, but he isn't exactly a believable character at that point.

chaplin
09-19-2007, 06:07 PM
What do you think of the story? Many critics consider it Chekhov's best. Are they completely wrong or exactly right?

It is one of my favorites, the more times I read it the more I love it; and it is really a perfect story to illustrate what made Chekhov so great. For example, the minor, yet essential details inserted right in the middle of important scenes, (e.g. Gurov slicing a piece of watermelon as Anna sits dejected and troubled after they become lovers, two youths casting glances at Anna and Gurov from a staircase while they meet at the theater) which create a sense of reality that most other authors, being distracted with morals, messages, and conventional climax, take a pass on. Vladimir Nabokov sums it all up best: "All the traditional rules of story telling have been broken in this wonderful short story of twenty pages or so. There is no problem, no regular climax, no point at the end. And it is one of the greatest stories ever written."


downing brought up the possible connection between Dmitri and Chekhov, and I wasn't sure how to respond--since I know so little about Chekhov's personal life. I had a feeling that Gurov's attitudes were probably similar to the writer's own, but it sounds like that their ideas could be pretty opposite. Was Chekhov really that dark? Do you think that maybe Chekhov would have accepted the more cynical reading of this story (that Gurov isn't really in love)?

I would say that reading too far into the autobiographical side of the story would be a mistake, as is true for most of the great authors.

It's easy to see the story cynically or pessimistically (which critics seem to have done with every Chekhov story), but I find think pessimistic is a word that rarely can accurately describe a Chekhov story. Particularly with this one. Conventionally, it would seem pessimistic, if compared to more fairy tale-like stories ("happily ever after"), but, in fact, when viewed against the backdrop of reality, of real life it is really neither. There is no "Love will overcome" or "Love is an illusion"; just: this is what these two people felt. (Nabokov: "There is no special moral to be drawn and no special message to be received.")

I've also read on previous posts about the ending of the story. I feel it is absolutely perfect. Chekhov's endings aren't for everybody, but I, personally, find them some of the most satisfying of any author. Again, Nabokov: "The story does not really end, for as long as people are alive, there is no possible or definite conclusion to their troubles or hopes or dreams."

Quark
09-23-2007, 10:11 AM
It's been a few days since I've posted. Sorry, I've been studying for the GRE (the big test that's going to decide everything that will happen in my life for years to come). I do want to keep the discussion going if I can. It's just going to be a little difficult until the 29th.



it is really a perfect story to illustrate what made Chekhov so great. For example, the minor, yet essential details inserted right in the middle of important scenes, (e.g. Gurov slicing a piece of watermelon as Anna sits dejected and troubled after they become lovers, two youths casting glances at Anna and Gurov from a staircase while they meet at the theater) which create a sense of reality

Yes, the Chekhov is in the details. I especially liked Gurov eating the watermelon while Anna is having her scene in the hotel room. The careless way in which he regards Anna makes it clear to us how Dmitri feels about women--at that point. Also, it reflects how the reader is feeling during that scene. We know that Anna's is only being insecure here, and we know that she sincerely likes and wants to make love to Gurov. Yet, she has this scene in the hotel room because of her own insecurity. It makes us all want to roll our eyes and do something to pass the time until she's done. Gurov casually strolling over to eat a watermelon is perfect.


that most other authors, being distracted with morals, messages, and conventional climax, take a pass on. Vladimir Nabokov sums it all up best: "All the traditional rules of story telling have been broken in this wonderful short story of twenty pages or so. There is no problem, no regular climax, no point at the end. And it is one of the greatest stories ever written."

If Chekhov wasn't interested in morals, messages, or the usual methods of storytelling, what do you think Chekhov wanted to do?


It's easy to see the story cynically or pessimistically (which critics seem to have done with every Chekhov story), but I find think pessimistic is a word that rarely can accurately describe a Chekhov story. Particularly with this one. Conventionally, it would seem pessimistic, if compared to more fairy tale-like stories ("happily ever after"), but, in fact, when viewed against the backdrop of reality, of real life it is really neither. There is no "Love will overcome" or "Love is an illusion"; just: this is what these two people felt. (Nabokov: "There is no special moral to be drawn and no special message to be received.")

I've also read on previous posts about the ending of the story. I feel it is absolutely perfect. Chekhov's endings aren't for everybody, but I, personally, find them some of the most satisfying of any author. Again, Nabokov: "The story does not really end, for as long as people are alive, there is no possible or definite conclusion to their troubles or hopes or dreams."

I think it's fair enough to say that the writer doesn't give us, the readers, one message about love and relationships in this story. I don't think you can say that Chekhov was simply cynical or idealistic about those topics. There is so much conflicting information; and, as we've pointed out, there is no typical conclusion that points to what's going to happen next. That being said, though, I think we can still learn something from reading the story. It made me think about how both personal insecurity and mundane sameness can threaten togetherness. I don't mean to suggest that that is the moral or point of the story. I just think it's part of the representation of life that's in the story. It's not a conclusion, just a thought.

Did anyone else come away with anything?

zinfar
11-11-2007, 05:06 AM
Does anybody know where to find an on line english translation of "He and She" by Chekhov? If so please email me at [email protected] Thank you

gijmaj
02-12-2008, 01:54 PM
Chekov is the master of the short stories. each one is characteristic. discribing one side of the man.

Janine
02-12-2008, 04:14 PM
Since this thread, 'Chekhov' came up today in the listings in bold, does anyone know if we are going to revive it soon? I bought the audio CD's of about 8 of his stories and I would like to discuss them.

If anyone is interested, I would be interested in reading and discussing a Chekhov story next month or perhaps the following month.

Quark
02-12-2008, 04:41 PM
Oh, alright, Janine

Remind me again which stories do you have?

Janine
02-12-2008, 05:31 PM
Oh, alright, Janine

Remind me again which stories do you have?

Quark, you are killing me! ...*groan groan*....:( I'm lazy and I don't feel like typing them out again. I just looked through posts and can't find them, but will find a way to list them. Maybe they are listed in a PM and some are still past PM's in my file, so I might find the list. If not I will check online and copy and paste the titles. I know the main one is 'In the Ravine'.

Now,Quark, get over to the Lawrence thread and post something super intelligent to stun me!

Quark
02-12-2008, 06:16 PM
I know the main one is 'In the Ravine'.

Hmm, "In the Ravine" isn't my favorite story, but it is a popular one so maybe it would be good. I try to find the stories that will generate interest more than the ones I just happen to like. I'll read over "In the Ravine" tonight and see what I think.

I'll also send out some PMs to see if there really are enough people interested to reach that critical mass needed for discussion. If I can find four or five moderately interested people, then I'll give it shot.


Now,Quark, get over to the Lawrence thread and post something super intelligent to stun me!

Um, yes ma'am

Janine
02-15-2008, 01:44 AM
Hmm, "In the Ravine" isn't my favorite story, but it is a popular one so maybe it would be good. I try to find the stories that will generate interest more than the ones I just happen to like. I'll read over "In the Ravine" tonight and see what I think.

Quark, since that is a longer story we could save that until the summer months when people might have more time. I would like to discuss it eventually.



I'll also send out some PMs to see if there really are enough people interested to reach that critical mass needed for discussion. If I can find four or five moderately interested people, then I'll give it shot.

Hey, I am here. How many people do you need? :lol: As I told Virgil before, 'If you build it, they will come'....(think of 'Field of Dreams')...it worked in the Lawrence thread. I track 'em down, too. Just send me on the mission and I will find more Chekhov people. If the wander I will drag them back. I am stick with it, when I am determined to do something. Have faith we will get this thread moving along again.:thumbs_up


Um, yes ma'am:lol: Well, it worked and you did stun me!;)

islandclimber
02-15-2008, 10:55 PM
I love Chekhov! though somehow I've lost my book of his short works... :bawling: Oh well, time to get a new one I guess... But, I'm interested in discussing any of his works... The Ravine isn't my favourite either though it is the most popular... I really like "Ward No. 6"... and the "The Black Monk" always struck me as being particularly interesting...:)

Janine
02-15-2008, 11:26 PM
I love Chekhov! though somehow I've lost my book of his short works... :bawling: Oh well, time to get a new one I guess... But, I'm interested in discussing any of his works... The Ravine isn't my favourite either though it is the most popular... I really like "Ward No. 6"... and the "The Black Monk" always struck me as being particularly interesting...:)

Hi islandclimber, it is good to have another person interested in Chekhov, so welcome abroad! I told Quark, if we started this thread up again people, would show up. You have proven my theory.:)
You better order another Chekhov book real soon. It seems the audiobook, I bought recently, doesn't have the stories everyone keeps mentioning...*sigh sigh*. I will list them here soon and maybe you have heard of some that are good ones. I don't have a book of Chekhov myself, and was hoping to use the audio CD's - there are about 10 stories at least to choose from. I will post the list later or tomorrow. I hope we can get a story going by March. What do you think? Would March be good for you?
Currently, we have a great short story thread, which has been getting better and better with every new story. This is the 'Lawrence Short Stories' - if you like DHL's stories, as well, do come over and join us. We have read/discussed such interesting ones so far, and our little thread has just topped out at 1000posts! :thumbs_up (in under a year) You can see it is quite active! Funny, the story we did prior to the one we are discussing now was called "The Man Who Loved Island" - I notice your user name. You could have called the character in this particular short story an 'island hopper'.

islandclimber
02-15-2008, 11:45 PM
Currently, we have a great short story thread, which has been getting better and better with every new story. This is the 'Lawrence Short Stories' - if you like DHL's stories, as well, do come over and join us. We have read/discussed such interesting ones so far, and our little thread has just topped out at 1000posts! :thumbs_up (in under a year) You can see it is quite active! Funny, the story we did prior to the one we are discussing now was called "The Man Who Loved Island" - I notice your user name. You could have called the character in this particular short story an 'island hopper'.

I will come over... though, DHL with me is very hit and miss, some I really like, some I really don't care for... But I'm always interested in discussing things I've read... Interesting story name, I haven't actually read it, so I guess I'll have to now...

I've ordered a new copy of Chekhov, but for now all of them are online at different sites, even here on the online-lit site I think... I like alot of Chekhov so I am sure there will be something you have that everyone interested in this discussion can enjoy...:)

Janine
02-16-2008, 12:28 AM
I will come over... though, DHL with me is very hit and miss, some I really like, some I really don't care for... But I'm always interested in discussing things I've read... Interesting story name, I haven't actually read it, so I guess I'll have to now...

I've ordered a new copy of Chekhov, but for now all of them are online at different sites, even here on the online-lit site I think... I like alot of Chekhov so I am sure there will be something you have that everyone interested in this discussion can enjoy...:)

Oh good; you can try the next story with us and see how you like it. We have not picked one yet, but I do have some ideas of some good ones or ones I heard were quite good. So far, all we have discussed everyone seems to have liked. Quark said the last two, he particularly liked, but I think that is because we had more participation and so a better exchange of ideas, which lead to a better understanding of the stories and just what Lawrence was conveying or trying to convey.
You should read the 'island' one; it is quite interesting. Of course, discussing it made it more so.

About the Chekhov audiobook I own, these are the stories.
The CD is called:

Anton Chekhov ~ In the Ravine and Other Short Stories ~ read by Kenneth Branagh.
Oh! The Public, The Choris Girl, The Trousseau, A Story Without a Title, Children, Misery, Fat and Thin, The Begger, Hush!, The Orator, An Actor's End.
So these CD's actually include 12 stories. Do you know any of them? I am going to go check the internet and Amazon for books of his stories now. Yes, I know that this site has some of the short stories with the texts.

Quark
02-16-2008, 12:43 AM
I love Chekhov! though somehow I've lost my book of his short works... :bawling: Oh well, time to get a new one I guess... But, I'm interested in discussing any of his works... The Ravine isn't my favourite either though it is the most popular... I really like "Ward No. 6"... and the "The Black Monk" always struck me as being particularly interesting...:)

Yeah, "Ward No. 6" is another good Chekhov story, but, like "In the Ravine", it's over 40 pages. Some people might find it a bit taxing. I was thinking about doing either "A Doctor's Visit" which is a moving story about the woes of industrialism in Russia or "On the Road" which is one of the funnier Chekhov short stories. Neither of these books are in Janine's audio book, though, and I don't know whether I can persuade her to read one on her computer screen (as I've done for the Lawrence thread). I hope you can join in with the discussion, islandclimber. We should start by the beginning of next month.

Oh, and I certainly suggest you take a look at the Lawrence thread, too.


About the Chekhov audiobook I own, these are the stories.
The CD is called:

Anton Chekhov ~ In the Ravine and Other Short Stories ~ read by Kenneth Branagh.
Oh! The Public, The Choris Girl, The Trousseau, A Story Without a Title, Children, Misery, Fat and Thin, The Begger, Hush!, The Orator, An Actor's End.
So these CD's actually include 12 stories. Do you know any of them? I am going to go check the internet and Amazon for books of his stories now. Yes, I know that this site has some of the short stories with the texts.

I've heard of these other stories, but some of them are rather obscure. I'll try to read them over the weekend. If I find one that I think would work for next month, I'll let you know.

islandclimber
02-16-2008, 01:11 AM
Yeah, "Ward No. 6" is another good Chekhov story, but, like "In the Ravine", it's over 40 pages. Some people might find it a bit taxing. I was thinking about doing either "A Doctor's Visit" which is a moving story about the woes of industrialism in Russia or "On the Road" which is one of the funnier Chekhov short stories. Neither of these books are in Janine's audio book, though, and I don't know whether I can persuade her to read one on her computer screen (as I've done for the Lawrence thread). I hope you can join in with the discussion, islandclimber. We should start by the beginning of next month.

I've heard of these other stories, but some of them are rather obscure. I'll try to read them over the weekend. If I find one that I think would work for next month, I'll let you know.

I like both of the stories you mention... "On the Road" is quite funny for Chekhov...

of Janine's stories I actually quite like a couple of them... "Misery" is quite a moving short work about a sledge driver... a little sad, though i guess the name implies so... and "A Story Without a Title" is quite good as well, kind of almost a religious comedy, temptation and all... the end makes it almost comic.. and "Oh! the public" as well is really good... the story of an alcoholic...

the others are decent, just not quite in the same league in my opinion... the only ones i haven't read are "the trosseau" and "the chorus girl"...

I'm a little envious about the audio cd.. :) I really like Kenneth Branagh... all the shakespeare I've seen him in was fantastic..

Quark
02-16-2008, 01:49 AM
I like both of the stories you mention... "On the Road" is quite funny for Chekhov...

of Janine's stories I actually quite like a couple of them... "Misery" is quite a moving short work about a sledge driver... a little sad, though i guess the name implies so... and "A Story Without a Title" is quite good as well, kind of almost a religious comedy, temptation and all... the end makes it almost comic.. and "Oh! the public" as well is really good... the story of an alcoholic...

the others are decent, just not quite in the same league in my opinion... the only ones i haven't read are "the trosseau" and "the chorus girl"...


It sounds like you've already read a few Chekhov stories. I haven't read "Oh! the Public" yet. I'll have to give it a shot over the weekend.

Janine
02-16-2008, 02:15 AM
I like both of the stories you mention... "On the Road" is quite funny for Chekhov...

Quark, they sound like good ones... but, I really was hoping for the audiobook stories to come up soon. I really enjoy them and can listen while I do other work, and I am going to be kind of busy this coming month. ugh...I hate reading the stories online. I usually can only read about a page at a time that way. I may be able to find some in my library.




of Janine's stories I actually quite like a couple of them... "Misery" is quite a moving short work about a sledge driver... a little sad, though i guess the name implies so... and "A Story Without a Title" is quite good as well, kind of almost a religious comedy, temptation and all... the end makes it almost comic.. and "Oh! the public" as well is really good... the story of an alcoholic...

Here is what they say on Amazon about the audiobook collection of stories:

The eleven short stories and one novella (IN THE RAVINE) in this collection are not as well known as the great plays on which Chekhov's reputation rests. Let's hope that this terrific audio version helps change that, as these stories are brilliant evocations of the class-dominated society that Russia has always been. Some are comic, some are sad--all are ultimately tragic. If you insist on Russian stories being read with a Russian accent, this audiobook is not for you, as all the accents are unambiguously British. But if you want an outstanding reading, in which the narrator's voice brilliantly conveys the speaker's class and the intricate relationships between characters during conversations, you can do no better than to listen to Kenneth Branagh. This great actor mesmerizes as he gasps, chuckles, stutters, and declaims. A must listen. R.E.K. 2003 Audie Award Finalist © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Then a customer reviewer added these comments:

First, he said this should be in all libraries and schools. He apparently love the collection and he rated it 5 stars. The total rating for the audiobook was 5 star. He goes on to say:
“Classical music enhances a dramatic narrative performance by film, television, and stage actor Kenneth Branagh who does full justice to these timeless works of literature”.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9626342617/ref=wl_it_dp?



the others are decent, just not quite in the same league in my opinion... the only ones i haven't read are "the trosseau" and "the chorus girl"...

I'm a little envious about the audio cd.. :) I really like Kenneth Branagh... all the shakespeare I've seen him in was fantastic..

islandclimber, I am a huge Kenneth Branagh fan and have listened to his Shakespeare audiobooks and happen to think they are the finest out there. I love his "Richard III" and his "Hamlet". I recently bought his narration of "Frankenstein" but have not yet heard that. He also plays the fool in "King Lear" audiobook - Naxos - I just bought that. Aside, from that I love his Shakespearan films very much, topping the list is "Henry V", then "Hamlet". I also very much like his role in Othello, but he did not direct that film and it is quite abridged. I have to give the guy credit for using the entire script of 4 hours length in his stunning "Hamlet"; that was brave and commendable.

islandclimber, speaking of brave - is that you in your profile page climbing a very dangerous looking cliff? Yikes, I nearly died when I saw it. I just had to ask; sorry I'm curious.

Etienne
02-16-2008, 02:22 AM
"Sleepy" is probably my favorite of his short stories, if I had to name only one.

islandclimber
02-16-2008, 03:00 AM
islandclimber, I am a huge Kenneth Branagh fan and have listened to his Shakespeare audiobooks and happen to think they are the finest out there. I love his "Richard III" and his "Hamlet". I recently bought his narration of "Frankenstein" but have not yet heard that. He also plays the fool in "King Lear" audiobook - Naxos - I just bought that. Aside, from that I love his Shakespearan films very much, topping the list is "Henry V", then "Hamlet". I also very much like his role in Othello, but he did not direct that film and it is quite abridged. I have to give the guy credit for using the entire script of 4 hours length in his stunning "Hamlet"; that was brave and commendable.

islandclimber, speaking of brave - is that you in your profile page climbing a very dangerous looking cliff? Yikes, I nearly died when I saw it. I just had to ask; sorry I'm curious.

I've heard his "Frankenstein"... it is, as usual, really good... he has quite the voice for narration, full of character, emotion, life... I really liked his films adaptations of "Hamlet" and "Henry V" as well, and then "Much Ado About Nothing" was pretty good..

try "a story without a title"... it is quite the Chekhov story...

yes, that's me climbing, besides reading and writing, I like to spend a little bit of time outside... you know, climb the average cliff... surf the little waves in the sea *smile*... I just love the outdoors...

Janine
02-16-2008, 04:37 PM
I've heard his "Frankenstein"... it is, as usual, really good... he has quite the voice for narration, full of character, emotion, life... I really liked his films adaptations of "Hamlet" and "Henry V" as well, and then "Much Ado About Nothing" was pretty good..

Oh, I am so anxious now to listen to it. I tend to get hooked on good recordings. I have listened now to his BBC recording of "Hamlet" and his Naxos "Richard III" CD's so many times now I can quote the lines. I love them both. With headphones, you feel like you are right next to him on the stage. I love the book, "Frankenstein" - read it twice so far. To listen to KB read it will be a treat. I took a chance when I bought it; but glad now to get a good review on it. Yes, he has such a range of emotions and his enthusiasm always comes through.



try "a story without a title"... it is quite the Chekhov story...

That sounds like an interesting one...is it in most collections? I just may own a Chekhov book of his collected works. I have to hunt through my over-crowded bookshelves. My father left me a legacy of good books and one author may be Chekhov. I thought I saw one one day; however it might only contain his plays. I will try to track it down. Otherwise my library has a few of the short story books.


yes, that's me climbing, besides reading and writing, I like to spend a little bit of time outside... you know, climb the average cliff... surf the little waves in the sea *smile*... I just love the outdoors...

Oh my goodness....and what does your mother say about that? I would die. My son has a mountain bike and recently went to Arizona on an excursion. I was a little shaky about that one; now I am glad he does that and does not mountain climb. Are you actually climbing without ropes? Your photo makes it appear so, but then the photo is a bit small. There is another Lit Netter who climbs. I will see who it is. I forget now; I'll ask my friend. He has posted photos of himself and his friend climbing (with ropes) in the Lit Net Photoalbum thread. You might check that out.

Quark
02-18-2008, 04:46 PM
I read through your list of Chekhov stories. The best two are "Oh! The Public!" and "Misery". Both have the usual Chekhov pithiness, and both have an oddly affecting quality about them. I'd choose "Misery" over "Oh! The Public!" since it's a little more emotionally charged and because the structure is more subtle. "Oh! The Public!" is a bit too obvious, I think, but both are enjoyable stories. The only problem with them is that they're a little too pithy maybe. They're awfully short for a month long discussion. Certainly, listen to your audiotapes if you have time, but I think we may be better of picking one of the longer stories I suggested earlier. Or, maybe we could do the two shorter short stories in one month.

What do you think?

Janine
02-19-2008, 01:23 AM
Ok, we could do two then - "Oh! The Public" and "Misery". That would be fine with me. If we end up discussing more than we anticipated and run overtime that is ok, too. Below, is a former quote by islandclimber. He seems in agreement and also sites the story "A Story Without a Title" as being quite good and interesting....that might be a good idea for the following month, April.
Quark did you read all these stories on my audiobook CD's?


of Janine's stories I actually quite like a couple of them... "Misery" is quite a moving short work about a sledge driver... a little sad, though i guess the name implies so... and "A Story Without a Title" is quite good as well, kind of almost a religious comedy, temptation and all... the end makes it almost comic.. and "Oh! the public" as well is really good... the story of an alcoholic...

islandclimber
02-19-2008, 05:10 PM
discussing "misery" and "oh! the public" sounds good to me.... even together they aren't that long, and they are both two of my favourites from his really short works...

Janine-- yes that is climbing without a rope... but in that picture it is only bouldering, where you climb boulders usually, or short cliffs up to 25-30 ft high.... you have a spotter and a little pad that is supposed to soften your fall.. tons of fun... I couldn't find the picture of the other climber, the litnet photoalbum is quite big, hard to go through... *smile*

cheers

Quark
02-19-2008, 05:25 PM
Quark did you read all these stories on my audiobook CD's?

Yeah, most of them are pretty short--except for "In the Ravine", of course.


Ok, we could do two then - "Oh! The Public" and "Misery". That would be fine with me. If we end up discussing more than we anticipated and run overtime that is ok, too.


discussing "misery" and "oh! the public" sounds good to me.... even together they aren't that long, and they are both two of my favourites from his really short works...

I think doing those two would work for next month. Officially, the discussion will start on Mar. 1 since it's best to make the schedule for the stories easy to follow (no Aug. 14-Sept. 3 nonsense). I'll probably start posting a few days before March to get things going, but I don't think it will be until the end of next week.

I hope you guys have time to stop in and post.

Janine
02-19-2008, 05:51 PM
Yeah, most of them are pretty short--except for "In the Ravine", of course.

Great, then we are all in accordance on the two - "Misery" and "Oh! The Public!" Thanks so much! I can't wait to listen to them. I have had the CD set, since before Christmas, and due to other responsibilities - books and stories on here - I have had to make myself put off listening to it. I am dying now to hear those two stories narrated. I will also try and read the story texts; they are online arent' they? Is it this site or somewhere on the net? I will, no doubt, listen to them twice or more. I like to get a very clear idea of just what is going on in the stories. I usually copy the full text to my hard-drive and then have a short cut to my desktop for easy assess. I have been doing that with the Lawrence short stories and it works well. I can pull up two windows and then underline key words and phrases, and really get a better sense of the meanings, in the story and any symbolism, themes, etc. that become apparent me. This method might work well for you guys, too. If you tile your windows vertically, you can work the two windows so easily, but I am sure you know that already.




I think doing those two would work for next month. Officially, the discussion will start on Mar. 1 since it's best to make the schedule for the stories easy to follow (no Aug. 14-Sept. 3 nonsense). I'll probably start posting a few days before March to get things going, but I don't think it will be until the end of next week.

I hope you guys have time to stop in and post.

March 1 will be great. Quark, which one will we start with? Why don't we designate a two week session for each. Great - yes, post an introduction to the first story prior to March, and we can all get reading and form some ideas to begin with. A little structure never hurt anyone. It will keep us on track, like a rudder to a small boat. Otherwise, we will just be a boat adrift, with no direction.

Quote by islandclimber

discussing "misery" and "oh! the public" sounds good to me.... even together they aren't that long, and they are both two of my favourites from his really short works...

Glad to know they are short. This should work out well for next month. I may be lagging a little at the end of the month. We are preparing a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, which is around the 31st of March. I am going to be a grandmother, first time!:D But I won't let you guys down...promise. I will be here most of the time and faithful to the cause - let's call it 'reviving the Chekhov thread!'



Janine-- yes that is climbing without a rope... but in that picture it is only bouldering, where you climb boulders usually, or short cliffs up to 25-30 ft high.... you have a spotter and a little pad that is supposed to soften your fall.. tons of fun... I couldn't find the picture of the other climber, the litnet photoalbum is quite big, hard to go through... *smile*

Well now that is a comfort - only 25-30 ft drop and a tiny pad to cushion your fall and some idiot below who will get crushed if you do fall. Sooo, you still did not answer my question - what does your mom think of this? I would be having a stroke!
I did ask Virgil who the other climber is and he must have forgot to answer me. I will find out for you. He is quite daring, but I think he does climb with ropes, but then he is up much higher than 25-30 ft, or so it appears in his photos. Wow, islandclimber, have fun but do keep safe. That photo of yours is amazing - I can't imagine how you reach up and attach yourself to that boulder face when you are under it. We should call you Spiderman!;) :lol:

Have a great day, both of you and cheers to you, too!

islandclimber
02-19-2008, 08:44 PM
March 1 will be great. Quark, which one will we start with? Why don't we designate a two week session for each. Great - yes, post an introduction to the first story prior to March, and we can all get reading and form some ideas to begin with. A little structure never hurt anyone. It will keep us on track, like a rudder to a small boat. Otherwise, we will just be a boat adrift, with no direction.


Well now that is a comfort - only 25-30 ft drop and a tiny pad to cushion your fall and some idiot below who will get crushed if you do fall. Sooo, you still did not answer my question - what does your mom think of this? I would be having a stroke!
I did ask Virgil who the other climber is and he must have forgot to answer me. I will find out for you. He is quite daring, but I think he does climb with ropes, but then he is up much higher than 25-30 ft, or so it appears in his photos. Wow, islandclimber, have fun but do keep safe. That photo of yours is amazing - I can't imagine how you reach up and attach yourself to that boulder face when you are under it. We should call you Spiderman!;) :lol:

Have a great day, both of you and cheers to you, too!

thank you... my mother, well she just tells us (my brother climbs as well) not to tell her too much about... :lol: but we've climbed, with ropes, rock faces up to 3500 ft...

I am actually going climbing(bouldering) in California for a week from the 23rd to the 1st of March... so I will be back just in time... I look forward to discussing chekhov (almost as much as getting into the sun:lol: )

cheers

Janine
02-19-2008, 10:46 PM
thank you... my mother, well she just tells us (my brother climbs as well) not to tell her too much about... :lol: but we've climbed, with ropes, rock faces up to 3500 ft...

I am actually going climbing(bouldering) in California for a week from the 23rd to the 1st of March... so I will be back just in time... I look forward to discussing chekhov (almost as much as getting into the sun:lol: )

cheers

Well, islandclimber, I can imagine your mother - she must say a lot of prayers. My son mountain bikes and I know I pray a lot and I also ask him not to tell me much about it. He was just out in AZ couple months ago. He had a great time in the SUN! If I were you I would look forward more to the sun than to Chekhov. I love California and know what those boulders look like. Beautiful state. Oh, do be careful and have fun!....(words of advise from a worrisome mom;) ).

So, Quark, we'll be starting March 1 - perfect for me. I will be popping in to post - definitely. I did actually already listen to "Oh! The Public." I realised that when I started to read it tonight online. I found a site with all the Chekhov stories. Yikes, didn't know there were that many really.

Janine
02-27-2008, 08:44 PM
Hello, remember me? I am popping in to ask - will we be starting the discussion on "Oh! the Public" next? Can we begin it on Monday? I posted the story for the D.H.Lawrence thread and that will also begin on Monday. This will give us all a weekend to read the stories. What do you guys think about Chekhov SS starting on Monday with the story I mentioned - Quark, ...Islandclimber, ..whomever...???

Quark
02-29-2008, 12:38 AM
Hello, remember me? I am popping in to ask - will we be starting the discussion on "Oh! the Public" next? Can we begin it on Monday? I posted the story for the D.H.Lawrence thread and that will also begin on Monday. This will give us all a weekend to read the stories. What do you guys think about Chekhov SS starting on Monday with the story I mentioned - Quark, ...Islandclimber, ..whomever...???

I was actually going to start with the other story called "Misery" first since I think there is probably more to talk about in that one. In a couple of weeks we'll probably switch over and do "Oh! The Public!". I'll post a little introduction to the two stories tomorrow when I get a moment. Hope everyone enjoys the stories.

Janine
02-29-2008, 12:50 AM
I was actually going to start with the other story called "Misery" first since I think there is probably more to talk about in that one. In a couple of weeks we'll probably switch over and do "Oh! The Public!". I'll post a little introduction to the two stories tomorrow when I get a moment. Hope everyone enjoys the stories.

Quark, I haven't read it or listened to it yet so that is fine. You sure like to pull fast ones on me though. ;) Can we start it on Monday? Discussing?
That would be great if you would post something about the two stories, but don't give away the endings. Thanks and I will be anxious to read your introduction. Great!:thumbs_up Good to get this thread active again. I posted the new Lawrence story. It is a good one so hope you join in.

Quark
02-29-2008, 01:14 AM
Quark, I haven't read it or listened to it yet so that is fine. You sure like to pull fast ones on me though. ;) Can we start it on Monday? Discussing?

Monday sounds good. Really, though, you can post whenever you want to. I know we help each other on these SS threads a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to be totally synchronized. I'll post my intro tomorrow and see what happens; I probably won't comment on the story, itself, until sometime over the weekend.

Speaking of being synchronized, though, sorry about bailing on the ATOTC thread. I just couldn't find time to read to a 350 page novel recently. I will still try to pop in and add to the conversation every once in a while, but I don't really know how much I will be able to do outside of that.


I posted the new Lawrence story. It is a good one so hope you join in.

I'll check out the Lawrence story, too, over the weekend.

Janine
02-29-2008, 02:40 AM
Monday sounds good. Really, though, you can post whenever you want to. I know we help each other on these SS threads a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to be totally synchronized. I'll post my intro tomorrow and see what happens; I probably won't comment on the story, itself, until sometime over the weekend.

Quark, that's ok. I just have been sick and I am still feeling tired and weak. I don't think I can find the time to listen to the CD, until the weekend and then if the story is a short one, I will probably run through it online. Is the story on this site, do you know? I will check after I post this.



Speaking of being synchronized, though, sorry about bailing on the ATOTC thread. I just couldn't find time to read to a 350 page novel recently. I will still try to pop in and add to the conversation every once in a while, but I don't really know how much I will be able to do outside of that.

That is perfectly ok, too. I had read the book twice before and know the story really well, by now. I also have viewed the miniseries, which is very close to the actual book. I was just reviewing some commentary books on it, but slowed up when I got ill. Now manolia and Alexei are both actively posting in that thread. Alexei came in late, she is highly interested/ So we just wait patiently for each other to post. I only posted twice in there today. The thread has no time limit.


I'll check out the Lawrence story, too, over the weekend.

Good, it is not a long one. Since I could not sleep the other night, I stayed up and read a whole lot of the Lawrence short stories. This way, I have reviewed a number of them, as possibilities for the thread. Virgil said he loved this story "The Blind Man" when I mentioned having read it thinking this would be the one I would choose. His :thumbs_up made me go ahead and post this would be the next story. I will try to email some of the people tomorrow to let them know.

Quark
02-29-2008, 10:11 PM
After languishing for a few months, the Chekhov thread is back up. We've got more stories from the succinct Russian realist to read, too. In fact, the two stories for this month are some of his most succinct. Both contain only one scene and span only a few pages. Their brevity isn't their only winning quality, though. More noticeable about the stories is their weirdly affecting quality.


First is "Misery" (online at http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1146), a story describing a grief-stricken man searching for sympathy. The main action surrounds a sledge-driver ferrying his passengers around Petersburg, but the byplay between Iona, the driver, and his customers reveals the misery which the story is named after. It should be a good read. All the usual Chekhov tricks are there: symbolism, wit, all that. Written in 1886, the story is one of the earlier ones so we'll see some of the same themes we've talked about earlier--only in embryo form here. And, one last thing, it's compact. That's why I thought we could try to do two stories in one month. Also, I wanted to do another because I didn't want to end on the downer that this story has.

The second story is "Oh! The Public!" (http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1140). A more light-hearted one, but still not too optimistic (it's hard to find Chekhov stories that are). "Oh! The Public!" is about a ticket collector who just can't win. Perhaps he's well-meaning, but his attempts to help himself and those around him always seem to backfire. Frustration ensues, and we're left to wonder what went wrong and why. If the first story centers around one of Chekhov's usual victims, this one focuses on one of his typical fools. Hopefully this one gets some laughs as well as tears.


These should be two good stories, and I hope people get a chance to post a comment or two. I'll probably start posting chunks of the story on the thread Sunday after I post on the Lawrence discussion.

Janine
02-29-2008, 11:14 PM
Quark, *clap clap* that was really good. Excellent introduction! Thanks for posting all of this. I am looking forward to the two stories and reviving this great thread come Monday.

Janine
03-01-2008, 04:25 PM
Quark, Shall I start posting later today on "Misery" or wait until Monday? You said it - Chekhov sure writes sad, depressing stories. Probably the reason we can't get too many participants in here, but now I am determined to learn more about the author.
I found out yesterday that my favorite actor, Kenneth Branagh, loves Chekhov and he is currently starring in the West End theater, London, in a production of "Ivanov". Here is a photo of him playing the role:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/IvanovKB.jpg

Good to know that Chekhov still lives in the theaters and hearts of many! :thumbs_up Sure wish I could hop a plane and see Branagh perform it.

Below was suppose to be a nice photo I found of Chekhov, but it won't work on here, because it is a GIF file. I will try and convert it, so I can post it later.

Quark, we needed some illustrations to perk up this thread!:D I will try and find a nice painting to depict the old Russian taxi driver or the snowy atmosphere of the story.

I liked the story, but it was..oh..so sad. I liked the idea of the horse and the communication between the man and animal. Some people would agree - animals listen better than humans. I could relate to this story. I sometimes think no one is listening to me.

Quark
03-01-2008, 05:02 PM
Quark, Shall I start posting later today on "Misery" or wait until Monday?

If you're ready, post any time you want. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but that was only to give you more time. I'll post the first chunk of text tonight once I finish the Lawrence story.


You said it - Chekhov sure writes sad, depressing stories.

Wow, this is coming from the DH Lawrence fan. The last two stories we read from your thread included a marriage falling apart and a man slowly dying alone on an island: fun stuff. I think both authors have a leaning toward the tragic.


I found out yesterday that my favorite actor, Kenneth Branagh, loves Chekhov and he is currently starring in the West End theater, London, in a production of "Ivanov". Here is a photo of him playing the role:

I didn't know Chekhov had the celebrity backing. "Ivanov" is a good play, though. It's one of the five major plays Chekhov wrote. Sometime, maybe, we might read one of the plays (looking around for reactions).


Quark, we needed some illustrations to perk up this thread!:D I will try and find a nice painting to depict the old Russian taxi driver or the snowy atmosphere of the story.

Yeah, I thought about finding some illustrations of the scenes in this story. Since Chekhov is so scarce with the details, I think it might help to actually see some of the places the story takes us. And, I've had some luck locating visual depictions of the Petersburg that Chekhov shows us. The Neva River (which the Iona crosses a couple times) was a much painted favorite for Russian Realist in the nineteenth century.


I liked the story, but it was..oh..so sad. I liked the idea of the horse and the communication between the man and animal. Some people would agree - animals listen better than humans. I could relate to this story. I sometimes think no one is listening to me.

Well, the title does kind of warn you a sad story is coming. I'll talk a little bit more about why he befriends the animal later on when I post tonight.

Janine
03-01-2008, 05:27 PM
If you're ready, post any time you want. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but that was only to give you more time. I'll post the first chunk of text tonight once I finish the Lawrence story.

Great - a little tired presently from this cold but if you post somethings tonight I will try to respond. The story is not all that complicated and now I see why you suggested we do two this month. I will be re-reading "The Blind Man" tonight and I may listen to the CD of "Misery" as well.


Wow, this is coming from the DH Lawrence fan. The last two stories we read from your thread included a marriage falling apart and a man slowly dying alone on an island: fun stuff. I think both authors have a leaning toward the tragic.

You bet and yes, if you want to know my mind, how I think, here is an example - on my birthday a few days ago, I had to watch my favorite film - KB's "Hamlet", even though I have seen it now a zillion times. I don't think it is always the tragic factor in these stories that attract me, but rather I feel they are a 'puzzle' to me about the characters involved. I love to try and figure out what is going on beneath the surface, even here with this story of "Misery" - trying to get to the core of the man, Iona, and just how he is feeling and reacting. I love "Hamlet" for the same reason. I find after viewing it once again, I am struck with this persistent desire to figure it all out and figure out this 'Hamlet' and why he acts/reacts as he does. Everytime I see the production, I see something else I forgot to consider. It is such a puzzle and so this is mainly why I feel attracted...probably same with Lawrence and Chekhov.


I didn't know Chekhov had the celebrity backing. "Ivanov" is a good play, though. It's one of the five major plays Chekhov wrote. Sometime, maybe, we might read one of the plays (looking around for reactions).

Well, now you do and you should be glad. I am more than pleased to see this. Branagh is suppose to shine on stage. Oh, if only I could get to see him just once on a live stage. You can see in his face the intensity of this production. I heard his stage performance of "Edmond" was mesmorizing. I think this one looks even better. I would like to read the play sometime. Maybe down the road we can start a Chekhov play thread. That would be fun. Great! - that is my reaction.:D :thumbs_up


Yeah, I thought about finding some illustrations of the scenes in this story. Since Chekhov is so scarce with the details, I think it might help to actually see some of the places the story takes us. And, I've had some luck locating visual depictions of the Petersburg that Chekhov shows us. The Neva River (which the Iona crosses a couple times) was a much painted favorite for Russian Realist in the nineteenth century.

That would be wonderful. I think it draws more attention to the thread as well. It is nice to break up the text now and then with some visuals. I will also look online and see if I can find anything interesting. What year would this story have taken place, Quark, in Petersburg? I think the Neva River would be so interesting to see.


Well, the title does kind of warn you a sad story is coming. I'll talk a little bit more about why he befriends the animal later on when I post tonight.

Yeah, reminds me of that old movie "Misery"....James Cann and Kathy Bates....she put him through some misery...:lol:
I wasn't expecting a very happy story with that title for the short story this time.
Good, I liked the horse best of all the characters!:):lol:

Janine
03-02-2008, 01:24 AM
Here is a painting I came across the other day. I thought maybe it depicted the time period that Chekhov may have been writing about; although it may be a little earlier.
by Alphonse Mucha - The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia (1861) 1914

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/mucha8TheAbolitionofSerfdominRussia.jpg

Quark
03-02-2008, 01:04 PM
The first few paragraphs:


THE twilight of evening. Big flakes of wet snow are whirling lazily about the street lamps, which have just been lighted, and lying in a thin soft layer on roofs, horses' backs, shoulders, caps. Iona Potapov, the sledge-driver, is all white like a ghost. He sits on the box without stirring, bent as double as the living body can be bent. If a regular snowdrift fell on him it seems as though even then he would not think it necessary to shake it off. . . . His little mare is white and motionless too. Her stillness, the angularity of her lines, and the stick-like straightness of her legs make her look like a halfpenny gingerbread horse. She is probably lost in thought. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough, from the familiar gray landscapes, and cast into this slough, full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people, is bound to think.

It is a long time since Iona and his nag have budged. They came out of the yard before dinnertime and not a single fare yet. But now the shades of evening are falling on the town. The pale light of the street lamps changes to a vivid color, and the bustle of the street grows noisier.

"Sledge to Vyborgskaya!" Iona hears. "Sledge!"

Iona starts, and through his snow-plastered eyelashes sees an officer in a military overcoat with a hood over his head.

"To Vyborgskaya," repeats the officer. "Are you asleep? To Vyborgskaya!"

In token of assent Iona gives a tug at the reins which sends cakes of snow flying from the horse's back and shoulders. The officer gets into the sledge. The sledge-driver clicks to the horse, cranes his neck like a swan, rises in his seat, and more from habit than necessity brandishes his whip. The mare cranes her neck, too, crooks her stick-like legs, and hesitatingly sets of. . . .

So, there's snow--lots of it. It's certainly not a surprising occurrence in Russia, but what is noticeable is the stolid reaction of the driver to it. He hardly moves. In fact, he doesn't move at all. The snow just piles up on top of him. Chekhov says "If a regular snowdrift fell on him it seems as though even then he would not think it necessary to shake it off." The scene itself is kind of peaceful, but Iona's behavior makes it more of a commentary on his own passiveness. The snow weighs on him like a weight and causes his body to bend over. The horse, too, is encased in the snow, but the mare's reaction is a bit more of a contemplative silence. Together, they make a rather depressing couple, and I think that's what we're supposed to get out of their appearance. The snow oppresses them like the depression that Iona is feeling. His depression, though, isn't to be confused with his sadness. Action stirs Iona out of the snow, and perhaps dispels the depression he feels in inaction. But, it doesn't get rid of his sadness. He tries to find other ways to do that--obviously we know he's unsuccessful.

The snow is a good way of showing Iona's depression, and it something we find in a lot of Chekhov's fiction. He was very into indirect description. In a letter to a friend and fellow writer, Chekhov once wrote, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." The manner of description is less verbal and specific and more associative and abstract. This creates fewer symbols, but more emblems. And, that's what we get in a lot of Chekhov stories. For example, in "Gooseberries" there's the tapping of the rain which is supposed to emblematic of human sadness--somewhere out there in the abstract. It isn't just the sadness in that story, but all sadness. It's the same way in this story. The snow seems to represent more than just Iona's state, but a more abstract quality like depression. It's something Chekhov does a lot, so I thought I should point it out.


Janine, I'll start posting pictures, soon. I just wanted to get the first section of the story up for discussion first.

Janine
03-02-2008, 03:33 PM
So, there's snow--lots of it. It's certainly not a surprising occurrence in Russia, but what is noticeable is the stolid reaction of the driver to it. He hardly moves. In fact, he doesn't move at all. The snow just piles up on top of him. Chekhov says "If a regular snowdrift fell on him it seems as though even then he would not think it necessary to shake it off." The scene itself is kind of peaceful, but Iona's behavior makes it more of a commentary on his own passiveness. The snow weighs on him like a weight and causes his body to bend over. The horse, too, is encased in the snow, but the mare's reaction is a bit more of a contemplative silence. Together, they make a rather depressing couple, and I think that's what we're supposed to get out of their appearance. The snow oppresses them like the depression that Iona is feeling. His depression, though, isn't to be confused with his sadness. Action stirs Iona out of the snow, and perhaps dispels the depression he feels in inaction. But, it doesn't get rid of his sadness. He tries to find other ways to do that--obviously we know he's unsuccessful.

This is excellent and exactly as I was thinking when I read the story. I really like the way Chekhov used the snow to show the state of Iona and the horse. Yes, passive is a good word and sad and this reminds me of the snow used in "Ethan Frome" to indicate his isolation and depressed state of passivity. This snow scene also reminds me of Joyce's story 'The Dead'...again snow is used effectively to show Gabriel's isolation and sadness appart from his wife. I don't know if you have read these other stories, but this is what came to my mind. The image of Iona sitting on the wagon waiting with snow accumulating on his body is a very poignant way of beginning this story and quite brilliant. I agree that the snow doubles or represents the very depression he is feeling, which is piled heavily upon him now, since this great loss of his son.


The snow is a good way of showing Iona's depression, and it something we find in a lot of Chekhov's fiction. He was very into indirect description. In a letter to a friend and fellow writer, Chekhov once wrote, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." The manner of description is less verbal and specific and more associative and abstract. This creates fewer symbols, but more emblems. And, that's what we get in a lot of Chekhov stories. For example, in "Gooseberries" there's the tapping of the rain which is supposed to emblematic of human sadness--somewhere out there in the abstract. It isn't just the sadness in that story, but all sadness. It's the same way in this story. The snow seems to represent more than just Iona's state, but a more abstract quality like depression. It's something Chekhov does a lot, so I thought I should point it out.
I love this quote: "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." I believe Lawrence and Chekhov are alike this way. They both use the atmosphere to suggest the mood of their characters. I read Gooseberries ages ago and should read it again. I like the example you have pointed out. I probably did not fully understand the book when I read it being quite young at the time. Thanks for pointing out this - that Chekhov does this a lot in his writing. I will now keep that in mind.

Hey, Quark, you did not answer my question about the painting. Is this about the time period or earlier, do you think? I just liked the mood of the snow in it and reminded me of what it might feel like in Russia at the time. Besides, I like the painting so much.

Here is something funny that happened last night. I was listening to the Kenneth Branagh narration of the Chekhov stories and thought, 'I can hear all of the first disk'; so I actually listened to these stories - "Oh! The Public","The Chorus Girl", "The Trousseau", then was into the middle of "A Story Without a Title" and that is when I must have faded away into dreamland....happens to me all the time....so I woke back up, only to hear the very last lines in "Misery" - the part about the oats. Tonight I will definitely listen again, starting with "A Story Without a Title" and hopefull will stay awake to hear "Misery". I liked all the stories I listened to very much. I really liked the imagery in "The Trousseau". I hope we can do that one sometime. Please... please.....Here is a good example of how Chekhov conveys this heavy depressive state of individuals, through showing us and through suggestion/mood...the items in the house and the house itself, from the outside, convey much and show us the physchological state of the occupants. More on this some other day. Sorry to deviate, but it is fresh on my mind and seems to relate to what you have said.


Janine, I'll start posting pictures, soon. I just wanted to get the first section of the story up for discussion first.

Excellent start, Quark! ...and I can't wait to see those photos. Things like that (historic) truly interest me.

Quark
03-03-2008, 03:29 PM
Here are a few illustrations for visual aids. The first two are prints made in 1900 --about 14 years after the story was written and the action takes place. Both are views either of or from the Police Bridge, one of the locales of the story.

http://www.nevsky-prospekt.com/images/nevskypostcard66.jpg

Looking from the bridge:
http://www.nevsky-prospekt.com/images/nevskypostcard21.jpg

I wanted to use these two prints because I thought they showed how urban the Petersburg Iona is traveling through really is. He's running his sledge through crowds of people and between tall buildings. It makes it all the more incredible that he finds himself so shut off from people.

The next two pictures are woodcuts of Petersburg in snow. Both are from the late nineteenth century, so I would consider them as rather contemporary with the story.
http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/ostroumova_lebedeva/ostroumova_lebedeva_peterb_letny_sad.jpg

http://www.russianavantgard.com/Artists/ostroumova_lebedeva/ostroumova_lebedeva_admiralty.jpg

Here's Petersburg in snow. Iona probably would not be on the side streets shown here, but I did want to get at least one picture with snow.

Oh, and I'm not ignoring you Janine. I just wanted to get some stuff up before we get to hopelessly lost in conversation and I don't remember what I was going to do.

Janine
03-03-2008, 04:23 PM
Pictures and photos are wonderful, Quark! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. I love the first two of the old photos....so interesting.

I won't be back until later so you have lots of time to answer my post. I didn't think you were ignoring me. I am quite patient.

Quark
03-04-2008, 12:19 AM
Here is a painting I came across the other day. I thought maybe it depicted the time period that Chekhov may have been writing about; although it may be a little earlier.
by Alphonse Mucha - The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia (1861) 1914

If the painting is from 1914 that would make it 28 years newer than the story. The emancipation of the serfs takes place a couple of decades before the story, though. "Misery" was written in 1886, and there isn't any information to indicate that the action wouldn't take place contemporaneously. Aside from that, the painting is good. I like the mist that gradually seperates the foreground from the background.


This is excellent and exactly as I was thinking when I read the story. I really like the way Chekhov used the snow to show the state of Iona and the horse. Yes, passive is a good word and sad and this reminds me of the snow used in "Ethan Frome" to indicate his isolation and depressed state of passivity. This snow scene also reminds me of Joyce's story 'The Dead'...again snow is used effectively to show Gabriel's isolation and sadness appart from his wife. I don't know if you have read these other stories, but this is what came to my mind. The image of Iona sitting on the wagon waiting with snow accumulating on his body is a very poignant way of beginning this story and quite brilliant. I agree that the snow doubles or represents the very depression he is feeling, which is piled heavily upon him now, since this great loss of his son.

I hadn't thought about those parallels with other stories, but I do think they fit. The Ethan Frome reference is probably the closest; the snow is just as oppressive in that story. Both are related to death, too. It's been a while since I've "The Dead", but I think that one may be a bit more of a reach. The snow, in that one, has a slightly different connotation, right? It has more to do with memory and grief, or something like that.


I liked all the stories I listened to very much. I really liked the imagery in "The Trousseau". I hope we can do that one sometime. Please... please.....Here is a good example of how Chekhov conveys this heavy depressive state of individuals, through showing us and through suggestion/mood...the items in the house and the house itself, from the outside, convey much and show us the psychological state of the occupants. More on this some other day. Sorry to deviate, but it is fresh on my mind and seems to relate to what you have said.

Yeah, in "The Trousseau" it's the house that takes up extra meaning. The narrator feels an overwhelming sadness every time he even passes it. "The Trousseau" is an alright story, but I think it takes a little too long to get to the end. You can kind of see where it's going from the beginning, and the action just too slow for me.


Excellent start, Quark! ...and I can't wait to see those photos. Things like that (historic) truly interest me.

The visual aids help. It particularly helps with Chekhov as I've mentioned. He's notoriously sparing with the details. Talking about these details, he once wrote, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go of." This strategy does keep the story on track, I guess. Yet, it does so at the expense of our imagination of the scene. A picture or two can help a bit.

Janine
03-04-2008, 01:55 AM
Can only answer this part now....

If the painting is from 1914 that would make it 28 years newer than the story. The emancipation of the serfs takes place a couple of decades before the story, though. "Misery" was written in 1886, and there isn't any information to indicate that the action wouldn't take place contemporaneously. Aside from that, the painting is good. I like the mist that gradually seperates the foreground from the background.

I think the painting was executed in 1914, but this painting is of a scene from 1861, when serfdom was abolished; therefore, the painting would depict a few years prior to the time this story takes place.
At anyrate, it is a nice painting isn't it? I too, love the way the background fades with the snowiness of the scene. It has the mood or feeling of the place, where I would imagine Iona to be but probably more urban and crowded with other sledges, pedestrians, etc.

The word that finally came to mind to me, about "Ethan Frome" and Iona is 'inert' - they both share this bodily/mental attitude of inertia.

Quark
03-04-2008, 11:02 PM
I liked the story, but it was..oh..so sad. I liked the idea of the horse and the communication between the man and animal. Some people would agree - animals listen better than humans. I could relate to this story. I sometimes think no one is listening to me.

His horse is definitely more receptive to his story than his passengers. Partly this comes from the horse's subservient position, but it also comes from something deeper. The horse suffers from it's own sadness as well. In that first section is a reflection on the mare's past:


She is probably lost in thought. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough, from the familiar gray landscapes, and cast into this slough, full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people, is bound to think.

The separation plunges the horse into the same depressed and contemplative mood the driver is in. Together, they share the same experience of loss, and the snow cover both of them. We see many instances of their like-mindedness in the story:


It is a long time since Iona and his nag have budged.


The sledge-driver clicks to the horse, cranes his neck like a swan, rises in his seat, and more from habit than necessity brandishes his whip. The mare cranes her neck, too, crooks her stick-like legs, and hesitatingly sets of. . . .


And his little mare, as though she knew his thoughts, falls to trotting.

I suppose sympathy is natural from this arrangement, and Iona takes advantage of it at the end. I don't know if the horse gets something out of the deal. I guess some kindness at times. There is one point where a passenger grabs the whip out of Iona's hand because he's not striking the animal hard enough. Of course, this may say more about the passenger than Iona.

Oh, and in case you were wondering. Yes, Chekhov was an animal lover. I think he wrote one story entirely from the perspective of a dog.

Janine
03-05-2008, 05:13 PM
Back again, Quark, sorry to keep you waiting so long. I went back to this post, since I had not fully answered it and I will add on your next one to the bottom. I like to be thorough.;)



I hadn't thought about those parallels with other stories, but I do think they fit. The Ethan Frome reference is probably the closest; the snow is just as oppressive in that story. Both are related to death, too. It's been a while since I've "The Dead", but I think that one may be a bit more of a reach. The snow, in that one, has a slightly different connotation, right? It has more to do with memory and grief, or something like that.

Yes, I agree - the Ethan Frome similarity is closer, especially the way this story opens with the snow piling up on the horse and Iona. I recall in Ethan Frome one of the first times we are presented with his character is in a similiar situation where the snow is emphasised and where he seems oblivious to it covering himself as he sits on his sledge or wagon. I will see if I can look up a passage. This image so struck me and so it came back to me when reading these first lines of "Misery". I wonder if Wharton got the idea for that scene from the Chekhov story. All authors steal ideas, that is nothing uncommon. I think the snow at the end of "The Dead" is like a blanket over the graves of the dead and the frozen waste of death. Yes, therefore I do feel it has a little different connotaion and meaning but perhaps this snow also in "Misery" represents a kind of covering over death in a shell of a person. I believe there was a line in the story to indicate this about Iona. He is technically living but is he really living? He is as the dead, quite cut off from the world of the living; he tries to connect but no one will connect with him or listen to his story but his mare. I will try and look up the exact line or phrase.



Yeah, in "The Trousseau" it's the house that takes up extra meaning. The narrator feels an overwhelming sadness every time he even passes it. "The Trousseau" is an alright story, but I think it takes a little too long to get to the end. You can kind of see where it's going from the beginning, and the action just too slow for me.

I printed out "The Trousseau" last night and I read it again and I found it just seems to hit me in the core of my being. I don't quite know why but the ending is so significant and I feel Chekhov masterfully writes just enough - not too much and not too little. The last lines are perfect. It may be predictable but then again I felt "Misery' was predictable and I notice that Chekhov in both split up the story in segments. I think there were 3 in "Misery" and 3 in "The Trousseau". I liked the imagery in the story of TT...the photos on the wall, one part of the glass cracked, the patterns strewn on the floor, the smell of camphor, the yellowed family portraits....Chekhov shows his adeptness at this type of limited and yet effective detailing. I really think we should discuss this story one of these months. I don't know what you are talking about when you say "it takes a little too long to get to the end" Quark do you have the time span of a 2 yr old? :lol: I found the story flew right by, and I am a super slow reader - when I printed it it only took up only 3 1/2 pages. Come on Quark, bend a little for me.....:nod: I am becoming a real Chekhov devotee. ;), thanks to you. I will keep with this thread - promise. We have tons of stories and tons of time to discuss them. I am enthusiated now.



The visual aids help. It particularly helps with Chekhov as I've mentioned. He's notoriously sparing with the details. Talking about these details, he once wrote, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go of." This strategy does keep the story on track, I guess. Yet, it does so at the expense of our imagination of the scene. A picture or two can help a bit.
Yes, I like them very much. I think I will hunt for some more online. They make this site a bit more interesting and lively. I am a very visual person being an artist. I like to see the way the time period looked.

Onto your next post:


His horse is definitely more receptive to his story than his passengers. Partly this comes from the horse's subservient position, but it also comes from something deeper. The horse suffers from it's own sadness as well. In that first section is a reflection on the mare's past:
I like the way Chekhov makes the horse part of the characters; in the end he is the only one I really care for asside from poor Iona. I think the way in which Chekhov describes the mare if so tender and also witty and whimsical. Now don't laugh, but the last scene in the stable when Iona is confiding in the horse reminds me of the TV show Mr. Ed. I really love horses and I actually liked that corny show. I recall that the main character, can't recall his name was never listened to by humans and Mr. Ed would listen intensely. I wonder if the producers of that show got their ideas from this Chekhov story. ;) :lol: Boy, I have a wild imagination, don't I???
Well, at anyrate what you say about the horse is so true and Chekhov speaks of him as though he were human or another significant character. I love this aspect of this story. Chekhov believes the horse things and muses. I think the story's ending is very endearing although it is sad. Some people would say that it is easier to talk to animals than to humans. Definitely the horse and Iona both suffer isolation and sadness and so find solace in each other's company. I love horses so I love this story.



She is probably lost in thought. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough, from the familiar gray landscapes, and cast into this slough, full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people, is bound to think.

In this passage he shows in a few lines the confusion of a busy city and the isolation one feels among such a throng and crowd of impersonal humans.


The separation plunges the horse into the same depressed and contemplative mood the driver is in. Together, they share the same experience of loss, and the snow cover both of them. We see many instances of their like-mindedness in the story:

Yes, definitely so. Good observation.



It is a long time since Iona and his nag have budged.


The sledge-driver clicks to the horse, cranes his neck like a swan, rises in his seat, and more from habit than necessity brandishes his whip. The mare cranes her neck, too, crooks her stick-like legs, and hesitatingly sets of. . . .


And his little mare, as though she knew his thoughts, falls to trotting.

Good examples - thanks for posting those passages. I like the line that says "cranes his neck like a swan" - the white seems to mimic the snow imagery, as well. Beautiful and poetic writing.


I suppose sympathy is natural from this arrangement, and Iona takes advantage of it at the end. I don't know if the horse gets something out of the deal. I guess some kindness at times. There is one point where a passenger grabs the whip out of Iona's hand because he's not striking the animal hard enough. Of course, this may say more about the passenger than Iona.

I think that does say more about the passenger and also contrasts to the fact that Iona is gentle with the horse. He need not hit him hard with the whip to communicate effectively with the mare - they are of like minds and feelings. I think the animal would enjoy the attention of his master at the end of the story. In this rudimentary way the horse gets satisfaction from Iona - even the soft sound of his voice telling him the tale of his son's death would sooth the horse.


Oh, and in case you were wondering. Yes, Chekhov was an animal lover. I think he wrote one story entirely from the perspective of a dog.

That is marvelous to know. Hey, I like the guy already.:D I didn't know this about Chekhov and like learning more about the author personally. I would love to read that story, from the perspective of the dog. Do you know the name of the story or can you find out?

islandclimber
03-06-2008, 12:14 AM
hey you two.. sorry about taking so long to join the discussion, I got back from California on sunday and have just been busy at work...

anyways... I love reading your posts, analyzing and discussing this story and the manner in which Chekhov writes... it allows me to see things that otherwise I may never have seen, shows things in different lights, exposes different layers of the story, though I do agree that this story is not all that complex, but it seems to have its own layers...

so, I think the story's start is quite interesting as well for the kind of passive depression we find the mare and Iona in, and the imagery he uses to illustrate this... I like that some authors delve deeply into character's thoughts and minds, but with Chekhov it is so fitting and interesting that he uses imagery and external allusions, etc. to give us the feelings and the emotions that must be within the character in so many of his stories, we are invited to place ourselves inside the character, without knowing what he/she is thinking or feeling, chekhov guides us into creating our own feelings and emotions for the characters and does so very well...

"She is probably lost in thought. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough, from the familiar gray landscapes, and cast into this slough, full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people, is bound to think."

This is one of the most interesting parts of the first few paragraphs for me, as I do see it as referring to both the mare, and to people in general... thrown from the life in the country, that at the time was considered somewhat peaceful, idyllic, simple, to the craze and randomness of the city... it makes one think, almost as though chekhov is saying the simplicity of life in the country doesn't allow for creatures such as Dostoevsky's "underground man" or raskolnikov... there is nothing to think of, nothing to be so acutely conscious of, not so much to worry about, but the in the city this all changes and men and animals go mad, become depressed, thinking...

I love as well how chekhov uses the snow to signify oppression and so passively, for the man would not even shake it off if a regular snowdrift fell on him... it is almost a jibe, or something as such, a remonstration with the poor oppressed class, saying they will never stand up for themselves no matter how badly they are treated... same with the horse, and I think that is one of the ways Chekhov likens the man to the horse in this story... that neither will do anything to get out of oppression, he is suggesting somewhat that the poor and oppressed are like subservient animals and will put up with anything and not really care, take it all calmly, with silent depression.. and this is so much a predecessor to the stories such as "creatures that were once men" by Gorky in this as he goes past this to have these impoverished rebel, and the starting point as I see it is Chekhov in stories such as this... (by the way if anyone is interested in a somewhat longer story, Creatures that were once Men by Gorky would be fascinating to discuss....)

as well with regards to snow, I love how so many stories set in petersburg whether by chekhov or others, they show oppression with snow, or heat, it doesn't matter the season, there is always oppression by the weather as though it is directly compared to the general oppression of the russian people by the tsars... but in petersburg there is always something oppressive in the weather, and one always has reason to escape although only the rich ever do...

"But now the shades of evening are falling on the town. The pale light of the street lamps changes to a vivid color, and the bustle of the street grows noisier."

I find this interesting as well, as chekhov uses it to awaken the story from slumber, and it is so true how as the evening darkens the street lamps gain a colour, and the streets grow busy, it is the night approaching... and now the story really begins, now with this new light, depression is overcome by necessity of action, although as Quark said the sadness remains...

and lastly if you have both read "Crime and Punishment" the contrast between the relationship of driver and horse in this story and the driver and horse in Raskolnikov's dream... it is fascinating, sad sad sad, but fascinating to think about...

cheers.. and thank you for starting on this...

Janine
03-06-2008, 12:49 AM
Hello islandclimber, so good to see you have returned. From a mom's point of view let me add, safely. So was climbing great? Hope you had a fabulous time out West. It must have been so pretty.

You are not too late for the discussion. It is going quite well; but it is only the 5th of the month. We still have lots of time for discussing this particular story. Thanks for your compliments and glad the posts helped you to see the story in new perspectives. That is the magic of these discussion groups; we all give each other stimuli and awake ideas we would not have thought of on our own, or if we do think of them and present something, someone else expands further on it, which is quite nice and helpful. We are all here to learn something new.

I wish I could address more of your post right now but I am watching the end of a movie and it is late. I will try and get back to it tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know I read all that you wrote and it is good and observant and I like the things you have pointed out about the story.

islandclimber, I have listened now to almost all of disk one of my audiobook set and I like all the stories. I want to listen tonight to the one you suggested "A Story Without a Title". Kenneth Branagh's narration of this set is quite commendable, and enjoyable to listen to.

I have to go now and will get back to your fine long post tomorrow.

Quark
03-06-2008, 07:15 PM
He is as the dead, quite cut off from the world of the living; he tries to connect but no one will connect with him or listen to his story but his mare. I will try and look up the exact line or phrase.

That's an interesting point. He is separated from humanity in the same way the dead are. I'll look for the line that makes this comparison, too.


I printed out "The Trousseau" last night and I read it again and I found it just seems to hit me in the core of my being...I really think we should discuss this story one of these months. I don't know what you are talking about when you say "it takes a little too long to get to the end" Quark do you have the time span of a 2 yr old? :lol:

"the Trousseau" is an okay story, but like I said it's kind of obvious. It's pretty easy to see where it's going, and when you get there you're sort of underwhelmed. The details in between seem more like repetition than they do like development. Sorry, I don't mean to be a two-year-old. I just think there are better Chekhov stories out there.


I am becoming a real Chekhov devotee. ;), thanks to you. I will keep with this thread - promise. We have tons of stories and tons of time to discuss them. I am enthusiated now.

If you want to run out and get a Chekhov book there are a few I could suggest.


I think that does say more about the passenger and also contrasts to the fact that Iona is gentle with the horse. He need not hit him hard with the whip to communicate effectively with the mare - they are of like minds and feelings.

I'll talk a little bit more about the passengers activeness vs. Iona's gentleness in my next post.


I would love to read that story, from the perspective of the dog. Do you know the name of the story or can you find out?

I believe it's called "Kashtanka."


hey you two.. sorry about taking so long to join the discussion, I got back from California on sunday and have just been busy at work...

Glad you're back islandclimber. Feel free to comment on anything we've said so far.


This is one of the most interesting parts of the first few paragraphs for me, as I do see it as referring to both the mare, and to people in general... thrown from the life in the country, that at the time was considered somewhat peaceful, idyllic, simple, to the craze and randomness of the city... it makes one think, almost as though chekhov is saying the simplicity of life in the country doesn't allow for creatures such as Dostoevsky's "underground man" or raskolnikov... there is nothing to think of, nothing to be so acutely conscious of, not so much to worry about, but the in the city this all changes and men and animals go mad, become depressed, thinking...

That's a good observation. Although, it's probably true that Dostoevsky's characters were self-tormented and the horse's contemplation is caused by something external. It's the change from "familiar gray landscapes" to a city "full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people" that makes the horse thoughtful, and not something within its own personality.

Later in the story, we'll find that this change mirrors Iona's change from happy father to isolated sledge-driver. Also, it foreshadows the rude and abusive passengers we'll meet later.


and this is so much a predecessor to the stories such as "creatures that were once men" by Gorky in this as he goes past this to have these impoverished rebel, and the starting point as I see it is Chekhov in stories such as this... (by the way if anyone is interested in a somewhat longer story, Creatures that were once Men by Gorky would be fascinating to discuss....)

I actually haven't read Gorky, but maybe I'll have to take a look.


as well with regards to snow, I love how so many stories set in petersburg whether by chekhov or others, they show oppression with snow, or heat, it doesn't matter the season, there is always oppression by the weather as though it is directly compared to the general oppression of the russian people by the tsars... but in petersburg there is always something oppressive in the weather, and one always has reason to escape although only the rich ever do...

You're right. I'm trying to remember a happy story being set in St. Petersburg and I'm drawing a blank. Weather, czars, poverty--it probably wasn't a tourist trap in the nineteenth century.


I find this interesting as well, as chekhov uses it to awaken the story from slumber, and it is so true how as the evening darkens the street lamps gain a colour, and the streets grow busy, it is the night approaching... and now the story really begins, now with this new light, depression is overcome by necessity of action, although as Quark said the sadness remains...

Action and passivity play important roles in the story. I'll post something a little more explanatory in my next post.


and lastly if you have both read "Crime and Punishment" the contrast between the relationship of driver and horse in this story and the driver and horse in Raskolnikov's dream... it is fascinating, sad sad sad, but fascinating to think about...

Do you mean the dream where the driver lashes his horse to death? Ugh, that was a gruesome episode.

Quark
03-07-2008, 12:30 AM
Janine and islandclimber, part of my response to your posts is in my previous post on the other page.

Here's a good chunk of text describing the passengers:


Iona looks as his fare and moves his lips. . . . Apparently he means to say something, but nothing comes but a sniff.

"What?" inquires the officer.

Iona gives a wry smile, and straining his throat, brings out huskily: "My son . . . er . . . my son died this week, sir."

"H'm! What did he die of?"

Iona turns his whole body round to his fare, and says:

"Who can tell! It must have been from fever. . . . He lay three days in the hospital and then he died. . . . God's will."

"Turn round, you devil!" comes out of the darkness. "Have you gone cracked, you old dog? Look where you are going!"

"Drive on! drive on! . . ." says the officer. "We shan't get there till to-morrow going on like this. Hurry up!"

The sledge-driver cranes his neck again, rises in his seat, and with heavy grace swings his whip. Several times he looks round at the officer, but the latter keeps his eyes shut and is apparently disinclined to listen. Putting his fare down at Vyborgskaya, Iona stops by a restaurant, and again sits huddled up on the box. . . . Again the wet snow paints him and his horse white. One hour passes, and then another. . . .

Three young men, two tall and thin, one short and hunchbacked, come up, railing at each other and loudly stamping on the pavement with their goloshes.

"Cabby, to the Police Bridge!" the hunchback cries in a cracked voice. "The three of us, . . . twenty kopecks!"

Iona tugs at the reins and clicks to his horse. Twenty kopecks is not a fair price, but he has no thoughts for that. Whether it is a rouble or whether it is five kopecks does not matter to him now so long as he has a fare. . . . The three young men, shoving each other and using bad language, go up to the sledge, and all three try to sit down at once. The question remains to be settled: Which are to sit down and which one is to stand? After a long altercation, ill-temper, and abuse, they come to the conclusion that the hunchback must stand because he is the shortest.

"Well, drive on," says the hunchback in his cracked voice, settling himself and breathing down Iona's neck. "Cut along! What a cap you've got, my friend! You wouldn't find a worse one in all Petersburg. . . ."

"He-he! . . . he-he! . . ." laughs Iona. "It's nothing to boast of!"

"Well, then, nothing to boast of, drive on! Are you going to drive like this all the way? Eh? Shall I give you one in the neck?"

"My head aches," says one of the tall ones. "At the Dukmasovs' yesterday Vaska and I drank four bottles of brandy between us."

"I can't make out why you talk such stuff," says the other tall one angrily. "You lie like a brute."

"Strike me dead, it's the truth! . . ."

"It's about as true as that a louse coughs."

"He-he!" grins Iona. "Me-er-ry gentlemen!"

For all the insults and abuse Iona takes, Iona is grateful just have people around. Yet, even with all the chances he has to unburden himself, he's never successful. Part of the problem lies in the fact that his audience is simply insensitive. They push, insult, and even abuse one other. This isn't limited to Iona, either. One of the passengers complains of a headache and the hunchback responds, "You lie like a brute...It's about as true as that a louse [Iona] cough." Iona, however, has a particularly poor time interacting with the other characters. He's the target of most of the insults, and the other characters shut themselves up against anything he says. The difference between Iona and the others is shown most visibly in their movements. At this point, Iona is slow and graceful, whereas the passengers move violently and are constantly hurrying Iona. Later in the story the roles will change and Iona will be the kinetic one and his company will by falling asleep. But, at every point there's always a visible difference in manner between Iona and the other characters. This another of Chekhov's devices which show the social distance between Iona and the world.

Janine
03-07-2008, 12:57 AM
That's an interesting point. He is separated from humanity in the same way the dead are. I'll look for the line that makes this comparison, too.

Oh, glad you liked the idea. It just miraculously came to me. Thanks. I hope you can find a passage to support it.


"the Trousseau" is an okay story, but like I said it's kind of obvious. It's pretty easy to see where it's going, and when you get there you're sort of underwhelmed. The details in between seem more like repetition than they do like development. Sorry, I don't mean to be a two-year-old. I just think there are better Chekhov stories out there.

Oh...alright then, if you say so....You can be 'the leader', ;)since I am usually 'the leader' in the Lawrence thread. I just thought that story would be interesting to discuss; maybe it is more a feminine view and so it does not appeal to guys. I think 'Misery' was pretty predictable, too. I like 'The Trousseau', because of the way it took place out of doors and then inside the house. I also liked those small curious details and the mother of pearl fan hanging from the belt of the young woman. That made me even more curious. I guess I like stories with little objects and clues and I liked the contrast of the outside of the house to the dingy/stuffy inside. It really made me wonder about these people who lived there.


If you want to run out and get a Chekhov book there are a few I could suggest.

Quark, thanks, but I found one at my library tonight. I can keep it two weeks, renew it and then there still is a grace period of 5 days or so. I can take it back and still get it out again a few days later. It is a huge thick book so I would imagine it contains most of his stories or all of them. I still think I may have a volume of Chekhov around her in my father's old books; it might prove to only be his plays though. I must go on a search and find it soon.


I'll talk a little bit more about the passengers activeness vs. Iona's gentleness in my next post.

OK - you are the Chekhov SS leader, so lead us onto that passage soon.;) I am patient and can wait.


I believe it's called "Kashtanka."

Oh good. I will see if this library book contains that story; if so and it is not too long I will read it.


Glad you're back islandclimber. Feel free to comment on anything we've said so far.

Yeah, definitely...jump in anytime islandclimber. Glad you are back. I was talking to someone today who might also join in. It would be nice to recruit some more participants for this thread.


That's a good observation. Although, it's probably true that Dostoevsky's characters were self-tormented and the horse's contemplation is caused by something external. It's the change from "familiar gray landscapes" to a city "full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people" that makes the horse thoughtful, and not something within its own personality.

Can't comment - I haven't read any Dostoevsky. I might be one of the rare people on this site who has not yet explored his works. Oh well.... so many great books, so little time.:(


Later in the story, we'll find that this change mirrors Iona's change from happy father to isolated sledge-driver. Also, it foreshadows the rude and abusive passengers we'll meet later.

Interesting observation, Quark.


I actually haven't read Gorky, but maybe I'll have to take a look.

Not familiar with him either, sorry. Sounds interesting though.


You're right. I'm trying to remember a happy story being set in St. Petersburg and I'm drawing a blank. Weather, czars, poverty--it probably wasn't a tourist trap in the nineteenth century.

Yes, it is hard to think of a Russian author who does not use the snow image and the isolation. I guess if we had to endure those winters it would come out strongly in our writings. The snow and cold would make for a chilly mood and one of dismal poverty compounds that mood.


Action and passivity play important roles in the story. I'll post something a little more explanatory in my next post.

Definitely - like I said before 'inertia' as the first image of Iona in the sledge with his 'inert' mare companion. I read your next post, Quark, and found what you said good and interesting. I will try and comment on that tomorrow. Thanks for posting those passages. I, in particular, found that scene so annoying with those bruts being so insulting to poor Iona and yet he seemed to snicker and giggle at what they said - he seemed to be taken temporarily away from his own grief which acted as a sort of release for him. The text says that much. I will post more on this idea tomorrow.


Do you mean the dream where the driver lashes his horse to death? Ugh, that was a gruesome episode.

Ugh, that sounds just awful. islandclimber will have to answer this one. I realise the last few posts were directed to him. I just jumped into add a few comments. Hope you don't mind.

islandclimber
03-07-2008, 02:15 PM
yes i meant the dream where the man lashes the horse to death as it can't pull the absurd number of people the drunk has put on it, and the complete indifference most onlookers show.... that is one of the saddest scenes in literature, the descriptions are so vivid and appalling...

and then this story the relationship between horse and driver is so, maybe, pure and beautiful.... it shows the beauty and love chekhov often put into stories, the redemption, however dark and sad they are.... Dostoevsky's redemption was in religion, and what i love about Chekhov is that he finds it in the everyday things in life, the friendship of a horse and a man, a particular movement of nature, etc... for some reason i'm drawing blanks on specific examples, but i am pretty sure many of the chekhov stories i have read have this redemption in simple everyday things, beauty in simplicity and small things.... and this story is a perfect example for the relationship between driver and horse is beautiful...

I agree with both of you, the inertia of the beginning was just suffering for Iona and the mare likewise or so it implies somewhat that they share the same feelings... and interaction is a saving grace for him, however terribly he is treated he is desperate for it, as it deadens the pain, so he doesn't mind being treated abysmally as long as he is not left alone, and I think that is one of the explanations for the coversation and unburdening himself to his mare in the end... he was grateful to interact with people, but was treated so poorly and no one would let him tell his story, let out his sadness, but his mare will, and that is beautiful...

try listening to Mozart's "requiem" while reading this story, it is so beautiful and sad as well, the two together work well...

Janine
03-07-2008, 03:11 PM
yes i meant the dream where the man lashes the horse to death as it can't pull the absurd number of people the drunk has put on it, and the complete indifference most onlookers show.... that is one of the saddest scenes in literature, the descriptions are so vivid and appalling...

and then this story the relationship between horse and driver is so, maybe, pure and beautiful.... it shows the beauty and love chekhov often put into stories, the redemption, however dark and sad they are.... Dostoevsky's redemption was in religion, and what i love about Chekhov is that he finds it in the everyday things in life, the friendship of a horse and a man, a particular movement of nature, etc... for some reason i'm drawing blanks on specific examples, but i am pretty sure many of the chekhov stories i have read have this redemption in simple everyday things, beauty in simplicity and small things.... and this story is a perfect example for the relationship between driver and horse is beautiful...

I agree with both of you, the inertia of the beginning was just suffering for Iona and the mare likewise or so it implies somewhat that they share the same feelings... and interaction is a saving grace for him, however terribly he is treated he is desperate for it, as it deadens the pain, so he doesn't mind being treated abysmally as long as he is not left alone, and I think that is one of the explanations for the coversation and unburdening himself to his mare in the end... he was grateful to interact with people, but was treated so poorly and no one would let him tell his story, let out his sadness, but his mare will, and that is beautiful...

try listening to Mozart's "requiem" while reading this story, it is so beautiful and sad as well, the two together work well...

Hi islandclimber, you put that so well. It is indeed a sad story, but quite lovely, isn't it? The ending is 'pure and beautiful' with the image of man and beast concuring, or man speaking and beast listening intently. Asside from the deep sadness it is a sweet story.

How funny - now we even have music - a soundtrack. ;) We also have the visuals. What else do we need, maybe a little snow?

I like having background music for my stories while I read also. Some work so well with certain texts. There is actually a thread started recently on here asking if one reads with or without music.

It is a busy Friday here so I don't think I can get back to your last post, Quark, until much later. Hang in there.:D I will be back soon.

Janine
03-07-2008, 10:18 PM
Janine and islandclimber, part of my response to your posts is in my previous post on the other page.

Here's a good chunk of text describing the passengers:

Quark,Thanks for posting that part. I didn't repeat it here - everyone can check back to your post. At first when I was reading it I thought - gee, why doesn't poor Iona get upset with these abusive guys. They sure seem to be totally rude and annoying. Then, as I read or listened to it several times, I realised the point was the fact that he was distracted from his grief. I got the idea and why he seemed to welcome their company, even though they were abusive to him. I guess when you don't have anyone to speak to even these bruts would be better than nothing. By concentrating on them he could forget his own all consuming sorrow. I feel this was the entire point that Chekhov was making in this passage and showing us just how emense Iona's sadness was that he would prefer the company of these rude men to his own sorrow. I felt so badly for him in that scene but actually he was worse when left entirely alone. The contrast was quite stark. So below you have expounded on all of this and I agree whole-heartedly. You expressed it well, Quark.


For all the insults and abuse Iona takes, Iona is grateful just have people around. Yet, even with all the chances he has to unburden himself, he's never successful. Part of the problem lies in the fact that his audience is simply insensitive. They push, insult, and even abuse one other. This isn't limited to Iona, either. One of the passengers complains of a headache and the hunchback responds, "You lie like a brute...It's about as true as that a louse [Iona] cough." Iona, however, has a particularly poor time interacting with the other characters. He's the target of most of the insults, and the other characters shut themselves up against anything he says. The difference between Iona and the others is shown most visibly in their movements. At this point, Iona is slow and graceful, whereas the passengers move violently and are constantly hurrying Iona. Later in the story the roles will change and Iona will be the kinetic one and his company will by falling asleep. But, at every point there's always a visible difference in manner between Iona and the other characters. This another of Chekhov's devices which show the social distance between Iona and the world.

Interesting device - in that he does not directly show the all consuming quality of Iona's grief by rather sets up a contrast when Iona takes abuse in order to come out of the grief and find some relief, no matter how short lived or small it be.

Quark
03-07-2008, 10:39 PM
Oh...alright then, if you say so....You can be 'the leader', ;)since I am usually 'the leader' in the Lawrence thread.

Leader? Sounds a bit martial, doesn't it? God, I hope that's not the way people look at me. If anyone is looking for direction from me, I think they're going to end up lost. I was just trying to point out that there are some better Chekhov stories you should consider before you get set on one you just read last night. Here are a few good ones: "The Student", "About Love", "Sleepy", "A Doctor's Visit". All of these stories are often anthologized and represent some of the more popular reads. They're also the subject of a lot of serious criticism due to the stories' complex structure, symbols, and ambiguity. I can PM you with more if you want to talk about next month's story.


maybe it is more a feminine view and so it does not appeal to guys.

Were you saying that "The Trousseau" is more feminine? Or, were you saying that picking stories based on opportunities for discussion is a more feminine approach?


Yeah, definitely...jump in anytime islandclimber. Glad you are back. I was talking to someone today who might also join in. It would be nice to recruit some more participants for this thread.

Speaking of that, I sent out some PMs advertising the thread, but I never got any responses. I'm wondering whether my messages got deleted as spam, or something, since I used some of the same text in all of them. Maybe people were just tacitly informing me that they don't care for Chekhov, too. Who knows? It's good to hear that you're having some success, though. These short story threads are fun to do, and I like it when we can get a lot of opinions.


Can't comment - I haven't read any Dostoevsky. I might be one of the rare people on this site who has not yet explored his works. Oh well.... so many great books, so little time.:(

Gasp. Wow, never? None? Not even a short story? I read Dosdoevsky the way diabetics take insulin, and I think it has similarly life-rejuvenating effects. If you want to experiment, go find Notes from the Underground. Although, maybe you wouldn't like that one. Another story to consider might be Netochka Nezvanova. Either way, they're good books. Wow, no Dosdoevsky.


Definitely - like I said before 'inertia' as the first image of Iona in the sledge with his 'inert' mare companion.

Inertia is a good word for Iona. Like the horse, he's been forced into a situation unnatural for him. Remember he says that his son should be driving and not him. This unusual situation makes him slow to react, and he becomes victimized by the more cheerful and dynamic characters.


yes i meant the dream where the man lashes the horse to death as it can't pull the absurd number of people the drunk has put on it, and the complete indifference most onlookers show.... that is one of the saddest scenes in literature, the descriptions are so vivid and appalling...

I thought the onlookers were sort of sickened by the display. My memory could be off, but I thought one of them even tried to stop the driver. That episode I thought had a lot to do with exposing man's inner-maliciousness, whereas this one is simply about callousness. I think the horse-man relationships in both stories could be an interesting foil for one another, though. One is insanely hurtful and the other is sympathetic and caring.


and then this story the relationship between horse and driver is so, maybe, pure and beautiful.... it shows the beauty and love chekhov often put into stories, the redemption, however dark and sad they are.... Dostoevsky's redemption was in religion, and what i love about Chekhov is that he finds it in the everyday things in life, the friendship of a horse and a man, a particular movement of nature, etc... for some reason i'm drawing blanks on specific examples, but i am pretty sure many of the chekhov stories i have read have this redemption in simple everyday things, beauty in simplicity and small things.... and this story is a perfect example for the relationship between driver and horse is beautiful...

Iona does take comfort in his conversation with the horse, but we're left wondering how satisfying it really is. This is more of the Chekhov ambiguity. We're never really sure whether the conversation Iona is capable of at the end is going to help Iona in any way. It may just be something that temporarily dulls the pain of his loneliness without bring him any closer to real friendship and interaction. I'm not necessarily saying that Iona isn't getting anything out of the conversation at the end, but it's left to wonder what the true value of his talk is. The more pessimistic reading would argue that his talking to the horse is meant to indicate just how low Iona has sunk. The optimistic reading that I'm glad you pointed out reads the ending as a desire-satisfying, happy ending.

Chekhov does this a lot, as you pointed out. He creates these small everyday things which give people pleasure or relief from the low mood that predominates in the sadder stories. Once again, though, there's confusion as to the helpfulness of these things. "Gooseberries" is the story that approaches this topic most. There, we have to wonder whether the country life and the berries are actually generators of happiness, or just opiates that dull peoples senses to the overwhelming sadness around them. I'm not sure whether there's a right answer. It's just a question I think you have to consider when talking about either of the readings.


try listening to Mozart's "requiem" while reading this story, it is so beautiful and sad as well, the two together work well...

That's funny. You're trying to make this more depressing?

Pensive
03-08-2008, 11:17 AM
Uptil now I have read four short stories by Chekhov and even though I liked all of them I wouldn't hesitate even for a moment on choosing Misery as my favourite of them all! A brilliant story about the helplessness of a person not being able to gather even the least bit of sympathy he is looking for from fellow human-beings and eventually finding it in the palms of an animal, his mare. Someone who even if can't speak his way, at least is listening to him.

These are my favourite parts from the story:


. Anyone who has been torn away from the plough, from the familiar gray landscapes, and cast into this slough, full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people, is bound to think.

So true.


A coachman driving a carriage swears at him; a pedestrian crossing the road and brushing the horse's nose with his shoulder looks at him angrily and shakes the snow off his sleeve. Iona fidgets on the box as though he were sitting on thorns, jerks his elbows, and turns his eyes about like one possessed as though he did not know where he was or why he was there.

Just so beautifully described poor miserable condition of Iona. I really wish I knew Russian. The story looks so well-written in the translation, it must be even better in its original shape.


"Are you munching?" Iona asks his mare, seeing her shining eyes. "There, munch away, munch away. . . . Since we have not earned enough for oats, we will eat hay. . . . Yes, . . . I have grown too old to drive. . . . My son ought to be driving, not I. . . . He was a real cabman. . . . He ought to have lived. . . ."

Iona is silent for a while, and then he goes on:

"That's how it is, old girl. . . . Kuzma Ionitch is gone. . . . He said good-by to me. . . . He went and died for no reason. . . . Now, suppose you had a little colt, and you were own mother to that little colt. . . . And all at once that same little colt went and died. . . . You'd be sorry, wouldn't you? . . ."

The little mare munches, listens, and breathes on her master's hands. Iona is carried away and tells her all about it.

And now the end was obviously very sad. The stammering describing Iona's condition pretty well.


I love as well how chekhov uses the snow to signify oppression and so passively, for the man would not even shake it off if a regular snowdrift fell on him... it is almost a jibe, or something as such, a remonstration with the poor oppressed class, saying they will never stand up for themselves no matter how badly they are treated... same with the horse, and I think that is one of the ways Chekhov likens the man to the horse in this story... that neither will do anything to get out of oppression, he is suggesting somewhat that the poor and oppressed are like subservient animals and will put up with anything and not really care, take it all calmly, with silent depression..

Now you put it very well! The symbolism in this story makes one think really.

islandclimber
03-08-2008, 12:10 PM
Welcome to the discussion Pensive.



A coachman driving a carriage swears at him; a pedestrian crossing the road and brushing the horse's nose with his shoulder looks at him angrily and shakes the snow off his sleeve. Iona fidgets on the box as though he were sitting on thorns, jerks his elbows, and turns his eyes about like one possessed as though he did not know where he was or why he was there.

Just so beautifully described poor miserable condition of Iona. I really wish I knew Russian. The story looks so well-written in the translation, it must be even better in its original shape.




"Are you munching?" Iona asks his mare, seeing her shining eyes. "There, munch away, munch away. . . . Since we have not earned enough for oats, we will eat hay. . . . Yes, . . . I have grown too old to drive. . . . My son ought to be driving, not I. . . . He was a real cabman. . . . He ought to have lived. . . ."

Iona is silent for a while, and then he goes on:

"That's how it is, old girl. . . . Kuzma Ionitch is gone. . . . He said good-by to me. . . . He went and died for no reason. . . . Now, suppose you had a little colt, and you were own mother to that little colt. . . . And all at once that same little colt went and died. . . . You'd be sorry, wouldn't you? . . ."

The little mare munches, listens, and breathes on her master's hands. Iona is carried away and tells her all about it.

And now the end was obviously very sad. The stammering describing Iona's condition pretty well.

the very end is quite sad... I agree Pensive... I love the part about Iona "fidgeting on the box as though he were sitting on thorns" as well... it is such a vivid portrayal of the agony and restlessness grief can inspire... (I would love to learn russian as well and read the original language of so many of the country's writers)...

but the ending again, it is quite beautiful, and so sad... but as I mentioned above, Chekhov uses something very simple, very small to kind of show a silver lining one might say (for lack of better term lol)... the mare breathing on Iona's hands as she munches hay and listens... it provides a sense of comfort right in the closing of the story, the warm breath of the mare seems to inspire a degree of warm feeling in me... it seems to say that, though the sadness can't be overcome, it can be beautiful, it can have moments full of compassion, and companionship alongside... and warmth in the heart just not in the mind...

and I agree with you Quark, about the optimistic or pessimistic outlook on the ending, though there is the aforementioned redemption in the compassion between man and horse, one does wonder what good it does if at all... as Chekhov says Iona becomes carried away and tells her all about it... but I still think it does him good, for even without complete understanding, man and animal have a bond, in my opinion, that allows emotion and feeling to pass through... and most of all Iona needed someone, something, to understand what he is feeling... but as Chekhov still points out this doesn't end sadness, maybe not even lessen it, it just allows Iona to not feel as though he is entirely alone in his sadness, that he can share it with someone, and that someone ends up being his mare... sadness alone is desolate and cold and cruel maybe, but sadness when it can be shared I think is quite beautiful and that is why I love the ending of this story..

I thnk "gooseberries" is a great story as well for looking at the question of whether these simple things provide happiness that is real, or just dull the senses to suffering and sadness that is reality... it is a very eastern kind of philosophical question, kind of buddhistic, I wonder what kind of exposure Chekhov had to Buddhism? does anyone know? for Buddhism also says one of the universal facts of existence is suffering or dukka... yet this can be overcome by not grasping at self, but by seeing that even the simplist things are beautiful... until recently, with the new obsession with nounless abstraction in poetry (religious or not), Buddhist poetry was full of the beauties of simple nature... seems kind of like Chekhov... *smile*


same with the pairing of Mozart's "Requiem" with this story, it's that shared sadness... though I do sometimes wonder if bringing music that inspires tears into a story that inspires tears is such a good idea lol...


But, at every point there's always a visible difference in manner between Iona and the other characters. This another of Chekhov's devices which show the social distance between Iona and the world.

Quark i know why Chekhov wants to do this to a degree, but why do you think he wants to make the gulf between Iona and the rest of the world so immense... the people ignore him, are always so different from him in action and word and movement as you said, and this creates a gulf between them, one that Chekhov makes appear endless and uncrossable... same with the weather won't comfort him, the lights seem to almost make a mockery of his sadness with the brightness and life they breathe into Petersburg, so in opposition to his sadness and the death of his son, they almost try to make him feel more and more alone in his misery... I know the whole point of the story is his misery, but why do you all think Chekhov wants to make his isolation from all humanity and almost all things in the world so complete, so immense?

I find it interesting as welll that Iona finds humanity and compassion in his mare, not in humans...

Janine, please do try something by Dostoevsky, "Notes from the Underground" is perfect, though if you want something a little shorter I always found myself particularly inclined to "Dream of a Ridiculous Man"... Dostoevsky is a wonderful writer, though many have strong opinions for and against him.. I find you either love him or you hate him, there is no in between, just take a look at Nabokov's polemic against him! lol... As Nietszche said Dostoevsky is the only psychologist I ever learned anything from... Chekhov uses the simpleness and the sadness and the beauty of the world and what's in it to create a story interwoven with feelings and ideas... Dostoevsky gets inside the minds of the characters he writes like almost no other writer ever...it is fascinating...

Janine
03-08-2008, 05:58 PM
Leader? Sounds a bit martial, doesn't it? God, I hope that's not the way people look at me. If anyone is looking for direction from me, I think they're going to end up lost.

Wowy - so many new posts. I will try my hardest to catch up with everyone. Give me a little time. I am starting with Quark's and then will go onto Pensive and islandclimber.

Hahaha - I did not mean it to sound martial. Actually, in these threads in order for them to continue successfully it is actually a good thing to have a sort of leader. For a time the young people in Lawrence thread were calling me their 'fearless leader'. I really had to laugh. I certainly don't profess to know it all, but it helps to provide some sort of guidance, I do believe. I told you before this is a 'pet peeve' of mine in the general discussion on the forum; mostly I am referring to the monthly book discussions. Right now if, you go into the Dubliners discussion, you will see it is floundering - sorry to say that, but it is, unless it has picked up today; I have not checked it yet. I can't understand how that discussion does not have any sense of direction or structure; but don't let me go on and on about this. I finally decided to just read a few of the stories in the collection and post a few comments in that thread. How can one discuss all of the stories in "Dubliners" in just one short month? We do much better in here taking one story for each month or in Chekhov with 2 shorter stories a month. ;) Quark, I meant it when I said - you can be the Chekhov leader. It is a responsible job, but someone's got to do it! :lol:



I was just trying to point out that there are some better Chekhov stories you should consider before you get set on one you just read last night. Here are a few good ones: "The Student", "About Love", "Sleepy", "A Doctor's Visit". All of these stories are often anthologized and represent some of the more popular reads. They're also the subject of a lot of serious criticism due to the stories' complex structure, symbols, and ambiguity. I can PM you with more if you want to talk about next month's story.

Quark, you are so quirky sometimes! Yeah, yeah, yeah...and most likely the ones you like, are not in my audiobook collection...nope they aren't! :bawling: Ok, so now I will checking my library (very thick) book, which contains VII volumes of C's tales and I can only find one of these stories; that is, if the name is altered to "Sleephead", there might be one. Is that the same story, by any chance? I see "The Doctor", "The Assistent" but not "The Student; and I also see "Passion", but not "About Love"...could something be lost here in the translations? I feel a bit frustrated now. Maybe you should send me a list in a PM, so we can figure this all out. You would think in 7 volumes of C's short stories, some of those stories you mention, would appear. *grrr...frustrated again! grrrr*


Were you saying that "The Trousseau" is more feminine? Or, were you saying that picking stories based on opportunities for discussion is a more feminine approach?

Yes, the story since it involved a young lady hopeful for marriage. You guys seem to like the more guy type stories. I like the feminine ones better. Could be a battle of the sexes here in story choices.;)


Speaking of that, I sent out some PMs advertising the thread, but I never got any responses. I'm wondering whether my messages got deleted as spam, or something, since I used some of the same text in all of them. Maybe people were just tacitly informing me that they don't care for Chekhov, too. Who knows? It's good to hear that you're having some success, though. These short story threads are fun to do, and I like it when we can get a lot of opinions.

Well, I have done that but I have had more success announcing it on other threads. Odd that they did not respond to you at all. Maybe they thought you were a terrorist! :lol: I don't honestly think Chekhov has a huge following. To be quite honest with you, I had to really give him a chance. I was not too sure I really liked his stories at first. I think the Branagh CD's won me over. I liked the way he read and presented them. Also the more I participate in this thread I see more that I did not notice on first readings. I really wanted to support you thread so I am truly trying to love Chekhov but L will still be number one with me. I like other Russian short story authors emensely such as Tolstoy, Turgenev. I have collections from each.


Gasp. Wow, never? None? Not even a short story? I read Dosdoevsky the way diabetics take insulin, and I think it has similarly life-rejuvenating effects. If you want to experiment, go find Notes from the Underground. Although, maybe you wouldn't like that one. Another story to consider might be Netochka Nezvanova. Either way, they're good books. Wow, no Dosdoevsky.

Well, you have to understand that Dosdoevsky is definitely on my 'to be read' list, but I tend to concentrate for awhile - sometimes years - on one author at a time. I know someday, I will get around to Dosdoevsky's writings. I read mainly classics, you know. I don't waste my time on junk at all. I know I would like the physcological aspects of his writings. I have particular ones I wish to start with. For one, Lawrence wrote commentary on several Dostevesky novels, so I thought I would explore those first. But once I do start reading him, I will get into his 'mindset' and want to absorb all he wrote; I know it. I function like that. I get like this from time to time. A few years ago, I read most of what Thomas Hardy wrote and much about the actual man/author. There are a number of authors, I have read extensively, in this way. I guess in this way, I find I delve way further below the surface of what those authors are thinking and getting at in their writings. This fascinates me. No doubt, I may have read one or two Dosevesky short stories in my time....somewhere along my travels in life. You know I am not a young girl anymore. And there is always the old adage - so many books, so little time. We all have to make choices you know....priorities. ;) Well, Quark, cut me a break. I have read a ton of very fine authors in my day. I probably have read some you have not touched yet.


Inertia is a good word for Iona. Like the horse, he's been forced into a situation unnatural for him. Remember he says that his son should be driving and not him. This unusual situation makes him slow to react, and he becomes victimized by the more cheerful and dynamic characters.

Yes, and it is always so unnatural to a parent to think their child dies before they do. I recall in Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" that the death of the oldest son had a huge impact on the family and the story's outcome. One always feels that it is unfair when the young die young and preceed the parent. The parent has a sense of guilt that they should have been the ones that death came to summon to the grave, so this indeed compounds the feelings that Iona is having continually in this story. He mentions this fact several times in the text.


I thought the onlookers were sort of sickened by the display. My memory could be off, but I thought one of them even tried to stop the driver. That episode I thought had a lot to do with exposing man's inner-maliciousness, whereas this one is simply about callousness. I think the horse-man relationships in both stories could be an interesting foil for one another, though. One is insanely hurtful and the other is sympathetic and caring.

Again, I did not read that but it reminds me of a book by Lawrence, "The Plumed Serpent" in which he very explicitly writes of the violence towards animals taking place during a bull-fight. Ugh - it was truly horrid the way in which Lawrence described the animal abuse. I could hardly read the passage, because it was so appalling. I guess he got his idea across, in a very graphic way. I would imagine this horse scene was very similiar. Lawrence also displayed a scene, in "Women in Love", in which Gerald beats his mare at a railway crossing when a train is going by. The brutality is horrendous and shows that man is exerting his power over the horse. It also shows the 'maliciousness of man', so I can relate to this episode, even though I have not read it. The two stories do seem to be a foil for each other - two ends of the spectrum - repect for animals and disrespect and power over them...opposite ideas and poles.




Iona does take comfort in his conversation with the horse, but we're left wondering how satisfying it really is. This is more of the Chekhov ambiguity. We're never really sure whether the conversation Iona is capable of at the end is going to help Iona in any way. It may just be something that temporarily dulls the pain of his loneliness without bring him any closer to real friendship and interaction. I'm not necessarily saying that Iona isn't getting anything out of the conversation at the end, but it's left to wonder what the true value of his talk is. The more pessimistic reading would argue that his talking to the horse is meant to indicate just how low Iona has sunk. The optimistic reading that I'm glad you pointed out reads the ending as a desire-satisfying, happy ending.

I am left feeling two ways - sort of ambivalent. I feel sad and yet, I feel it is a tender moment between man and animal. I am usually a optimist, but the ending is bitter-sweet, and I don't think there is hope that Iona will be satisfied, having not connected to a human being about the death of his son. Therefore, when the story ends, I still feel very sad for him. The contrast of resorting to having to tell his animal, also says a lot, because no human in his world will pay him any mind. I feel in the end, that this story is about 'human isolation' and that is a sad thing indeed.



Chekhov does this a lot, as you pointed out. He creates these small everyday things which give people pleasure or relief from the low mood that predominates in the sadder stories. Once again, though, there's confusion as to the helpfulness of these things. "Gooseberries" is the story that approaches this topic most. There, we have to wonder whether the country life and the berries are actually generators of happiness, or just opiates that dull peoples senses to the overwhelming sadness around them. I'm not sure whether there's a right answer. It's just a question I think you have to consider when talking about either of the readings.

I do like the fine details. Now that I have been exposed to the idea, I look for them right away. I like these tiny clues to make us wonder about the deeper questions and the personalities of the characters. The rest of what you wrote in interesting to me. I will have to take the time to read 'Gooseberries' again - it has been years since I read that story. How odd, I can't even find 'Gooseberries' in this library book, but I do think I have another anthology that includes it.


That's funny. You're trying to make this more depressing?

I usually do the same thing. I like to be synchronised, when I read, so I put on music that matches the overall mood. I own a lot of soundtrack recordings, so often I choose one of those - especially for Shakespeare.

Quark
03-09-2008, 02:00 AM
Welcome to the thread Pensive. I'm glad you liked the story; and, if you think the symbolism and language was good in this story, wait until we read "The Student." One of my favorite lines from that story: "'The past,' he thought, 'is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.' And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered." Stay with us Pensive. We're just getting started here. And, by the way, which stories did you read before? Anything good?

Janine and island, I'm running out of time to respond to your posts which were pretty involved and multi-part. Some interesting ideas, though: Eastern philosophy, ambivalence (borrowing a word from the Dickens discussion), and all the other topics we've brought up. I'll have to write a long post tomorrow.

islandclimber
03-09-2008, 02:50 AM
Quark I just looked back at C&P and you are right... many of the onlookers eventually do become sickened by the display... I think I was remembering the beginning when they all pile on, and he boasts that his horse will pull them or else... and people think it is funny at this point... and then the ambivalence of all as they may be sickened by what happens, but do nothing about it... indifference can be a bitter pill to swallow, and I think Iona finds that as well in this story...

Janine
03-09-2008, 04:09 PM
Hi Pensive and glad you joined this group! I thought you would like these stories and they are short, too.;)
I told everyone in the Lawrence thread why I was absent last night. We had a power failure about 5 PM that lasted for 16 hours - needless to say it was a very cold and windy night - brrrr, also a very dark one. We managed to scare up candles and flashlights and waited for the rooms to get frigid and then we bundled for bed. Unfortunately, sleeping in the cold has caused me to have slight relapse I think with my cold, and if it keeps up, I am definitely going to the doctors tomorrow. I can't take another few weeks of this. The power failure was caused by excessive rain and windstorms. Even today there could be another one - I hope not - but it is still quite windy and the power companies are working overtime to restore all areas. The Eastern US was apparently hard hit with downed trees, etc.

I am glad I am back. I know you have been through this, Pensive, being cut off from computers, electric, heat, etc. Now I can fully appreciate what you go through.

So let me now continue and answer your post.

Quote by Pensive:

Uptil now I have read four short stories by Chekhov and even though I liked all of them I wouldn't hesitate even for a moment on choosing Misery as my favourite of them all! A brilliant story about the helplessness of a person not being able to gather even the least bit of sympathy he is looking for from fellow human-beings and eventually finding it in the palms of an animal, his mare. Someone who even if can't speak his way, at least is listening to him.

Nice way of paraphrasing the story. I fully agree that it is a great story. Since I only had access to my diskman (uses batteries) last night I listened again to the story being narrated and liked it even better second or it might be my third time around. The ending is superb. You pointed out the breath of the animal on the hands of Iona. I just love that image. When listening to the story again I noticed somethings I really liked - images I had not noticed before - that really made the story seem so real - like when Iona and the horse shake off the snow when they get a customer. I can just picture that scene the way Chekhov describes it.


These are my favourite parts from the story:

Many of those were my favorite parts, also. Thanks for taking the time to post them. Oddly enough, this line:

Iona fidgets on the box as though he were sitting on thorns
I noticed that Chekhov used in the 'sitting on thorns', or 'fidgeting on thorns,' part in another of his short stories. I will check it out and see which one. I found it curious that he would use that expression twice, but maybe that was a popular expression in his day (?)


So true. Yes.




Just so beautifully described poor miserable condition of Iona. I really wish I knew Russian. The story looks so well-written in the translation, it must be even better in its original shape.

It must be something to read in the actual language of Russian.


And now the end was obviously very sad. The stammering describing Iona's condition pretty well.

Yes, the stammering was an important thing I believe. In my audiobook this is quite well done and rather implies to me the shyness and the quiet gentle way of Iona; also it may portray his being in such a sad, inert state of mind. I like the fact that Chekhov used this device to tell us something about Iona. It separates him from the others we meet in the story, as well. It keeps him isolated in his own quiet contained world. He seems to me to be a meek man and sweet.



Now you put it very well! The symbolism in this story makes one think really.

It does; I agree.

For now, islandclimber, I will only answer your last part of your post that you directed at me. I did read your entire post and think it is very well expressed and I agree with all you pointed out. Good post!:thumbs_up I will let Quark and Pensive answer the rest today, or whenever they can.

Quote by islandclimber:


Janine, please do try something by Dostoevsky, "Notes from the Underground" is perfect, though if you want something a little shorter I always found myself particularly inclined to "Dream of a Ridiculous Man"... Dostoevsky is a wonderful writer, though many have strong opinions for and against him.. I find you either love him or you hate him, there is no in between, just take a look at Nabokov's polemic against him! lol... As Nietszche said Dostoevsky is the only psychologist I ever learned anything from... Chekhov uses the simpleness and the sadness and the beauty of the world and what's in it to create a story interwoven with feelings and ideas... Dostoevsky gets inside the minds of the characters he writes like almost no other writer ever...it is fascinating...

Thanks for all the suggestions. Someday, no doubt, I will read many of his works, but I was going to start with "The Brothers K" and then probably read "Crime and Punishment" and "The Idiot". At least that was my loosely layed plan for the future. I will consider the books you have suggested though. I guess once I get started reading his works, I will be busy for a couple of years or so. This is how I function with authors you see (I wrote a comment in my post several back). Currently, most of my concentration is on D.H.Lawrence and I am nearly at the end of reading most of what he wrote - but.... then there is the re-reading (which I love to do), discussion groups on two of his main novels, which we are planning spring into summer on this site, and of course, the 8 volumes of Lawrence's letters, some commentary books, and another full biography (opps, actually 2)....can you get the picture?

BUT, you are probably right. One of these days, I should just try to squeeze in one Dostevesky book in order to get my interest going on the author. Perhaps even some short stories would spark my interest. Which ones of those would you recommend, islandclimber?

islandclimber
03-09-2008, 04:50 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. Someday, no doubt, I will read many of his works, but I was going to start with "The Brothers K" and then probably read "Crime and Punishment" and "The Idiot". At least that was my loosely layed plan for the future. I will consider the books you have suggested though. I guess once I get started reading his works, I will be busy for a couple of years or so. This is how I function with authors you see (I wrote a comment in my post several back). Currently, most of my concentration is on D.H.Lawrence and I am nearly at the end of reading most of what he wrote - but.... then there is the re-reading (which I love to do), discussion groups on two of his main novels, which we are planning spring into summer on this site, and of course, the 8 volumes of Lawrence's letters, some commentary books, and another full biography (opps, actually 2)....can you get the picture?

BUT, you are probably right. One of these days, I should just try to squeeze in one Dostevesky book in order to get my interest going on the author. Perhaps even some short stories would spark my interest. Which ones of those would you recommend, islandclimber?

Well, "The Idiot" is my favourite novel of his... both C&P and TBK have better parts, at least philosophically and pyschologically, but "The Idiot" is just such a beautiful story, I love it...

"Notes from the Underground" though is a great start.. it is only a hundred pages or so, and is just a fascinating look into Dostoevsky's world... It is a great intro before you go into the bigger novels, as it introduces you to the pyschology and philosophy that is so prevalent behind them... and it is a wonderful read...

but for something alot shorter, i think in the 30 page range, "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" is quite the story as well, it is much brighter than most Dostoevsky and just incredibly fascinating... If you are interested you could try picking up "Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky"... I know places like amazon and most books stores have it.. his short works are a great start, though they are all 30 pages plus, up to 150 pages... so nothing super short... just amazing though...

I know what you mean about time though... there are so many authors I want to read but I never get started with for I am always in the midst of something else... I keep meaning to read more modern authors, but except for the occasional flirtation lol, i never have the time, or I forget...

as you said, so many books, so little time...

cheers

Quark
03-09-2008, 05:00 PM
A brilliant story about the helplessness of a person not being able to gather even the least bit of sympathy he is looking for from fellow human-beings and eventually finding it in the palms of an animal, his mare. Someone who even if can't speak his way, at least is listening to him.


it just allows Iona to not feel as though he is entirely alone in his sadness, that he can share it with someone, and that someone ends up being his mare... sadness alone is desolate and cold and cruel maybe, but sadness when it can be shared I think is quite beautiful and that is why I love the ending of this story..


I am left feeling two ways - sort of ambivalent. I feel sad and yet I feel it is a tender moment between man and animal. I feel in the end, that this story is about human isolation and that is a sad thing indeed.

Yeah, the misery of this story isn't the grief the father feels for the loss of his son. That's there certainly. But, what's more depressing is the lack of compassion that people feel for Iona. It's his loneliness that is saddening.


it is a very eastern kind of philosophical question, kind of buddhistic, I wonder what kind of exposure Chekhov had to Buddhism?

Well, I can't say for sure whether Chekhov had any contact with Buddhism. I myself have had very little so I really can't comment on the similarity, either. Chekhov lived in western Russia which was typically European in its thinking, though. The gentility spoke French, and many of the styles were German. The Russians had a problematic relationship with their Asian neighbors during the nineteenth century, and I guess a certain resistance to their ideas may have formed.

Much of Chekhov skepticism toward pleasure may have come from his views on industrialism and class. Industrialism created a glut of new goods and made transportation and communication easier; but, it also lead to horrible working conditions and a massive division between rich and poor. The pleasurable results for some were purchased at the expense of others. This weighed heavily on Chekhov, and it effected his writing. Class was another source of Chekhov's doubts about happiness. He believed that the way people work is so degrading that only a middle class which is insulated from it could be happy. For more on this, read "A Doctor's Visit." On top of this there were probably other personal and philosophical reasons for Chekhov's opinion on pleasure. His opinions about society around him may just be symptoms of something deeper, after all.


I know the whole point of the story is his misery, but why do you all think Chekhov wants to make his isolation from all humanity and almost all things in the world so complete, so immense?

It's for effect. The story is meant to be a tear-jerker. Why do you suppose Shakespeare has Richard III kill off so many people? After two you would think the audience would get the idea, but the play just becomes a bloodbath. Shakespeare's adding victim after victim for the same reason Chekhov makes Iona more and more isolated: to heighten the effects of the story and make them last longer for the reader.


Actually, in these threads in oder for them to continue successfully it is actually a good thing to have a sort of leader.

Yeah, that's probably true. But, as far as the story selection goes, we should probably do that democratically.


For a time the young people in Lawrence thread were calling me their 'fearless leader'. I really had to laugh. I certainly don't profess to know it all, but it helps to provide some sort of guidance, I do believe.

They may have been calling you that for your determination as well as your knowledge. You've really taken that discussion through thick and thin.


I told you before this is a 'pet peeve' of mine in the general discussion on the forum; mostly I am referring to the monthly book discussions. Right now if, you go into the Dubliners discussion, you will see it is floundering

There's no good way to do a discussion on Dubliners. Everyone wants to talk about a different story. Literally, people are on the wrong page.


Yeah, yeah, yeah...and most likely the ones you like, are not in my audiobook collection...nope they aren't! :bawling:

I could send you a book, if you want. Or, you could pick up a used one off of Amazon. $4.49 for a complete short stories last time I checked.


Yes, the story since it involved a young lady hopeful for marriage. You guys seem to like the more guy type stories. I like the feminine ones better. Could be a battle of the sexes here in story choices.;)

Hmm, "Sleepy" is about a girl taking care of a child. Babysitting, is that a feminine topic? I'm not good at this. Help me out.


I don't honestly think Chekhov has a huge following. To be quite honest with you, I had to really give him a chance. I was not too sure I really liked his stories at first. I think the Branagh CD's won me over. I liked the way he read and presented them. Also the more I participate in this thread I see more that I did not notice on first readings. I really wanted to support you thread so I am truly trying to love Chekhov but L will still be number one with me.

Oh, I can't scoff enough at this. The reason I started the thread is because I thought Chekhov is a popular, approachable author. I can understand how the Lawrence-centric reader may be slow to warm up to Chekhov--they're very different writers, after all--but that doesn't mean Chekhov isn't popular.


Yes, and it is always so unnatural to a parent to think their child dies before they do. I recall in Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers" that the death of the oldest son had a huge impact on the family and the story's outcome. One always feels that it is unfair when the young die young and preceed the parent. The parent has a sense of guilt that they should have been the ones that death came to summon to the grave, so this indeed compounds the feelings that Iona is having continually in this story. He mentions this fact several times in the text.

That's another good parallel. The sons death in that story has similar effects.


Again, I did not read that but it reminds me of a book by Lawrence and a scene in that book of a bull-fight. Ugh - it was truly horrid the way in which Lawrence described the animal abuse. I could hardly read the passage because it was so appalling

Lawrence can be pretty gross when he wants to be. Even when he's not, though, some of his images are a little weird. He finds a way to make it work somehow. It sort of adds to the mysteriousness in his stories.


I do like the fine details. Now that I have been exposed to the idea I look for them right away. I like these tiny clues to make us wonder about the deeper questions and the personalities of the characters.

With writers who are as stingy with the details as Chekhov, you really have to put a lot of scrutiny on anything that might at first appear as extraneous.

Janine
03-09-2008, 06:37 PM
Yeah, the misery of this story isn't the grief the father feels for the loss of his son. That's there certainly. But, what's more depressing is the lack of compassion that people feel for Iona. It's his loneliness that is saddening.

I did notice these lines near the end, when I listened to the story again last night:


Again he is alone and again there is silence for him. . . . The misery which has been for a brief space eased comes back again and tears his heart more cruelly than ever. With a look of anxiety and suffering Iona's eyes stray restlessly among the crowds moving to and fro on both sides of the street: can he not find among those thousands someone who will listen to him? But the crowds flit by heedless of him and his misery. . . . His misery is immense, beyond all bounds. If Iona's heart were to burst and his misery to flow out, it would flood the whole world, it seems, but yet it is not seen. It has found a hiding-place in such an insignificant shell that one would not have found it with a candle by daylight. . . .

I find this passage so interesting as though Chekhov is viewing Iona's misery as though it were his companion, like another character in the story. Of course 'misery' is hardly something one wants to be one with and yet is is like this 'misery' is hidden within Iona and until realised and talked about with another human being, he cannot rid himself of it, or rather accept it and heal and move on from it. He cannot rid himself of it's dire effect upon him. I almost think of the 'misery', Iona's 'misery' as a personification, in this instance. It is an 'evil' thing that hides away inside of the 'insignificant shell' which is Iona, eating away at his fragile life and being. No one seeks it out, or heeds his wanting to tell his story and reveal it. The text goes onto indicate, that if anyone could seek for it, it they would know that it can't be found out, 'as with a candle in daylight' - a beautiful phrase, so meaningful. This last statement I find curious, as well. If Iona were to be able to reveal this secret misery, why would no one be able to seek it out? or does this mean it is too emense for anyone to truly comprehend?


Well, I can't say for sure whether Chekhov had any contact with Buddhism. I myself have had very little so I really can't comment on the similarity, either. Chekhov lived in western Russia which was typically European in its thinking, though. The gentility spoke French, and many of the styles were German. The Russians had a problematic relationship with their Asian neighbors during the nineteenth century, and I guess a certain resistance to their ideas may have formed.


islandclimber, I am also ignornant to this idea and yet it does sound like an interesting theroy. I wonder how exposed Chekhov would have been to Buddhist ideas though. It seems like a long-shot, but I guess all authors can be influenced by all ideas they become exposed to, no matter how remote they may be to us.


Much of Chekhov skepticism toward pleasure may have come from his views on industrialism and class. Industrialism created a glut of new goods and made transportation and communication easier; but, it also lead to horrible working conditions and a massive division between rich and poor. The pleasurable results for some were purchased at the expense of others. This weighed heavily on Chekhov, and it effected his writing. Class was another source of Chekhov's doubts about happiness. He believed that the way people work is so degrading that only a middle class which is insulated from it could be happy. For more on this, read "A Doctor's Visit." On top of this there were probably other personal and philosophical reasons for Chekhov's opinion on pleasure. His opinions about society around him may just be symptoms of something deeper, after all.

This is interesting, Quark, I do wonder where his skepticism and his cynisism at times comes from? I was thinking I should read more about him biographically. I think many of the Russian authors I find difficult because I have not been fully exposed to their history and so I can't always see where the ideas were formed. What you have layed out in this paragraph makes a lot of sense to me. I find this part helpful and intersting.




It's for effect. The story is meant to be a tear-jerker. Why do you suppose Shakespeare has Richard III kill off so many people? After two you would think the audience would get the idea, but the play just becomes a bloodbath. Shakespeare's adding victim after victim for the same reason Chekhov makes Iona more and more isolated: to heighten the effects of the story and make them last longer for the reader.

Wow, someone mentions one of my favoritie of the Shakespeare plays - Richard III; I am nearly as fascinated with Richard III as I am with Hamlet. Interesting play and character. It is not nearly the blood-bath that is in Titus or in MacBeth, in my opinion, but it is excessive and yet Richard never commits one of the murders - he has his henchmen do it all and he works totally by manipulating people. Actually, Hamlet kills more people than Richard ever does, technically speaking, within the bounds of the play. But, like Shakespeare and also like Lawrence, the 'repetition' is used to drive home the point and to take the reader through various stages towards the ending. If you notice in Chekhov, as in Lawrence short stories, there are often 3 parts to the story, sometimes more. There are definite divisions and each part may have some forms of repetition, but altered in someway, to progress to the last part. It is quite brilliant writing and nothing all that new to authors perhaps but it is so well done with C and L, in my opinion, and it helps to build up the story and catches the readers attention as it progresses.

Last night I listened to the entire story, which is longer, much longer, of "In the Ravine". I noticed this story also, was divided up into sections or chapters, as a small novel would be. I liked the story very much, Quark, but I suppose it is too long to discuss on this thread (?). I found it contained more imagery and objects of importance, than many of the shorter short stories and these details intersted me emensely. The story had some defining moments, when one felt a sense of awe and I really was quite impressed. The reading was stellar and kept my interest throughout, and I did not nod off at all; but, that was maybe because I was sleeping in a room with no heat:( . I really wanted to stay for the duration and know the ending. The 'suspense' of the story built up very adeptly over time.


Yeah, that's probably true. But, as far as the story selection goes, we should probably do that democratically.

How? We don't have a poll voting section here. Usually, in Lawrence thread, it is either Virgil or I who do the choosing, since we are the only ones who know the stories. Virgil was busy this month, but I did confer with him on which one to pick out of a choice, since I had spend an evening reading about 6 of them, trying to come up with a good one this time 'round. I am not sure it can be done democratically speaking but we could suggest perhaps and then give opinions. As far as I am concerned you can pick them but it would be nice to concure on them and see if everyone has assess to that particular story. The two you recently mentioned sound quite good and if I have to I will print them from online, provided I can find the text. You might research where to find it and post in this thread. We do that often in the Lawrence thread.



They may have been calling you that for your determination as well as your knowledge. You've really taken that discussion through thick and thin.

Thanks for recognising that, Quark. It does take a lot of work and I am really dedicated to it. I'm very determined to keep that thread running and so far it has payed off. I am proud we have kept it going so long and with so many posts - wow, over 1000 is impressive in under a year's time. I was so happy you noted this fact that day in your post. That was nice.


There's no good way to do a discussion on Dubliners. Everyone wants to talk about a different story. Literally, people are on the wrong page.

There isn't a way, the way in which it is being done in that thread, because one needs a month for each story or possibly 2 stories in one month, no more. It needs it's own continuing thread. The Joyce stories are complex.
Already, I can see people are totally overwhelmed. Oh well, I will post when I can and probably only concentrate on a few of the stories; that is if I find the time this month. Whew, I am too busy!


I could send you a book, if you want. Or, you could pick up a used one off of Amazon. $4.49 for a complete short stories last time I checked.
That is nice of you. Maybe we could make an exchange with the audio CD set copies. Do you have two of the same book or something? or an older one you don't use? Last I looked on Amazon (yesterday) the Chekhov books were through the roof; are you kidding? Some were as high as 35 dollar for a used paperback; I was shocked. Chekhov must have a huge following, just not on this site. But when I saw the prices I said 'forget it'. Maybe I can get one at Barnes and Noble cheaper. Thing is - which collection to buy - there are so many listed on Amazon, you know.




Hmm, "Sleepy" is about a girl taking care of a child. Babysitting, is that a feminine topic? I'm not good at this. Help me out.

So 'Sleephead' is not the same story as 'Sleepy'? I thought like with Lapdog the titles might vary with the translation. I listened to a story last night called 'The Beggar' and it spoke of him saying he claimed to be a student so I wondered if this was also called 'The Student'. I will have to do some online research into this today. Yes, babysitting sounds kind of feminine.:lol:


Oh, I can't scoff enough at this. The reason I started the thread is because I thought Chekhov is a popular, approachable author. I can understand how the Lawrence-centric reader may be slow to warm up to Chekhov--they're very different writers, after all--but that doesn't mean Chekhov isn't popular.

Oh sorry, sorry...I didn't mean for you to take it personally....I was only giving my own opinion and actually my first impressions on the author. I said I have become a convert recently and warmed to the author, yet I don't see too many others here in the thread or Chekhov's name mentioned much in the list of Lit Net participant's favorite authors. I really was talking through my hat, I guess. I don't know what kind of following the man has, but if it is a large one, we need to recruit others for this thread, Quark.
:lol: ;) You pegged me right, 'the Lawrence-centric reader ' :lol: and yes, they are quite different in tone, concept and other aspects, I believe. I think that Chekhov has an 'edge' that Lawrence does not have. I feel with Chekhov he is more critical of the life about him and less sympathetic to the general public. Is this incorrect, do you think. or is this accurate? I think there is more 'anger' evident in Chekhov stories. At first, this really turned me off to the author, but now I am trying to understand it, and see his point of view. I don't find Chekhov an enjoyable author to read, personally; I find his stories just so sad and so tonally sad, throughout the story. Some stories don't have a spark of light or happiness about them. I usually do find reading them a bit of a downer, and yet I do like the stories. Again, this is just my feeble opinion and why I have shied away for so long from reading his works. Certainly, Lawrence does not always end on a bright note either, but I find more of nature and things to find joy in in Lawrence's work many times over. I just don't feel this with Chekhov. Perhaps one has to dig deeper and see the tiny little things - like Pensive said - the warm breath of the mare on the hands of Iona.


That's another good parallel. The sons death in that story has similar effects.
Another parellel would be in "Fathers and Sons" by Turgenev, when Bazarov dies and the parents visit their son's grave. They feel this guilt that they should have been the ones to die first. In the natural order of things he should not have be taken by death before they were. It is all wrong for them as it was with Mrs. Morel. The effect in all these cases is a dire one.




Lawrence can be pretty gross when he wants to be. Even when he's not, though, some of his images are a little weird. He finds a way to make it work somehow. It sort of adds to the mysteriousness in his stories.
Absolutely and hard to understand just why sometimes. He is not always too sympathetic to animals either. The image in "The Plumed Serpent" of this horse being gouged to death is appalling - no other word for it, accept maybe obscene. If I had not been determined to continue with the novel, it would be a sure turn-off to completing it, and it came at the very first section of the book - quite shocking. As you just pointed out, somehow Lawrence made it work, even though it was one of the weirdest things I ever read before.



With writers who are as stingy with the details as Chekhov, you really have to put a lot of scrutiny on anything that might at first appear as extraneous.

Exactly. I agree and that is why they become so important.

Janine
03-10-2008, 04:12 PM
Well, "The Idiot" is my favourite novel of his... both C&P and TBK have better parts, at least philosophically and pyschologically, but "The Idiot" is just such a beautiful story, I love it...

You know it is funny, but you, or Quark, mentioned some critics or other authors really coming down hard on Dostevesky work, and one I know of is D.H.Lawrence. I only read part of his criticism, but I don't think he liked some of Dostoiesvsky's work. I actually think he liked "The Idiot" best but I may be wrong...I will have to review his reviews on the author. I have his book in front of me now - Selected Literary Cristicism. I thought I had the article he wrote about D and "The Grand Inquisitor on my hard-drive (scanned it for a friend), but I can't seem to locate it presently. Of course, some of L's review is outdated now, or a bit harsh (to say the least) and 'over-the-top', but still it is quite interesting to hear the other author's take on D's work. Actually, these criticims have me interested since I like to judge for myself.

Hey, islandclimber, have you read any D.H.Lawrence - if you like, 'pyschological' you may very much like Lawrence. We are discussing his "The Blind Man" in the L short story thread. It is a good story.


"Notes from the Underground" though is a great start.. it is only a hundred pages or so, and is just a fascinating look into Dostoevsky's world... It is a great intro before you go into the bigger novels, as it introduces you to the pyschology and philosophy that is so prevalent behind them... and it is a wonderful read...

Oh good, 100 pages is a start. That way I can at least, sample his work, before I dive right in. I will check and see if my library has it. I am not currently emersed in any classics, although I have been trying to listen to the "Frankenstein" tapes, and casually read a second biography (just for my own enjoyment) on Kenneth Branagh. I love the narration of his "Frankenstein" - you are right. It is quite well done. His voice lends itself well to this sort of Gothic horror story. My favorite other narration is his rendition of "Richard III". I have played those CD's so many times now. He plays the role with a tour de force performance. His live performance onstage must have been something fine to see. His Chekhov readings were very impressive; I just wish he had done more C stories or another full set.



but for something alot shorter, i think in the 30 page range, "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" is quite the story as well, it is much brighter than most Dostoevsky and just incredibly fascinating... If you are interested you could try picking up "Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky"... I know places like amazon and most books stores have it.. his short works are a great start, though they are all 30 pages plus, up to 150 pages... so nothing super short... just amazing though...

Yeah, another short one would be good to start with. I can check the library for that as well. I have to go there tonight. Thanks for the suggestions, islandclimber. I can deal with both presently. That would not overwhelm me presently. I will try and fit them in soon.




I know what you mean about time though... there are so many authors I want to read but I never get started with for I am always in the midst of something else... I keep meaning to read more modern authors, but except for the occasional flirtation lol, i never have the time, or I forget...

as you said, so many books, so little time...

cheers

I always seem, or most of the time seem, disappointed in truely modern authors, but that is just me. The thing is there are so many classics, I still want to read, and I never experience disappointment when I read one. I inherited a whole set, of about 25 books, of my fathers - all collected works of the great authors and I have hardly scratched the surface. The good thing about this, is that I can sample various classic authors from different countries and this gives me a broader sense of the great works available. I love to read, but I admit I am not an avid reader - I read so slowly. I need to have a goal and then I will be inspired to read something, this is why I usually stick to one author for a time - this provides a goal and incentive for me and I find it works out well. I feel I am progressing on my Lawrence studies and will be quite versed and informed in his work. Being innately an artist myself, his work especially appeals to me, since it often involves nature or naturalistic elements. I felt the same about Hardy, because his work is pastoral, and yet pychological. 'Pychological' is probably first on my list, so I am sure I would enjoy D's work emormously.

Quark
03-10-2008, 05:54 PM
Of course 'misery' is hardly something one wants to be one with and yet is is like this 'misery' is hidden within Iona and until realised and talked about with another human being, he cannot rid himself of it, or rather accept it and heal and move on from it. He cannot rid himself of it's dire effect upon him. I almost think of the 'misery', Iona's 'misery' as a personification, in this instance. It is an 'evil' thing that hides away inside of the 'insignificant shell' which is Iona, eating away at his fragile life and being.

You think that he will heal if he can express his sadness? I don't know. Is there anything to indicate that? Something tells me that even if he could yell it over a loud speaker he would still be just as down. What would change, though, is that he wouldn't be alone. That seems to be what's eating away at him. He wants sympathy. Chekhov says that, "He wants to describe the funeral, and how he went to the hospital to get his son's clothes. He still has his daughter Anisya in the country. . . . And he wants to talk about her too. . . . Yes, he has plenty to talk about now." It isn't only that he wants to lament about his son passing away. He also wants to talk about his daughter and everything else. I get the idea that he just wants to talk, and his son's death just happens to be the thing on his mind.


This last statement I find curious, as well. If Iona were to be able to reveal this secret misery, why would no one be able to seek it out? or does this mean it is too emense for anyone to truly comprehend?

Others couldn't find his misery with candle by daylight because "It has found a hiding-place in such an insignificant shell" not because it's so immense. I think that's what he means.


This is interesting, Quark, I do wonder where his skepticism and his cynisism at times comes from? I was thinking I should read more about him biographically. I think many of the Russian authors I find difficult because I have not been fully exposed to their history and so I can't always see where the ideas were formed. What you have layed out in this paragraph makes a lot of sense to me. I find this part helpful and intersting.

By all means, read up some on Chekhov. You have a knack, or a skill, or a whatever you want to call it, for biography, and it would help to have someone to answer questions about the person, Chekhov. I only know what I've picked up in introductions or criticism.


If you notice in Chekhov, as in Lawrence short stories, there are often 3 parts to the story, sometimes more.

Hmm, I haven't thought too much about the structure yet. How do you divide this story? I only see two parts: one on the road and the other at the yard.


How? We don't have a poll voting section here. Usually, in Lawrence thread, it is either Virgil or I who do the choosing, since we are the only ones who know the stories.

No, we don't have a poll, although we could get one. I just meant that I do want to hear what stories people are interested in reading. I have my favorites, but they may not appeal to everyone's taste.


That is nice of you. Maybe we could make an exchange with the audio CD set copies. Do you have two of the same book or something? or an older one you don't use? Last I looked on Amazon (yesterday) the Chekhov books were through the roof; are you kidding? Some were as high as 35 dollar for a used paperback;

LitNet has a huge selection of Chekhov titles online, so undoubtedly you'll be able to find whatever story we end up doing there. Amazon does have some cheap used books which have almost all the stories I would think of doing. Here's a good one that sells for $2.49 and up: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0679733752/ref=pd_bbs_olp_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205185302&sr=8-12. I was mulling over just spending $20 or whatever to buy four or five books I could just use as textbooks for people interested in the thread.


So 'Sleephead' is not the same story as 'Sleepy'? I thought like with Lapdog the titles might vary with the translation. I listened to a story last night called 'The Beggar' and it spoke of him saying he claimed to be a student so I wondered if this was also called 'The Student'. I will have to do some online research into this today. Yes, babysitting sounds kind of feminine.:lol:

Sleepyhead and Sleepy are the same story. "The Beggar" is separate from the "The Student" though. I'm using the titles the way they're listed on LitNet. If you're not sure about name, just compare it with the stories here: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/


Oh sorry, sorry...I didn't mean for you to take it personally....I was only giving my own opinion and actually my first impressions on the author.

Ha, no, I wasn't taking it personally. Just being the Chekhov leader and all, I have to defend the author we're reading. You are right that most people do not list Chekhov as one of their favorite authors--there are only two that I know. But, a lot of that comes from the fact that he only wrote short stories and plays. The dominant literary genre is the novel by far, and short stories--like the ones Chekhov wrote--are considered to be an amateurish medium. This is just one of the prejudices of the day, and unfortunately it hurts the reputations of short story writers--even ones that are often considered to be the best at it like Chekhov.

Janine
03-10-2008, 09:42 PM
You think that he will heal if he can express his sadness? I don't know. Is there anything to indicate that? Something tells me that even if he could yell it over a loud speaker he would still be just as down. What would change, though, is that he wouldn't be alone. That seems to be what's eating away at him. He wants sympathy. Chekhov says that, "He wants to describe the funeral, and how he went to the hospital to get his son's clothes. He still has his daughter Anisya in the country. . . . And he wants to talk about her too. . . . Yes, he has plenty to talk about now." It isn't only that he wants to lament about his son passing away. He also wants to talk about his daughter and everything else. I get the idea that he just wants to talk, and his son's death just happens to be the thing on his mind.

Quark, I have to make this speedy, since I went to my library and got a few movies I really want to view tonight - newer ones came in, ones I am dying to see. Yay...and best part is they are free.:D

Well, it is questionable, if Iona could actually begin to heal the wounds of his loss, but I think he would be greatly helped by any human contact. I knew it would be a long shot, that he could ever get over his loss. I don't honestly think he could, but it is amazing how, if a person can talk of it, how different it can become for that person. I knew this lady, whose son was very tragically killed in a car crash with 6 friends. The details were gruesome, in that the car burst into flames. The lady's husband shut down to her and she was a very contained and lonely, being such a reserved person herself, but one day she broke down and told us her story; she revealed all her grief, so to speak. I really could see such a dramatic change in this woman, when she could connect with other people, on a sympathetic and emotional level. It all depends on how much of a connection Iona would make, but the thing is he was employing 'strangers' to listen to his story, and not close 'friends'; therefore, I don't think, in the long run, it would have helped him a great deal. It might have been a quick fix for him or a little bit of temporary relief from his misery, but the grief would always remain with him. How could it be otherwise?
Yes, I agree - the isolation and the aloneness is the main theme of this story and the fact that poor Iona cannot find a shred of relief from his misery from any human being. What does that say about mankind in general. The lack of compassion of the masses perhaps; people too busy and careless to care about a poor soul who carried the weight of such grief in his heart? I think it says much in a universal way.



Others couldn't find his misery with candle by daylight because "It has found a hiding-place in such an insignificant shell" not because it's so immense. I think that's what he means.

Ok, I understand that now. However, it is emense and probably infinite as well. Losses like that of a son or daughter never leave a person and remain until they also go to their grave. I am sure of it. One can never truly get over a loss as emense as that.


By all means, read up some on Chekhov. You have a knack, or a skill, or a whatever you want to call it, for biography, and it would help to have someone to answer questions about the person, Chekhov. I only know what I've picked up in introductions or criticism.

You flatter me too much, Quark; but it is true that I have an avid curiosity about author's lives in relation to their works. I like reading all kinds of biographies in fact and wish I had more time to do so. I love delving far below the mind of these individuals and I become facinated always with their incredibly interesting lives. Yes, you could just call me a snoop. It is like spying and prying into their personal lives and solving a mystery - what makes them tick.;)


Hmm, I haven't thought too much about the structure yet. How do you divide this story? I only see two parts: one on the road and the other at the yard.

Well, what I think I was thinking of was the three sets of strangers he encounters and tries to tell his story to....but then in the beginning and the end would be two other parts when he is alone with only the little mare. So perhaps I would think of the beginning as the introduction, the meeting of three sets of strangers who won't listen to him as the 3 parts and the conclusion, again Iona alone with his mare. If you prefer you could say the story is divided into 5 parts.


No, we don't have a poll, although we could get one. I just meant that I do want to hear what stories people are interested in reading. I have my favorites, but they may not appeal to everyone's taste.

How can we get one if we do separate stories each month unless we just informally settle it between ourselves - we could do that. We could all suggest one and then vote on one informally in the thread. True, that your favorites might not appeal to all of us but we can try some of them and see. What really do we have to loose? I am game for anything you suggest as long as it is not terrifically long and overwhelming or I just can't find the text anywhere.


LitNet has a huge selection of Chekhov titles online, so undoubtedly you'll be able to find whatever story we end up doing there. Amazon does have some cheap used books which have almost all the stories I would think of doing. Here's a good one that sells for $2.49 and up: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0679733752/ref=pd_bbs_olp_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205185302&sr=8-12. I was mulling over just spending $20 or whatever to buy four or five books I could just use as textbooks for people interested in the thread.

Yes, I checked the Chekhov page in Lit Net and there are a lot listed. I don't mind printing them out either - currently I just need a new set of printer cartridges to do so. I print on rough draft and so conserve the ink. I may invest in that book. It looks like a good one and there seems to be a few good ones used that are listed. Thanks for the link. I put that book into my wishlist to order it soon. I wish they listed what stories are in that volume. I will check that link and page again - maybe they do.


Sleepyhead and Sleepy are the same story. "The Beggar" is separate from the "The Student" though. I'm using the titles the way they're listed on LitNet. If you're not sure about name, just compare it with the stories here: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/

Oh good; I thought they might be. I did check "The Student" online and found the text which I have already copied to my hard-drive, and see it is not the same story. That is fine. I have the story now so we could discuss that one if you want to. Both sound good. Maybe for next month - it is a thought.


Ha, no, I wasn't taking it personally. Just being the Chekhov leader and all, I have to defend the author we're reading. You are right that most people do not list Chekhov as one of their favorite authors--there are only two that I know. But, a lot of that comes from the fact that he only wrote short stories and plays. The dominant literary genre is the novel by far, and short stories--like the ones Chekhov wrote--are considered to be an amateurish medium. This is just one of the prejudices of the day, and unfortunately it hurts the reputations of short story writers--even ones that are often considered to be the best at it like Chekhov.

Yes, 'Chekhov leader' ;) :lol: True about him only writing plays and short stories and how most people view that; these authors do get slighted. I, for one, do not think them less of an author by sticking to the short story and play forms, and so I think Chekhov's work is well worth the effort to explore. I liked all the stories, I listened to the other night; true some more than others. I found "In the Ravine" heartbreaking. It was certainly an interesting story though. I think, honestly, it might be harder to accomplish a good short story than a novel. One only has so much time and paper to express so much. The author must be a real artist of sorts to say so much in so few pages. I didn't use to like short stories as well but now I have come to appreciate them more and more. I like Lawrence short stories emensely and have read other authors I felt mastered the art of short stories. Chekhov's work is very impressive and he certainly was a ambitious author of short stories. How many did he write in all? Do you know, Quark ?

Quark
03-11-2008, 11:44 PM
It seems like we're almost done with this story, so I'll post the ending and give everyone one last shot at it before we move on. Iona makes it back to the yard and finds everyone asleep except one half-aware person who asks him for water. The driver makes one last attempt to connect with people:


"May it do you good. . . . But my son is dead, mate. . . . Do you hear? This week in the hospital. . . . It's a queer business. . . ."

Iona looks to see the effect produced by his words, but he sees nothing. The young man has covered his head over and is already asleep. The old man sighs and scratches himself. . . . Just as the young man had been thirsty for water, he thirsts for speech. His son will soon have been dead a week, and he has not really talked to anybody yet . . . . He wants to talk of it properly, with deliberation. . . . He wants to tell how his son was taken ill, how he suffered, what he said before he died, how he died. . . . He wants to describe the funeral, and how he went to the hospital to get his son's clothes. He still has his daughter Anisya in the country. . . . And he wants to talk about her too. . . . Yes, he has plenty to talk about now. His listener ought to sigh and exclaim and lament. . . . It would be even better to talk to women. Though they are silly creatures, they blubber at the first word.

"Let's go out and have a look at the mare," Iona thinks. "There is always time for sleep. . . . You'll have sleep enough, no fear. . . ."

He puts on his coat and goes into the stables where his mare is standing. He thinks about oats, about hay, about the weather. . . . He cannot think about his son when he is alone. . . . To talk about him with someone is possible, but to think of him and picture him is insufferable anguish. . . .

"Are you munching?" Iona asks his mare, seeing her shining eyes. "There, munch away, munch away. . . . Since we have not earned enough for oats, we will eat hay. . . . Yes, . . . I have grown too old to drive. . . . My son ought to be driving, not I. . . . He was a real cabman. . . . He ought to have lived. . . ."

Iona is silent for a while, and then he goes on:

"That's how it is, old girl. . . . Kuzma Ionitch is gone. . . . He said good-by to me. . . . He went and died for no reason. . . . Now, suppose you had a little colt, and you were own mother to that little colt. . . . And all at once that same little colt went and died. . . . You'd be sorry, wouldn't you? . . ."

The little mare munches, listens, and breathes on her master's hands. Iona is carried away and tells her all about it.

So, what did everyone think? Good story? Too sad? The next story is "Oh! The Public" which you can find here: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1140/. I'll start posting on it either tomorrow or Thursday depending on whether there's still discussion on this story.

Janine, I can PM you some more information about books if you want. If you're going to stick with us on the thread, you should get a book one way or another.

Janine
03-12-2008, 01:26 AM
It seems like we're almost done with this story, so I'll post the ending and give everyone one last shot at it before we move on. Iona makes it back to the yard and finds everyone asleep except one half-aware person who asks him for water. The driver makes one last attempt to connect with people:

Ok, thanks for posting that last part of the story.


So, what did everyone think? Good story? Too sad? The next story is "Oh! The Public" which you can find here: http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1140/. I'll start posting on it either tomorrow or Thursday depending on whether there's still discussion on this story.

I liked the story very much. Of course, it was terribly sad, but it was well written, artfully constructed, and very sensitive and I especially liked the ending. I like the line about 'munching and listening, and breathing on his master's hands.' That part was very endearing.

I already listened to 'Oh! The Public' several times, so I am well prepared and I copied the online text to my hard-drive and made a shortcut to my desktop. I am ready to move on, whenever you are.


Janine, I can PM you some more information about books if you want. If you're going to stick with us on the thread, you should get a book one way or another.

Ok, but first I am going to hunt through my books. I just might have a Chekhov book of stories, in my father's old collection. Also I counted the stories in this library book and there were approximately 80 stories in this very thick volume. I asked you how many Chekhov wrote in his lifetime. I can't understand why I don't have the stories available in this book unless some are titled differently in this translation. The book you directed me to on Amazon had a little over 80 stories, so what am I missing here?

Quark, you never did comment or tell me what you thought of my idea of the stories having divisions or section. Here is what I wrote from my last post:


Well, what I think I was thinking of was the three sets of strangers he encounters and tries to tell his story to....but then in the beginning and the end would be two other parts when he is alone with only the little mare. So perhaps I would think of the beginning as the introduction, the meeting of three sets of strangers who won't listen to him as the 3 parts and the conclusion, again Iona alone with his mare. If you prefer you could say the story is divided into 5 parts.

islandclimber
03-12-2008, 01:43 AM
I thought the story was quite good.. quite interesting too...

I have to admit... I do like longer stories better... which is why I'm more inclined to some of Chekhov's works that are a bit longer, though still short stories...

but of the short ones, this is one of my favourites.. like Janine I love the ending, and the way the Mare breathes on Iona's hands, giving him the comfort that no human being possibly could... Only in Chekhov of all the great russian writers do you see humanity finally found in animals, and that is one of the reasons I like his work so much... for Chekhov always seems so disillusioned with people on the whole... there are occasional glimpses of compassion from human to human, and of good and beauty between people, but not often.. he was quite melancholy I believe.. (kind of like me :bawling: )

another part of the ending I found interesting is how he puts it that his son has died "he went and died for no reason"... what do you take from this... he's blaming someone here.. but I don't want to say Chekhov, is... putting a harsh flaw into Iona, one at odds with the rest of his character... it almost seems like Chekhov in making Iona so sad and disillusioned has shown wha it can do to someone, and has him blame his son for dying, as though he just died when he could have avoided it or didn't have to... for there was no reason???? or not,.,... just an idea... I found the wording interesting.... anyhow...
Janine I like your division of the story into five parts, that seems right to me...

Janine
03-12-2008, 02:46 PM
I thought the story was quite good.. quite interesting too...

I second that thought!:)


I have to admit... I do like longer stories better... which is why I'm more inclined to some of Chekhov's works that are a bit longer, though still short stories...

I like a little longer story, as well. I like several we have discussed in Lawrence thread that have been longer. Just curious, islandclimber, have you read 'In The Ravine'? I listened to the CD of that story the other night; I really liked it emensely. I was struck by several incidents, that I can't stop thinking about. I know it is a lot longer and nearly a novella, but I wondered what you thought of it. You said you had read several of the stories that I listed from my set, that being one of them. By the way, I liked the story you recommended - 'Story Without a Title'. I also liked 'Children' - anyone read that one yet?


but of the short ones, this is one of my favourites.. like Janine I love the ending, and the way the Mare breathes on Iona's hands, giving him the comfort that no human being possibly could... Only in Chekhov of all the great russian writers do you see humanity finally found in animals, and that is one of the reasons I like his work so much... for Chekhov always seems so disillusioned with people on the whole... there are occasional glimpses of compassion from human to human, and of good and beauty between people, but not often.. he was quite melancholy I believe.. (kind of like me :bawling: )

This story was excellent and more so being discussed. I saw so much more than I had on my first reading. I like to go back now and listen or read it again. It seems I see more (maybe in between the lines) than I had previously perceived. For a small story there is a lot there. I also love the tenderness expressed by the use of the animal/human connection. I believe that animals have this innate build-in sense that we cannot fully understand and that they do truly connect with us on a deeper level of emotion. Hey, Quark, maybe it is the 'blood consciousness' that Lawrence speaks of so often. Because animals cannot rely on vocabulary and speech they communicate in a far more advanced way than humans can perceive. I really believe that to be true.



another part of the ending I found interesting is how he puts it that his son has died "he went and died for no reason"... what do you take from this... he's blaming someone here.. but I don't want to say Chekhov, is... putting a harsh flaw into Iona, one at odds with the rest of his character... it almost seems like Chekhov in making Iona so sad and disillusioned has shown wha it can do to someone, and has him blame his son for dying, as though he just died when he could have avoided it or didn't have to... for there was no reason???? or not,.,... just an idea... I found the wording interesting....

You know, I found that line interesting, too; I believe he repeats that several times throughout the story, when Iona is trying to talk to the various secondary characters and then with his horse. I do wonder about the meaning or what Chekhov intended by it; Chekhov obviously has been emphasising the statement, since he used the repetition for some appropriate and meaningful reason. I think that it indicates the idea of the futility of death or the way we have no power over death. His father (Iona) sees that he (his son) died for no reason. Soldiers or martyrs would die for a reason, but when someone is ill and dies suddenly like that, I think one does look for a scape-goat (someone to blame) and a reason, but there is none. It is a great frustration in the face of natural death (disease). It is a fact of life that these things do exist and occur, but they are always so hard to understand and to accept. Also, when we see a youth die so suddenly and know not the true cause of his death, I am sure we are faced with the fact of our own 'mortality', and the stark fact that indeed death can knock at anyone's door anytime. I don't mean to be morbid about this, but I think that most likely Iona, is faced with these stark realities and he has no one to confide them to, so turning inward he is harboring a deep misery.


anyhow...
Janine I like your division of the story into five parts, that seems right to me...
Glad you agreed. I sort of think in this vain since we have been doing the Lawrence short stories. He often divides them up into definite parts or stages, too - usually 3.

Quark
03-12-2008, 06:12 PM
I liked the story very much. Of course, it was terribly sad, but it was well written, artfully constructed, and very sensitive and I especially liked the ending. I like the line about 'munching and listening, and breathing on his master's hands.' That part was very endearing.


but of the short ones, this is one of my favourites.. like Janine I love the ending, and the way the Mare breathes on Iona's hands, giving him the comfort that no human being possibly could... Only in Chekhov of all the great russian writers do you see humanity finally found in animals, and that is one of the reasons I like his work so much

The horse really seems to have got to you guys. For me, I actually like the more tragic parts of the story. My favorite part was the end when the last person Iona talks to falls asleep. I thought that was even more callous than the people who abused him. At least with the insulting customers Iona had some company. The last person just takes what he wants from Iona and then ignores him. The line "Iona looks to see the effect produced by his words, but he sees nothing. The young man has covered his head over and is already asleep" was the best. Just the "he sees nothing" is quite powerful.


I asked you how many Chekhov wrote in his lifetime. I can't understand why I don't have the stories available in this book unless some are titled differently in this translation. The book you directed me to on Amazon had a little over 80 stories, so what am I missing here?

Chekhov had a mania for the short story. He wrote hundreds of these things. We won't read them all obviously, so you only need a book with 40 or 50 of the good ones. The collection I pointed to on Amazon has forty, and it has four of the best which I know we have to do.


Quark, you never did comment or tell me what you thought of my idea of the stories having divisions or section. Here is what I wrote from my last post:


Janine I like your division of the story into five parts, that seems right to me...

You'll have to explain to me how you count five. I thought you were arguing for three. Usually, structure is broken up into parts with distinct moods or parts that represent different stages in the development of the plot. What one considers a stage of development or a distinct mood is always a subject for debate, though.


I have to admit... I do like longer stories better... which is why I'm more inclined to some of Chekhov's works that are a bit longer, though still short stories...

We have typically done longer stories on the thread, but this was a good experiment with one of the shorter ones. Next month's story will probably be longer. Hopefully, we'll get done early so people will have time to read.


another part of the ending I found interesting is how he puts it that his son has died "he went and died for no reason"... what do you take from this... he's blaming someone here..

Iona isn't blaming anyone here. If he is, maybe it's God he's blaming. I read that quote as Iona commenting on the randomness and senselessness of his son's death. Characters in tragedies often lament the inscrutability of their misfortune. This is another one of those devices to heighten the sadness of the story. If Iona's son had died for a reason, then he could take comfort in that reason. Without it, there's no solace. He's just left contemplating the death over and over again with no progress because there's no reason behind it. Like I said, this is a commonplace in tragedy. Moby Dick, which Melville tries to frame as the model of all tragedies, has Ahab constantly raving about the inscrutability of the whale which is the agent of fate and Ahab's antagonist. If Ahab could understand the whale, then much of the tragedy would be lost because he then could weigh his options rationally and make an informed decision instead of being the pawn of fate.


I like a little longer story, as well. I like several we have discussed in Lawrence thread that have been longer. Just curious, islandclimber, have you read 'In The Ravine'? I listened to the CD of that story the other night; I really liked it emensely. I was struck by several incidents, that I can't stop thinking about.

That one may be beyond the attention span of the casual reader. It is an enjoyable read, no doubt, but for it's length it doesn't reach the pitch of emotion that stories like "Sleepy" or "About Love" reach, nor does it is cleverly written as stories like "The Student" or "Gooseberries." These stories are easy reads and quite good, so I suggest we take what we can get from the more accessible stories before we move onto to 40 pagers like "In the Ravine." I'm glad you liked that one, though, because that means I think you'll really like the other ones I listed.


This story was excellent and more so being discussed. I saw so much more than I had on my first reading. I like to go back now and listen or read it again. It seems I see more (maybe in between the lines) than I had previously perceived.

Thanks, Janine, you know that's what I want to hear.


Hey, Quark, maybe it is the 'blood consciousness' that Lawrence speaks of so often. Because animals cannot rely on vocabulary and speech they communicate in a far more advanced way than humans can perceive. I really believe that to be true.

Maybe Iona feels comfortable with the "animal grossness" like Maurice. Could be. Maurice and Iona do share something. They both gain something from their losses. Maurice gains that "blood consciousness" we talked about in the Lawrence discussion, and Iona gain the sympathy and gentleness we've talked about in this discussion.


I think that it indicates the idea of the futility of death or the way we have no power over death. His father (Iona) sees that he (his son) died for no reason. Soldiers or martyrs would die for a reason, but when someone is ill and dies suddenly like that, I think one does look for a scape-goat (someone to blame) and a reason, but there is none. It is a great frustration in the face of natural death (disease).

I repeated something like this above. You're right, the pointlessness is a frustration.

Janine
03-13-2008, 01:57 AM
The horse really seems to have got to you guys. For me, I actually like the more tragic parts of the story. My favorite part was the end when the last person Iona talks to falls asleep. I thought that was even more callous than the people who abused him. At least with the insulting customers Iona had some company. The last person just takes what he wants from Iona and then ignores him. The line "Iona looks to see the effect produced by his words, but he sees nothing. The young man has covered his head over and is already asleep" was the best. Just the "he sees nothing" is quite powerful.

Yeah, I guess we are either animal lovers or horse lovers. I can't help but think of the old TV show "Mr. Ed" - was so corny, but I remember as a kid, just loving that horse and the fact that, at least Ed listened to his owner, when no one else would. I also, have a weakness for animal movies, especially horse films and novels such as "Black Beauty" "National Velvet" and "Seabiscuit". I guess I am sentimental that way.
Quark, now you seem to gravitate more to the very deeply sad areas of the story and the tragic. I am a tragic addict myself at times, so I can relate, but in these Chekhov stories all of the story is so sad throughout and the tone being so, I look for any little ray of light I can find. I guess, basically, I am an optimist.
I do definitely agree with you about that scene when the last young man totally ignores him and goes back to sleep. Yes, that is the worst offense of all - being ignored and disregarded entirely, as though you were invisible or your words fell on deaf ears. I also like that line very much - "Iona looks to see the effect produced by his words, but he sees nothing". Yes, that is quite powerful and Chekhov's timing of that phrase is perfect to the story and that particular moment in Iona's existence.


Chekhov had a mania for the short story. He wrote hundreds of these things. We won't read them all obviously, so you only need a book with 40 or 50 of the good ones. The collection I pointed to on Amazon has forty, and it has four of the best which I know we have to do.

Ok, I think I now figured out my book from the library. Many of the stories are much longer and require a number of chapters and I was counting those titles in the index as separate stories so they totaled nearly 80. I still need to search to see if I already do own a Chekhov book. Where I keep my books is dark and I needed a flashlight to read the titles. I found one now so I have to go on the search. I must have a Chekhov book! If not then I will invest in the one you pointed out to me on Amazon. I just hate the steep shipping anymore one pays even on used books. I also got burned once on a used book which came to me moldy smelling. I paid too much for it because it was rare. So far I have gotten along ok without a C book so I think I can come up with the texts online. If not I will then send for that book. I also think the library owns another version of the collected Chekhov stories - the one featuring "The Lady and the Lap Dog" because I recall having that one checked out at one time. That may have the other stories we need. You should email me and tell me ones you will suggest in the future.




You'll have to explain to me how you count five. I thought you were arguing for three. Usually, structure is broken up into parts with distinct moods or parts that represent different stages in the development of the plot. What one considers a stage of development or a distinct mood is always a subject for debate, though.

Well, I suggested that when Iona and the mare were alone - beginning and end of the story could in this case be a sort of introduction and then a conclusion; between were three distinct parts where Iona tried to connect with other human beings to tell his story. Therefore you could say the story is in 3 with introduction and conclusion, or if you prefer 5 parts.
When Chekhov writes longer stories then he splits them up into distinct chapters. There seemed to be a progression in this story almost like it were told as a fable.



We have typically done longer stories on the thread, but this was a good experiment with one of the shorter ones. Next month's story will probably be longer. Hopefully, we'll get done early so people will have time to read.

Definitely so and this month I needed the shorter ones to keep up with everything. I had too many other threads I was involved in simultaneously and then again...there is real life to attend to, you know....;)


Iona isn't blaming anyone here. If he is, maybe it's God he's blaming. I read that quote as Iona commenting on the randomness and senselessness of his son's death. Characters in tragedies often lament the inscrutability of their misfortune. This is another one of those devices to heighten the sadness of the story. If Iona's son had died for a reason, then he could take comfort in that reason. Without it, there's no solace. He's just left contemplating the death over and over again with no progress because there's no reason behind it. Like I said, this is a commonplace in tragedy. Moby Dick, which Melville tries to frame as the model of all tragedies, has Ahab constantly raving about the inscrutability of the whale which is the agent of fate and Ahab's antagonist. If Ahab could understand the whale, then much of the tragedy would be lost because he then could weigh his options rationally and make an informed decision instead of being the pawn of fate.

Yes, perhaps he is blaming God or fate or some unseen evil that took his son from him. Perhaps he cannot name the object of his blame. I believe that and that just adds to his frustration. If there is no reason or closure to his grief he can never find solace or comfort. The misery is like a disease that will eat away at the poor soul.
I like your analogy to Moby Dick although I have never read the book. Yes, I have never read any Melville either - I know, shame on me.:blush: Someday I will get around to reading it. I know it is a great book.


That one may be beyond the attention span of the casual reader. It is an enjoyable read, no doubt, but for it's length it doesn't reach the pitch of emotion that stories like "Sleepy" or "About Love" reach, nor does it is cleverly written as stories like "The Student" or "Gooseberries." These stories are easy reads and quite good, so I suggest we take what we can get from the more accessible stories before we move onto to 40 pagers like "In the Ravine." I'm glad you liked that one, though, because that means I think you'll really like the other ones I listed.

You think so. I found it fascinating. I guess I have a good attention span then. I probably will enjoy "Sleepy and "About Love" if you say they share some similarities. The others you mentioned I am sure will interest me, as well.


Thanks, Janine, you know that's what I want to hear.

Glad you agree and are pleased. See, Quark, you doubted your own leadership skills. You did a good job, to begin with, reviving this thread. :thumbs_up It just takes time to get it established and running smoothly on a monthly basis.:)


Maybe Iona feels comfortable with the "animal grossness" like Maurice. Could be. Maurice and Iona do share something. They both gain something from their losses. Maurice gains that "blood consciousness" we talked about in the Lawrence discussion, and Iona gain the sympathy and gentleness we've talked about in this discussion.

Do you think it is grossness or earthiness or naturalism? I don't think that Lawrence felt his "blood consciousness" was gross at all. I think he felt it was of the natural world, untainted by mind and man in his desire for power in the world such as industrial and captitalism. I do think Iona is comfortable with the animal and the way it lives and he feels an affinity with that world as well. Yes, he gains the gentleness and sympathy from the animal who can sense what Iona is saying and confiding in him. Animals know when a person is upset or in turmoil. I definitely think animals try to sympathise with those emotions. Dogs do so all the time; hey, man's best friend!


I repeated something like this above. You're right, the pointlessness is a frustration.

Exactly. It is a touch thing to accept when there seems to be no reason or no logic to it.

Seems like we covered the story rather thoroughly. It was a good discussion everyone. I enjoyed it very much. I guess we can move onto the next interesting story.


Quark, if you feel inclined to do so, do post something about the next story, so that we can get started soon. When would you want to start to discuss it?

Quark
03-13-2008, 09:25 PM
I guess we can move onto the next interesting story.


Quark, if you feel inclined to do so, do post something about the next story, so that we can get started soon. When would you want to start to discuss it?

Good idea.

The next story is called "Oh! The Public!" The full text of the story can be found here at http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1140/. It begins with the ticket collector, Podtyagin (no idea how that's pronounced), giving himself a pep talk that's filled with the personal changes he'd like to make. Chekhov records the self-starter's thoughts like this:


"HERE goes, I've done with drinking! Nothing. . . n-o-thing shall tempt me to it. It's time to take myself in hand; I must buck up and work. . . You're glad to get your salary, so you must do your work honestly, heartily, conscientiously, regardless of sleep and comfort. Chuck taking it easy. You've got into the way of taking a salary for nothing, my boy -- that's not the right thing . . . not the right thing at all. . . ."

It's unclear whether these first words are spoken out loud, mumbled, or simply thought; but, what does come through is the hope and enthusiasm. The exclamation points, pauses, and even the drawn-out way he says "n-o-thing" all show how jittery he is about this new plan. He certainly wants to reform, but one wonders who whether he's really sure he can change. There's an uncomfortableness that comes through with these words that is beyond just excitement. The rest of the story follows Podtyagin as he applies this plan to his life. He fails. You kind of see it coming, but it's funny, somewhat tragic, and a good read. I hope everyone likes the story...

Janine
03-13-2008, 10:48 PM
Good idea.

The next story is called "Oh! The Public!" The full text of the story can be found here at http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1140/. It begins with the ticket collector, Podtyagin (no idea how that's pronounced), giving himself a pep talk that's filled with the personal changes he'd like to make. Chekhov records the self-starter's thoughts like this:

Good introduction to the story Quark. I am glad I checked in to see if anything had progressed. Thanks for starting the new story off.
I know how to say the name, since I heard it pronounced on my audio cd. I will have to listen again and see if I can tell you, phonetically, how to pronounce it. I am so poor at pronouncing foreign names, especially the Russian ones, I was glad to hear it pronounced for me, for a change.
Good first lines to kick-off the discussion. (notice I used guy expressions, like kick-off. ;) :lol:)



It's unclear whether these first words are spoken out loud, mumbled, or simply thought; but, what does come through is the hope and enthusiasm. The exclamation points, pauses, and even the drawn-out way he says "n-o-thing" all show how jittery he is about this new plan. He certainly wants to reform, but one wonders who whether he's really sure he can change. There's an uncomfortableness that comes through with these words that is beyond just excitement. The rest of the story follows Podtyagin as he applies this plan to his life. He fails. You kind of see it coming, but it's funny, somewhat tragic, and a good read. I hope everyone likes the story...

Of course, on the audio cd, they are spoken aloud so I took it that they were not just interior thoughts. Also they seem to be delivered with so much animation and expression that I felt they were spoken out loud. I felt that Podtyagin was indeed speaking to himself out loud, with no one else around. Doesn't everyone talk to themselves? I know I do it often. They say it is ok, as long as you don't answer yourself.:lol:
Yes, right away I too wondered about the drawn out way that P spoke certain words; he does indeed, seem 'unsure' of his new convictions. Also, the reading comes off as comical and one senses what will ensue for the ticket collector in the day(s) to come. You just know that 'the best layed plans of mice and men often go astray'...I hope that is the right quote. I enjoyed this story very much, but I will relisten to it and also read the text once again. It was a very good read. :thumbs_up

Pensive
03-14-2008, 06:11 AM
Welcome to the discussion Pensive.
Thanks for the welcome, islandclimber. :)

the very end is quite sad... I agree Pensive... I love the part about Iona "fidgeting on the box as though he were sitting on thorns" as well... it is such a vivid portrayal of the agony and restlessness grief can inspire... (I would love to learn russian as well and read the original language of so many of the country's writers)...
Yes, Russian literature seems like fun. There are so many of them I haven't tried yet but want to.


but the ending again, it is quite beautiful, and so sad... but as I mentioned above, Chekhov uses something very simple, very small to kind of show a silver lining one might say (for lack of better term lol)... the mare breathing on Iona's hands as she munches hay and listens... it provides a sense of comfort right in the closing of the story, the warm breath of the mare seems to inspire a degree of warm feeling in me... it seems to say that, though the sadness can't be overcome, it can be beautiful, it can have moments full of compassion, and companionship alongside... and warmth in the heart just not in the mind...
Heh no problem. The term 'silver lining' quite fits here actually. Yes, the ending was poingnant.


Welcome to the thread Pensive. I'm glad you liked the story; and, if you think the symbolism and language was good in this story, wait until we read "The Student." One of my favorite lines from that story: "'The past,' he thought, 'is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.' And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered." Stay with us Pensive. We're just getting started here. And, by the way, which stories did you read before? Anything good?
Thank you Quark for the warm welcome! I quite plan to visit it now and then (though I daresay I might not be able to take part as a regular).
Wow that's a really meaningful, and true in my opinion. Past and present are so much linked. Just a thought of a memory can make a day go like hell nor it can be let go of. Neat lines.
I read A Classical Student, Joy, Fat and Thin, A Tragic Actor. Oh! The Public and An Enigmatic Nature. I quite enjoyed each but most of all liked Fat and Thin and Oh! The Public because of their idea.

I am glad I am back. I know you have been through this, Pensive, being cut off from computers, electric, heat, etc. Now I can fully appreciate what you go through.
Thank you Janine for being so understanding. :) Yes electricity is a huge problem here these days...

I noticed that Chekhov used in the 'sitting on thorns', or 'fidgeting on thorns,' part in another of his short stories. I will check it out and see which one. I found it curious that he would use that expression twice, but maybe that was a popular expression in his day (?)
Well, In my own language, there is this idiom which exactly means the same thing and is quite common. Writers use it now and then....but here I meant the condition of Iona was remarkably described, in relation to him.

--

Oh and I look forward to discussing Oh! The Public.

Janine
03-14-2008, 02:45 PM
Welcome again Pensive, glad to have you here, even if occasionally. I know you are busy with school. I liked your thorough post today and enjoyed reading what you had to say. I am glad you read the story already.

This could be a SPOILER for those who have not read it yet.

Well, last night I re-read the story. Some things stood out to me, as I let it sink in and thought it over again.
Once again, I can see this story split into 3 distinct sections - three encounters - that Podtyagin has with the sick man/customer; one could also say there is this brief introduction to the story, when Podtyagin is 'alone' and speaking to himself and then a closing/conclusing scene when he is again 'alone' and speaking to himself. Between the time he first approaches the sleeping customer for his ticket, until the third encounter, when he wishes to make some sort of apology, there is a digression into disillussionment. He feels he cannot and it may not be humanly possible to please other people, specifically the customer, his superior and especially the public. Therefore, by that third encounter, Podtyagin has become completely discouraged and 'negative'. The story begins on a 'positive' note and works through the 3 stages, back to what is intimated as the former state of Podtyagin.
I noticed much wit in this story and wryness and cynisicm about the public or general population. Also, in subtle ways the story seems to show how someone, without much to fall back on but his job; he probably is struggling to maintain a living; is discouraged at every turn and so is stuck in the system or in a more universal sense, his forlorn, inert(there is that word again) way of life that he has adopted to shield him from the cruelity and unfairness of the world. There is a sense of 'why even try' in this story.

I will return with some passages I found humorous at the beginning of the story.

I also noticed that the sick man seemed to feign worse illness as the story progresses. I will post some quotes to back that up.

Quark
03-15-2008, 12:14 AM
I will have to listen again and see if I can tell you, phonetically, how to pronounce it.

My guess is P(schwa)d-Tee-yah-gin. Pronounce that with a Russian accent and maybe I'm close. Am I close?


Good first lines to kick-off the discussion. (notice I used guy expressions, like kick-off. ;) :lol:)

The sports lingo is always appreciated, but does this mean that I should be using feminine terminology in the Lawrence discussion. What is the female equivalent of a kickoff? An antique store stop? A flower garden? That part in a chick-flick where the lead woman finally gets the hunky male to notice her? I'll come up with something.


Also they seem to be delivered with so much animation and expression that I felt they were spoken out loud. I felt that Podtyagin was indeed speaking to himself out loud, with no one else around. Doesn't everyone talk to themselves? I know I do it often. They say it is ok, as long as you don't answer yourself.:lol:

Remember that Podtyagin isn't just talking when no one is around. He literally is talking to himself. He's trying to rally whatever resolve he can muster to stop drinking and he's got to convince the part of him that still wants a vodka that it's not worth it. Whether he needs to do this out loud, though, is a matter of interpretation, I guess.


I quite plan to visit it now and then (though I daresay I might not be able to take part as a regular).
Wow that's a really meaningful, and true in my opinion. Past and present are so much linked. Just a thought of a memory can make a day go like hell nor it can be let go of. Neat lines.
I read A Classical Student, Joy, Fat and Thin, A Tragic Actor. Oh! The Public and An Enigmatic Nature. I quite enjoyed each but most of all liked Fat and Thin and Oh! The Public because of their idea.

You'll have to read the rest of that story to find out what brings the student to that conclusion. That really is one of the better ones. Three other stories that are good--and any of these might be next month's read--are "About Love", "A Doctor's Visit", and "Sleepy". The stories you listed are some of the lesser known stories. In fact, I haven't even read "An Enigmatic Nature." If you like Chekhov from those tales, then certainly I think you'll enjoy the usual Chekhov favorites.

In the meantime, feel free to comment on anything in the story or the discussion here.


Once again, I can see this story split into 3 distinct sections - three encounters - that Podtyagin has with the sick man/customer; one could also say there is this brief introduction to the story, when Podtyagin is 'alone' and speaking to himself and then a closing/conclusing scene when he is again 'alone' and speaking to himself. Between the time he first approaches the sleeping customer for his ticket, until the third encounter, when he wishes to make some sort of apology, there is a digression into disillussionment.

This time I do agree with the three-part division of the story. It does move from his initial resolution to the conflict with the passenger to the final disillusionment.


He feels he cannot and it may not be humanly possible to please other people, specifically the customer, his superior and especially the public. Therefore, by that third encounter, Podtyagin has become completely discouraged and 'negative'. The story begins on a 'positive' note and works through the 3 stages, back to what is intimated as the former state of Podtyagin.

Once again, that's good summary. The mood of the story is downwards. I'll try to say more about the mood tomorrow.


I noticed much wit in this story and wryness and cynisicm about the public or general population. Also, in subtle ways the story seems to show how someone, without much to fall back on but his job; he probably is struggling to maintain a living; is discouraged at every turn and so is stuck in the system or in a more universal sense, his forlorn, inert(there is that word again) way of life that he has adopted to shield him from the cruelity and unfairness of the world. There is a sense of 'why even try' in this story.

Yeah, one reading of this story makes Podtygin the victim of the passengers. There's a lot to support this view, but there's also a separate interpretation you can give in which the passengers are the victims of this overly strict ticket collector. Podtygin could be the one in the wrong here. Most people around him think he is. After I read over the story again, I'll post some evidence for both sides on this question of blame and victimization. I'm interested to see what people think about this.


I also noticed that the sick man seemed to feign worse illness as the story progresses. I will post some quotes to back that up.

I also thought he might be exaggerating his symptoms. But, then again, is there anything to show that? It could be that the perspective of the story is leading us to suspect the passenger. We see the passenger as the antagonist, and this may be what heightens our suspicion.

Janine
03-15-2008, 04:12 PM
My guess is P(schwa)d-Tee-yah-gin. Pronounce that with a Russian accent and maybe I'm close. Am I close?

What? Quark,where did you get the 'schwa' part? :lol: Are you Russian? I don't detect that in the narration at all. Of course, Kenneth Branagh is British, but when they narrate these books, they are coached on proper pronounciation and he is quite good at languages; at least, I have detected so in his films. Ok, I am listening to the CD right now with headphones on; it is hard to know exactly how to tell you, how he is pronouncing the name; but here goes. I believe he is saying Pod-te (long e)-yah-gin....g like in 'gift'. Yeh, like if you answered someone for yes and said yah or ya. Maybe I can copy it to MP3 format and send it to you via email....just the one story. A few times I thought he said it Pod-ge-yah-gin, but now I think it is more like the first way I wrote it.



The sports lingo is always appreciated, but does this mean that I should be using feminine terminology in the Lawrence discussion. What is the female equivalent of a kickoff? An antique store stop? A flower garden? That part in a chick-flick where the lead woman finally gets the hunky male to notice her? I'll come up with something.

I have been thinking about that and I think not. Hahaha - I can just imagine what you would come up with, but if you feel inclined to be funny now and then, don't let me interrupt your creative flow. You might say this dicussion is really blooming now! ;) :lol: Or this story is illuminating us...that might be more feminine. :lol:


Remember that Podtyagin isn't just talking when no one is around. He literally is talking to himself. He's trying to rally whatever resolve he can muster to stop drinking and he's got to convince the part of him that still wants a vodka that it's not worth it. Whether he needs to do this out loud, though, is a matter of interpretation, I guess.

Yes, he seems to be quite a talker actually and his best friend is there - himself. He is like a split person - one wanting to abstain and one wanting to have the vodka. This is true enough. Yes, I interpret it as being outloud. He just seems to have that sort of personality to talk to himself. Takes one to know one I think.;)


You'll have to read the rest of that story to find out what brings the student to that conclusion. That really is one of the better ones. Three other stories that are good--and any of these might be next month's read--are "About Love", "A Doctor's Visit", and "Sleepy". The stories you listed are some of the lesser known stories. In fact, I haven't even read "An Enigmatic Nature." If you like Chekhov from those tales, then certainly I think you'll enjoy the usual Chekhov favorites.

All the ones you mention interest me, but unfortunately I read "Sleepy', in my book called 'Sleephead', last night and I found that I really did not like that one, for personal reasons. I am soon to have a grandchild, so that one rather disturbed me and especially before going to sleep. In fact, I could not sleep and instead went on to read part of 'The Kiss', which I think I heard is a famous story by Chekhov. I like it so far. I think I read it years ago, but it is longer, so I don't know if you would consider it for one the stories we will discuss. This library book does not have assess to the others you mentioned, but no doubt, I will find them online. If you could suggest some others, I might have those in this book, or let me send you the list and see if any are good ones. Now I did like the story "Children" emensely - yeah a soon to be grannie would like that one. It was well written and so witty and it was not a morose story. Now I don't know if you would consider that one for one of the discussions. That is both in my book and also on my CD set; I think it is also on this site.



In the meantime, feel free to comment on anything in the story or the discussion here.


This time I do agree with the three-part division of the story. It does move from his initial resolution to the conflict with the passenger to the final disillusionment.

Oh good, Quark, so you can clearly see the divisions? and the regression of poor P back to his former state?

Another thing, I noticed right away about Chekhov's form or writing, is he writes in the present moment. He says things such as 'he starts out walking to the station' (that's not an exact quote). He seems to always write in the present tense, or most of the time, it seems he does so. I think sometimes he does shift back to past-tense. I will check texts, to see if that is true.


Once again, that's good summary. The mood of the story is downwards. I'll try to say more about the mood tomorrow.

Well, that is basically how I saw the story. Ok, that would be great if you would comment on the mood. Thanks.


Yeah, one reading of this story makes Podtygin the victim of the passengers. There's a lot to support this view, but there's also a separate interpretation you can give in which the passengers are the victims of this overly strict ticket collector. Podtygin could be the one in the wrong here. Most people around him think he is. After I read over the story again, I'll post some evidence for both sides on this question of blame and victimization. I'm interested to see what people think about this.

Podtyagon could be in the wrong, but I don't think seriously he is. It is merely his job to collect the tickets and he is doing that. When others chime in the whole ordeal is blown up and he is the one they see as the perpetrator. I would think that Chekhov wants us to sympathise with him when this happens, why would he not? The story is basically about P. and he is caught in the middle. Therefore, he experiences only frustration and it seems that Chekhov is big on the theme of 'frustration'. We saw that in the last story.


I also thought he might be exaggerating his symptoms. But, then again, is there anything to show that? It could be that the perspective of the story is leading us to suspect the passenger. We see the passenger as the antagonist, and this may be what heightens our suspicion.

Well, the more morphia he took, the more he seemed to say he was more direly ill. First he had mere rheumatism, and then he hadn't slept in days or something like that, and then lastly he said, after his third dose of morphia, he was dying. I didn't really believe the dying part. He seemed to be exaggerating to me, drawing attention and sympathy to himself. Maybe the guy was not sick at all, but just liked morphia and sleep and attention. He struck me as a disgruntled type of man and not at all co-operative. If he truly wanted to not again be disturbed, he would have just produced his ticket and been done with it.

Quark
03-16-2008, 10:52 PM
I hope everyone had a good weekend. I was out at my parents house, and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to post.


What? Quark,where did you get the 'schwa' part? :lol: Are you Russian? I don't detect that in the narration at all.

I thought the o sound my be pronounced like a schwa, but apparently not. At least I was close. His name is only slightly easier to read than Raskilnokov's friend in Crime and Punishment, Razhusmin or Razsuhmin or something.


All the ones you mention interest me, but unfortunately I read "Sleepy', in my book called 'Sleephead', last night and I found that I really did not like that one, for personal reasons. I am soon to have a grandchild, so that one rather disturbed me and especially before going to sleep.

Sorry about that. I didn't mean to disturb you out of your sleep. The end is quite jarring, but it's supposed to be surprising. We talked about exaggerating for effect in the last story. That's what's going on here. "Sleepy" is about mistaken associations, and Chekhov makes the last mistake so terrible to heighten the feeling. Even if the ending disturbed you, I still think you have to admit that the story is at least well done.


Another thing, I noticed right away about Chekhov's form or writing, is he writes in the present moment. He says things such as 'he starts out walking to the station' (that's not an exact quote). He seems to always write in the present tense, or most of the time, it seems he does so. I think sometimes he does shift back to past-tense. I will check texts, to see if that is true.

That's a good observation. Chekhov presents his stories as moments taken out of life, and he often leaves the past and future to the speculation of the reader.


Podtyagon could be in the wrong, but I don't think seriously he is. It is merely his job to collect the tickets and he is doing that. When others chime in the whole ordeal is blown up and he is the one they see as the perpetrator. I would think that Chekhov wants us to sympathise with him when this happens, why would he not? The story is basically about P. and he is caught in the middle. Therefore, he experiences only frustration and it seems that Chekhov is big on the theme of 'frustration'. We saw that in the last story.


Well, that is basically how I saw the story. Ok, that would be great if you would comment on the mood. Thanks.

These issues of mood and perspective are kind of big, so I'll probably have to make a separate post for each of these. And, being a little tired from the drive, I don't think I can get to them tonight. Tomorrow I'll write more on this.

Janine
03-16-2008, 11:58 PM
I hope everyone had a good weekend. I was out at my parents house, and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to post.

Oh, that's ok. Hope you had a nice time visiting your parents. I was a little tired out this weekend and then I went out tonight for a short while. Now, I am very tired and watching a movie, just thought I should check in here late to see if anything had changed; glad I did.


I thought the o sound my be pronounced like a schwa, but apparently not. At least I was close. His name is only slightly easier to read than Raskilnokov's friend in Crime and Punishment, Razhusmin or Razsuhmin or something.

I think I have avoided Russian novels, for years, for just this reason - the pronouncation of the names really throws me. I was glad to hear a narrator so I could tell how to pronounce them.


Sorry about that. I didn't mean to disturb you out of your sleep. The end is quite jarring, but it's supposed to be surprising. We talked about exaggerating for effect in the last story. That's what's going on here. "Sleepy" is about mistaken associations, and Chekhov makes the last mistake so terrible to heighten the feeling. Even if the ending disturbed you, I still think you have to admit that the story is at least well done.

Oh, it did not keep me awake, because I read something after, so I would not dwell on it. I thought the story was very well written, but I just don't care to read it again. That is a personal thing. I guess 'In the Ravine' also had that disturbing scene that involved a child, as well. Hey, I bought the DVD of "Rosemary's Baby" and I won't even watch it, until my grand-daughter is safely born. "Sleepy" was good and sort of stream of consciousness, with the girl's mind going off into dream-like sequences or remembrances - that was quite different for Chekhov, I thought - it involved 'the past'. Maybe we can do it much later on, but not now, if you don't mind. I really did like 'Children', another story - did you ever read it? I printed out the text for 'The Student' and was hoping we could do that one next month. What do you think? We could also do the one your mentioned - was it 'The Doctor'? If you could suggest a few more stories you favor, I will see if this library book has them; at my library is another collection I can also take out. I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble tonight, to see if they had a collection of C's short stories - I thought I had seen a paperback there, not long ago. I became too tired to go and it was late, after my other errands. I will try to check it out later this week. I want to go there anyway.



That's a good observation. Chekhov presents his stories as moments taken out of life, and he often leaves the past and future to the speculation of the reader.

I noticed his use of present tense the minute I read the first story. I felt foreign to this sort of reading but now I am getting more and more used to it. It is an interesting way to present a story...in the minute. I think Lawrence used the device somethings but then switches back to the past tense.


[/QUOTE]These issues of mood and perspective are kind of big, so I'll probably have to make a separate post for each of these. And, being a little tired from the drive, I don't think I can get to them tonight. Tomorrow I'll write more on this.[/QUOTE]

Well, post whatever you can, and whenever you can. I am in no rush and can wait. Break it up into sections of the text, if you want to. Sounds interesting.

Quark
03-17-2008, 10:28 PM
Well, I suppose there's good news Janine. I have a book you can use. It's one that made its way into my collection accidentally. I was in the bookstore (as is my wont) and I was reading their collection of Chekhov stories (also my wont) when suddenly it happened. The coffee cup I was spinning on my finger tipped over and soaked me (not my wont, but it still happens frequently) and a few pages of "A Doctor's Visit" got drenched. I tried very covertly and sleazily to put the book back on the shelf, but just as I got there I made eye contact with the surly owner of the bookstore. At this point I was pretty much backed into a corner. So, I have another Chekhov book available which I can give you. It's pretty good--except for the few pages that are wavy and brown. Do you want it? PM me. Maybe instead, though, I should raffle it off. Or, maybe I could give it away like tickets on radio talk-shows. 9th person to PM me gets a Chekhov book! Either way, I have a book that I could give you. Let me know.


Back to the story, though. I wanted to write something more descriptive of mood, but it gets tedious writing description of every slight variation in feeling. So, I thought I would just do as I've done in the past and represent the mood of the story entirely through emoticons. "Oh! The Public" goes something like this:

:rolleyes: :eek: :( :lol: :( :confused: :( :rolleyes: :brickwall:mad: :cold:

I admit it's a little simplified, but I think it works. The eye roll at the beginning shows how suspect Podtygin's original resolution is. The laughing face captures the humor of the first exchange between him and the invalid. The ending is where I'm not sure. I used the sequence brick wall, mad, and cold to represent Podtygin's frustration and descent into cynicism. There may be better combinations than this, though. What do you guys think?


Janine, I didn't have much to respond to in your last post, although I could argue your last point.

I noticed his use of present tense the minute I read the first story. I felt foreign to this sort of reading but now I am getting more and more used to it. It is an interesting way to present a story...in the minute. I think Lawrence used the device somethings but then switches back to the past tense.

Janine
03-17-2008, 11:04 PM
Well, I suppose there's good news Janine. I have a book you can use. It's one that made its way into my collection accidentally. I was in the bookstore (as is my wont) and I was reading their collection of Chekhov stories (also my wont) when suddenly it happened. The coffee cup I was spinning on my finger tipped over and soaked me (not my wont, but it still happens frequently) and a few pages of "A Doctor's Visit" got drenched. I tried very covertly and sleazily to put the book back on the shelf, but just as I got there I made eye contact with the surly owner of the bookstore. At this point I was pretty much backed into a corner. So, I have another Chekhov book available which I can give you. It's pretty good--except for the few pages that are wavy and brown. Do you want it? PM me. Maybe instead, though, I should raffle it off. Or, maybe I could give it away like tickets on radio talk-shows. 9th person to PM me gets a Chekhov book! Either way, I have a book that I could give you. Let me know.
Was it at a Barnes and Noble in the cafe section? I was there tonight, but refrained from having coffee, so I did not spill any on the new books. I went straight to the classics, to see if they had a copy of the Chekhov short stories. Well, they did, but don't worry, I did not invest in it. It only had 20 of the stories, of which I have now read several of the ones listed, so what good was that and the book was $8 plus tax. I told myself I should just buy it online - the one you had suggested. So now you generously offer me a 'coffee warped' book. Sounds ok to me; I am used to those type from my not too fussy library. My Lawrence short story book is falling appart, but I can't complain because the guy (Amazon seller) I bought one edition of the stories, threw that one in free; it is still fully readable and has no coffee stains or warps either. Thanks, Quark, for the offer. Maybe we can make an exchange, with me sending you the Chekhov CD copies so you can hear the pronounciations that way and you can impress your friends - they will think you Russian, at last. This way what we pay for shipping will be even. I think it will cost about $2., if you ask for 'media mail' and takes about 10 days. I can wait till then. I will speak of the details in PM to you.



Back to the story, though. I wanted to write something more descriptive of mood, but it gets tedious writing description of every slight variation in feeling. So, I thought I would just do as I've done in the past and represent the mood of the story entirely through emoticons. "Oh! The Public" goes something like this:

:rolleyes: :eek: :( :lol: :( :confused: :( :rolleyes: :brickwall:mad: :cold:

I admit it's a little simplified, but I think it works. The eye roll at the beginning shows how suspect Podtygin's original resolution is. The laughing face captures the humor of the first exchange between him and the invalid. The ending is where I'm not sure. I used the sequence brick wall, mad, and cold to represent Podtygin's frustration and descent into cynicism. There may be better combinations than this, though. What do you guys think?
:rolleyes: OMG, I can see your recent trip to your parents has left you 'literarly' impaired.:nod: Quark, are you in a funny mood or what? Using emoticons is certainly an interesting new shortcut to discussing the story. Maybe, I could cut corners, too, and use them in the "Dubliners" discussion - I could have a different emoticon, for each story's outcome. Oh, boy - have we really come to this???:confused: :eek: :bawling: I would say, Q, get some rest and then rethink this post tomorrow. I must admit you are creative. I suppose you are more of a visual learner, and emoticons were readily available. Would Chekhov believe this or not??? I wonder.....:rolleyes: :confused: :eek2:



Janine, I didn't have much to respond to in your last post, although I could argue your last point.

Well, as I said get more sleep and see if there is something worthwhile you might add to it. What did your parents feed you? hummm.......maybe it was the water....

Quark
03-18-2008, 10:52 PM
Quark, are you in a funny mood or what? Using emoticons is certainly an interesting new shortcut to discussing the story. Maybe, I could cut corners, too, and use them in the "Dubliners" discussion - I could have a different emoticon, for each story's outcome. Oh, boy - have we really come to this???

No, I wasn't just trying to be funny. It's also me being lazy and trying to find easy ways to summarize the mood of the story. When I write ":rolleyes: :eek: :( :lol: :( :confused: :( :rolleyes: :brickwall:mad: :cold:", I'm really just saying that the story has a rather low mood punctuated by a few laughs and ends in bitterness. The sterile, impersonal language, the ironic tone, and the cruelty of the plot all contribute to this; but, before we start to ask how the mood is created, I thought I would make sure everyone agreed upon what the mood was. Particularly, I'm interested in how people interpret the ending. I thought the conclusion was quite cold. Podtygin ends up embittered and an unfeeling public has pushed him away. The cold emoticon--laughable as it may be--was the closest I can get to that feeling. Some people may disagree, though. Feel free to correct me.


Oh, and I got creative and made more emoticon strings to represent the other stories we've done.
"Misery"
:yawnb: :( :mad: :( :( :) :( :cold: :bawling:

"The Lady with a Dog"
:) :rolleyes: :( ;) :( :lol: :p :nod: :eek: :brow: :confused: :( :brickwall :( :( ;) :(

"Rothschild's Fiddle"
:rolleyes: :lol: :rolleyes: :( :( :rolleyes: :( :rolleyes: :confused: :) :nod: :( :bawling:

So far there's been a lot of frowny faces. I'll try to pick one of the more optimistic and upbeat stories next month to even things out.


Maybe we can make an exchange, with me sending you the Chekhov CD copies so you can hear the pronounciations that way and you can impress your friends - they will think you Russian, at last. This way what we pay for shipping will be even. I think it will cost about $2., if you ask for 'media mail' and takes about 10 days. I can wait till then. I will speak of the details in PM to you.

I'd be willing to swap.

Janine
03-19-2008, 03:39 PM
Quark, OoooK, I am not about to requote that.....:eek: :eek: :eek: - this is my only answer....ok, do you think we can get back to discussing the story, seriously? No wonder you drive people away, Q.;); is it your short attention span again, Q, or you wanting to liven up these posts with something visual? Hey, can't we find a nice train photo from Russia and the era of the story - what year would that be, Q? I will hunt for one to post. :( And there are many frown faces because it seems we keep reading these totally 'depressing' stories; aren't there any happy ones? I read "The Student" two nights ago and found it a little more uplifting, at least at the end. Of course, it did have it's moments of grief and :bawling: tears. I liked the story - so can we do that one next month?

I decided to ask a few questions about "Oh! The Public".

First off, does anyone think that Podtyagon brings this all on himself? He starts out by saying he will reform, this time. How many times before this, might he have said the same thing? I keep thinking he might be a defeatest type personality and bring on his own fate, by his attitude and actions. I believe the sick man is probably ill, but is exaggerating. The text mentions that he has pillows around him in a train compartment. How can one do so? But also the thought crossed my mind that the sick man was drawing a lot of attention to himself and craved sympathy. Now, when Podtyagon keeps pursuing him for his ticket, even after other customers criticise P for it, he could be subconsciously bringing about his own fate of failure, by ignoring them. In other words, so that in the end his only option is to give up and give in to his drinking habit. I feel he only gives his reform one day and so he says it has failed, afterall, giving up quickly and probably enjoying that he failed. Therefore, I wonder if he is not sanctioning it to end the way the day does end. I don't think in the beginning, he is speaking with great sincerity. If anything, he is trying to convince himself of his new 'convictions' to give up drink and work more efficiently. I doubt he can break his old habits and am convinced of it in the end, when he blames the 'public', for his downfall or backsliding.

Quark
03-19-2008, 10:57 PM
First off, does anyone think that Podtyagon brings this all on himself? He starts out by saying he will reform, this time. How many times before this, might he have said the same thing? I keep thinking he might be a defeatest type personality and bring on his own fate, by his attitude and actions.

Obviously he's having problems reforming since he's having to repeat his resolution over and over again; but, I think we're led to believe that his past failures are similar to the one he suffers in the story itself. We know that in this story he doesn't fail from a lack of effort or a defeatist attitude, so I don't know if we can say that a negative attitude is his problem. I would think that after so many experiences like the one suffers in this story that my attitude would be even more negative than his is. Is he really a defeatist in the action of the story? I would have given up earlier. Perhaps he should have. I think you started to come to this when you wrote:


Now, when Podtyagon keeps pursuing him for his ticket, even after other customers criticise P for it, he could be subconsciously bringing about his own fate of failure, by ignoring them. In other words, so that in the end his only option is to give up and give in to his drinking habit.

The ticket collector is very assertive in the beginning of the story--almost to the point of officiousness. Even when it's incredibly insensitive to ask for tickets, Podtygin confronts the passengers and demands their tickets. His need for reform blinds him to the present reality of the situation, and he becomes a buffoon in the eyes of the passengers. He does this quite consciously, too. In fact, he may be over-conscious of what he's doing. That seems to be his undoing.

As for the invalid, his character is rather questionable. Obviously he is ill but at the same time he is also prone to theatrics. He overreacts to Podtgin's simple request, and his claim that he's dying is a bit of an overstatement. Yet, for all that, he still is quite sick. His coughing probably isn't just histrionics. I don't know much about 19th century trains, but I don't think it's too outrageous to bring a pillow on board of one. These are both pretty good indications of his illness. So, he's half sick and half playing for sympathy.

The uncertainty behind both the invalid's and the ticket collector's behavior creates the ambiguity in this story. We don't know who's at fault. Is Podtygin antagonizing the invalid? Or, are the passengers unfairly persecuting the ticket collector?

Janine
03-20-2008, 04:56 PM
Obviously he's having problems reforming since he's having to repeat his resolution over and over again; but, I think we're led to believe that his past failures are similar to the one he suffers in the story itself. We know that in this story he doesn't fail from a lack of effort or a defeatist attitude, so I don't know if we can say that a negative attitude is his problem. I would think that after so many experiences like the one suffers in this story that my attitude would be even more negative than his is. Is he really a defeatist in the action of the story? I would have given up earlier. Perhaps he should have. I think you started to come to this when you wrote:

I don't exactly agree with this whole paragraph, Quark...some, but not all. First off, he has to repeat his new convictions to himself and he is stuttering, which shows a lack of true confidence, in believing these convictions to be something, he can truly adhere to. I think he is trying desperately to convince himself, at the very beginning of the story, that he can change and change his way of living, if he just stops drinking and 'bucks up' as he puts it and works hard. Apparently, until now he has just been getting by, working the least he can get away with. We don't know exactly the prior situation, but can guess at it and the beginning statements of his, have a comic air about them, and one that we look at askance, and wonder if he can truly pull-off. Ok, so he does his job, as he said he will, and most of the people yield up their tickets willingly. He comes up against one obstacle, basically, the man who says he is so ill. Maybe, he is not ill at all, but likes morphia and just cares to sleep on the train. Ironically he is subdued on morphia, whereas Podtyagen was subdued on alchohol. Ok, so there is a bit of 'irony' in my mind at this point. Does Podtyagen want to be roused out of his usual drunken state, to actually have to do a bit of real work.
I also, think that he is 'irrating' in the way he goes about asking loudly for the tickets. Tickets...please.... the 'please' is also ironic. He is not saying this politely at all. He is being abrasive. "Please" is reminds me of the way Shakespeare refers to Iago in "Othello" -"Good Iago", it being a totally ironic phrase. I felt the whole time he was actually bringing on his own downfall or failure, knowing full well the bottle would await him, when he did get disgusted again with the world. I don't know for certain, if this is what Chekhov intended to conclude, but to me, two things are going on. Podtyagon is stuck in his habitual way of life; today we would might say he is 'stuck in the system' or 'falls through the cracks'. I wonder at the way, in which Chekhov viewed the world in general. He did not seem to have a lot of sympathy for many people in life, not individuals particularly do I refer to, but such as the general public or groups or gatherings of people. He seems to lump them all into one category, and not to see they are also made up of individuals, with their own concerns; it becomes more like a mob mentality. It seems Podtyagon is shown as the 'victim', but is he the victim of others or of himself? This I am still not sure of, but I feel he does contribute to his own downfall or backsliding in the end.


The ticket collector is very assertive in the beginning of the story--almost to the point of officiousness. Even when it's incredibly insensitive to ask for tickets, Podtygin confronts the passengers and demands their tickets. His need for reform blinds him to the present reality of the situation, and he becomes a buffoon in the eyes of the passengers. He does this quite consciously, too. In fact, he may be over-conscious of what he's doing. That seems to be his undoing.

Podtyagon is very assertive, actually very 'aggressive', and there is a difference. He comes off bossy and officious and this can truly turn off other people. They certainly would not be open to him to begin with. His manner is full of authority and command. He does appear to be a buffoon and an irritating being, to be quickly gotten rid of, if possible. He may like being so commanding (lording his power over the customers), and thus it is the cause partly of his undoing. He probably does know how irritating he is being to others and therefore consciously, knows he will in the end fail and have to return to his old vices. It is more comfortable to remain the same than to truly change one's ways, you know.;)




As for the invalid, his character is rather questionable. Obviously he is ill but at the same time he is also prone to theatrics. He overreacts to Podtgin's simple request, and his claim that he's dying is a bit of an overstatement. Yet, for all that, he still is quite sick. His coughing probably isn't just histrionics. I don't know much about 19th century trains, but I don't think it's too outrageous to bring a pillow on board of one. These are both pretty good indications of his illness. So, he's half sick and half playing for sympathy.

The invalid is definitely prone to 'theatrics'. He reminds me of a character in a Hitchcock film. He is so quirky and humorous in ways. I recall seeing one old Hitchcock film, "The Lady Vanishes"; it takes place on a train with quirky characters, such as we encounter on this train. I think these themes are universal in nature and there is humor in them. Just the idea of all those pillows conjured up a humorous and curious image to me immediately. I would do a 'double-take', if I were walking through that train. Why of course, just his appearance would draw attention to him. I think he is ill, but he is also not as ill, as he is making out to be. He wants sympathy from all who see him; and how can one miss him? He is quite a whiner also which is irrating and not too believable, as well.



The uncertainty behind both the invalid's and the ticket collector's behavior creates the ambiguity in this story. We don't know who's at fault. Is Podtygin antagonizing the invalid? Or, are the passengers unfairly persecuting the ticket collector?

I like this 'ambiguity' in the story. I don't like neat or complete endings. I like to wonder at the end and the reason it came about and what will occur next for the characters. This keeps the story going on in one's mind, long after the last word was read. It is much like life and makes the story so much more 'real' and sincere and lifelike. It is brilliant writing, when one is not sure of things throughout the story, or must rely on individual interpretations. Everyone, sees something new and different in a story or novel. We tap into the parts that are meaningful to us, this being due to our own past individual experiences. For me on the reading of the train parts, on I imediately was transported in my own mind, back to a time I had to ride the train to NYC. I recall 'people watching' or the sound of the ticket collector coming up the aisle, even the sound of the train on the rails. I think the story is reminescent to one that Lawrence wrote, entitled 'Tickets, Please'....I also read an account of Lawrence's and his wife's journey on a train, in his one travel novel - I forget exactly which of the three novels it was now, but it also was very reminescent of these scenes on the train and the people who rode them.

I have a particular interest in trains, since my mother's family all worked for the railroad and in-fact, my great-grandfather was an engineer on one of those old vintage trains. I have heard many a story.

Janine
03-20-2008, 10:21 PM
Quark and Islandclimber, Pensive, etc - here are some photos to shake you all into consciousness! Hello, anyone out there??? Just don't miss my last post, Q, being dazzled by these photos.

Two photos of a train station. I think these are turn of the century, so that might be a little later time. Still I find these interesting, and the buildings, no doubt are older.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/RussianTrainStation.jpg


http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/RussianTrainStation2.jpg



Two antique Russian samovars:
http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/02.jpg


http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/1888.jpg

Antique Russian candlestick:
http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/SabbathCandelabraRussianc1840.jpg

Antique Russian key:

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p70/sealace/key3.jpg

Quark
03-20-2008, 11:32 PM
Thanks for the visuals Janine. The train station would look quite similar in the story as it does in that picture. This story was written only fourteen years before the turn of the century, so not much would have changed. Those other items were pretty standard Russian appliances in the day. It's interesting to actually get a look at them, thanks.

Now, you say of Podtygin,

Apparently, until now he has just been getting by, working the least he can get away with.

The conclusion of the story leads us to believe that he started off much like how he ended in this episode. He isn't necessarily lazy. He's just disenchanted with work since it doesn't help him in any way. The action of the story represents one cycle in what we're led to believe is a continuous loop for him. He begins with a resolution that eventually fails and he ends in cynicism and drink.


We don't know exactly the prior situation, but can guess at it and the beginning statements of his, have a comic air about them, and one that we look at askance, and wonder if he can truly pull-off.

Right, immediately we notice how shaky his determination is. At the beginning this does make him suspect, but by the end of the story we realize the reason for the uncertainty. Doesn't the action of the story justify his doubts? Like I make the point above, this probably isn't the first time he's made an idiot of himself in front of train-load of people. I would not feel too confident about my chances of reforming if every time that happened to me.


Ironically he is subdued on morphia, whereas Podtyagen was subdued on alchohol.

I didn't notice that. It's a good observation. Both antagonist and protagonist are both prone to a drugging themselves. This makes both of them even more indistinguishable.


Maybe, he is not ill at all, but likes morphia and just cares to sleep on the train. Ok, so there is a bit of 'irony' in my mind at this point. Does Podtyagen want to be roused out of his usual drunken state, to actually have to do a bit of real work.

You think that both the invalid and the ticket collector are using the misconduct of the public to justify their own shortcomings? It is possible, but probably not likely. Podtygin is persecuted by the public, after all. His lament at the end while being partially his fault is not completely his fault. And, what part is his fault wasn't done intentionally.


I also, think that he is 'irrating' in the way he goes about asking loudly for the tickets. Tickets...please.... the 'please' is also ironic. He is not saying this politely at all. He is being abrasive. "Please" is reminds me of the way Shakespeare refers to Iago in "Othello" -"Good Iago", it being a totally ironic phrase. I felt the whole time he was actually bringing on his own downfall or failure, knowing full well the bottle would await him, when he did get disgusted again with the world.

Yeah, these words aren't said politely at all, although that doesn't mean that they were said intentionally impolitely. We commented earlier on how his first speech is spoken both enthusiastically and apprehensively. That is, that he wants to succeed but knows he cannot. This makes his initial pep-talk comic because his intentions are so divorced from reality and we can tell it just from his tone. In his demand for tickets he uses the same comic tone. Podtygin says in his first speech: "HERE goes, I've done with drinking! Nothing. . . n-o-thing shall tempt me to it." We notice that two characteristic of his early speaking are repetition and o-o-verly stre-e-ssed and elongated sounds. His demand of the passengers sounds similar. He says, "T-t-t-ickets . . . P-p-p-please!...T-t-t-tickets, please!...T-t-tickets, p-p-please!" He says it three times with elongated first sounds. He's applying that same hopelessly optimistic tone that he was using earlier. This isn't evidence that he wants to fail. It's just showing how out of touch the ticket collector must be. Later in the exchange with the invalid he yells, "Don't shout here! This is not a tavern!" He shouts at someone to tell them to stop shouting. Clearly the ticket collector isn't totally with it here. After the first outburst of the invalid Chekhov writes, "Podtyagin considers whether to take offence or not -- and decides to take offence." Podtyagin has to decide whether he's offended or not. Why does he have to decide how he feels? Can't he just react? No, he has to decide based on the completely unrealistic resolution he made earlier in the story, and that seems to be what's making him so out of touch. All of this gives us the image of a willing, even enthusiastic reformer who's very ideas of reform make him unconscious of what's going on around him. None of that, though, makes me think he's intentionally sabotaging himself.


Whew, I thoroughly exhausted myself with that last paragraph. I'll have to answer the rest of your post later. The only other thing I want to say right now is that I'm still not sure about next month's story. I'm getting to it. It will be one from the book I'm giving you, so don't be worried about not having it. I'm sure LitNet will have it, too.

Janine
03-21-2008, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the visuals Janine. The train station would look quite similar in the story as it does in that picture. This story was written only fourteen years before the turn of the century, so not much would have changed. Those other items were pretty standard Russian appliances in the day. It's interesting to actually get a look at them, thanks.

Quark, glad you liked them. I thought the station photos were quite interesting. I hope everyone enjoys them. I liked the objects, since I have read of such in the stories and also other novels, but didn't have a clear idea of just what they looked like - such as the samovars. I think those are quite unique and I also liked the odd looking key.


Now, you say of Podtygin,


The conclusion of the story leads us to believe that he started off much like how he ended in this episode. He isn't necessarily lazy. He's just disenchanted with work since it doesn't help him in any way. The action of the story represents one cycle in what we're led to believe is a continuous loop for him. He begins with a resolution that eventually fails and he ends in cynicism and drink.

Well, disenchantment in the world can breed a sort of laziness or lack of incentive - sort of a 'why even try?' attitude or as we spoke of before in "Misery" a sort of inertia. I would imagine up until this story begins, this is the attitude that Podtyogan has adopted in his daily life. Yes, this story does represent one cycle of in his life - just one day, isn't it? I read last night in a general commentary book about Chekhov, that he liked to simply portray a slice of life and show the reader one little series of events in a person's life or a few individual lives. Also, by doing so he is showing us that this is not the way to live. When he shows the meaness of characters such as are apparent in "Misery" again he is showing us this is wrong; as we read we do feel an outrage for those insensitive characters. In reality I was surprised to find that Chekhov, himself, was actually not a pessimist but very much an optimist. I found this quite interesting, but I am familiar with this device in writing of such sad affairs. Dickens did the same and so did other authors in order to impart the idea that life could indeed be changed and better, if one moved away from their dire situations. This is hard to explain and I think I am doing a poor job here of bringing this idea across. I think by pointing out this attitude that poor Podtyagon is hemmed into one can see there might be other alternatives or one should not live this way. It is not a hopeless story, in other words; maybe so for the character, but not for the reader.
I also, read that this story is a kind of comedy and I guess today we might label it a dark or black comedy of sorts. The beginning and the end do have a comic aspect to them. I laugh now when I hear it read out loud. You have to think how funny he sounds with his way of speaking and his self proclaimed plan for reform.


Right, immediately we notice how shaky his determination is. At the beginning this does make him suspect, but by the end of the story we realize the reason for the uncertainty. Doesn't the action of the story justify his doubts? Like I make the point above, this probably isn't the first time he's made an idiot of himself in front of train-load of people. I would not feel too confident about my chances of reforming if every time that happened to me.

Yes, his determination is shaky and displayed in his words, even the inflection in his voice, so that we are leary and questioning of his convictions, or at least I was.
How do you view the reason for his uncertainity? Do you say, that all who work with the public have this excuse, to not work hard and to drink and give up on life? I don't completely feel 'the action of the story' justifies Podtyagon's doubts or his actions. He has a choice, at one juncture of the story, to pursue the argument with the ill man, or to drop it. He chooses the confrontation. Did you ever work with the public, Quark? Sometimes the worker has to bend or give in, because the public can be quite irritating, to say the least. At times they can be downright hostile - it comes with the job and territory to stay calm and to treat the customer nicely at times, just to avoid a full-blown confrontation. I have worked in retail and I know. They used to have a slogan, 'the customer is always right'. It is sort of like 'innocent until proven quilty'. When Podtyagon pursues the argument with the customer a sort of powerplay ensues between them and the ill man uses his own condition as a sort of power device to acquire sympathy from all around him - in other words he uses this to fight off Podtyagon. Of course he is not playing fairly. So one decision to pursue the argument leads to the people in the coach criticising and condemning Podtyagon for his actions. It now seems the whole world is against him.


I didn't notice that. It's a good observation. Both antagonist and protagonist are both prone to a drugging themselves. This makes both of them even more indistinguishable.

Well, they are actually similar in this way. Basically the story is about 2 characters - these two and there is this powerplay, as I said above, between them.


You think that both the invalid and the ticket collector are using the misconduct of the public to justify their own shortcomings? It is possible, but probably not likely. Podtygin is persecuted by the public, after all. His lament at the end while being partially his fault is not completely his fault. And, what part is his fault wasn't done intentionally.

I don't think I said that the effect of the public on them is what makes them have shortcomings. Is that what you mean? Podtyagon must be very sensitive to let it truly bother him just what the public thinks. It is, afterall, just one day in his life. It is not a momumental moment but he sees it that way. I think because his convictions on stopping his drinking habit are so frail and shaky he is overly sensitive to this situation he finds himself in. I agree - the end is partly his fault and partly not. However he again makes the choice to give up on life, and drown his own existence in a bottle. Both he and the invalid seem to like to get numb to the world around them.


Yeah, these words aren't said politely at all, although that doesn't mean that they were said intentionally impolitely. We commented earlier on how his first speech is spoken both enthusiastically and apprehensively. That is, that he wants to succeed but knows he cannot. This makes his initial pep-talk comic because his intentions are so divorced from reality and we can tell it just from his tone. In his demand for tickets he uses the same comic tone.
Yes, he comes off as rather abrasive and rude in his manor. At least listening to someone read (audiobook) and play out the lines, he is throwing at the public makes it seem so. He is very comical but also quite annoying and loud. Yes, it is true that he is actually divorced from reality in his new set of convictions. One knows perfectly well he will end up not sticking to the new plan.


Podtygin says in his first speech: "HERE goes, I've done with drinking! Nothing. . . n-o-thing shall tempt me to it."

That is pretty funny, if you think about it...."n-o-thing shall tempt me to it." It only takes the space of one day to tempt him back to the old habit of drinking to drown his dissatisfaction and disappointment with the world.



We notice that two characteristic of his early speaking are repetition and o-o-verly stre-e-ssed and elongated sounds. His demand of the passengers sounds similar. He says, "T-t-t-ickets . . . P-p-p-please!...T-t-t-tickets, please!...T-t-tickets, p-p-please!" He says it three times with elongated first sounds. He's applying that same hopelessly optimistic tone that he was using earlier.

Yes, I agree - 'hopelessly optimistic tone' - good way of putting that.



This isn't evidence that he wants to fail.

I don't think consciously he wants to fail but then again I don't think he truly pictures himself succeeding either. His efforts to succeed are pretty minimal. What give his new resolution just one day and then give up? Hardly an effort.



It's just showing how out of touch the ticket collector must be. Later in the exchange with the invalid he yells, "Don't shout here! This is not a tavern!" He shouts at someone to tell them to stop shouting. Clearly the ticket collector isn't totally with it here.

I don't think he is thinking logically or practically at all. As you said he shouts to someone not to shout. I know people who do that and one has to just laugh or shake one's head in dismay.


After the first outburst of the invalid Chekhov writes, "Podtyagin considers whether to take offence or not -- and decides to take offence." Podtyagin has to decide whether he's offended or not.
Well, I talked about this fork in the road in an earlier comment. I feel that at this point Podtyagon took the wrong road if he was to remain on his path to reform. However, from the beginning his odd sort of abrasive tone of enthusiam to undertake his job is a sure sign he will fail. He kind of takes the wrong road from the time he boards the train. It just snowballs and reaches it's height when he confronts the invalid.




Why does he have to decide how he feels? Can't he just react? No, he has to decide based on the completely unrealistic resolution he made earlier in the story, and that seems to be what's making him so out of touch. All of this gives us the image of a willing, even enthusiastic reformer who's very ideas of reform make him unconscious of what's going on around him. None of that, though, makes me think he's intentionally sabotaging himself.

I don't understand your first two questions exactly. I do think he is deciding unrealistically how to answer the invalid. He is annoyed obviously and assumes the man is cheating him not having a ticket. Perhaps the man doesn't have one, who knows. Letting one ticket go probably would not have been a huge offense for Podtyagon but now instead he will bring on himself a worse offense and situation, by opposing this ill passenger. I did not say he was intentionally sabotaging himself but that unconsciously he does not believe he will be successful in his new conviction and therefore he is not helping himself in anyway; therefore, in a sense he is unconsciously or subconsiously sabotaging his success and reform.



Whew, I thoroughly exhausted myself with that last paragraph. I'll have to answer the rest of your post later. The only other thing I want to say right now is that I'm still not sure about next month's story. I'm getting to it. It will be one from the book I'm giving you, so don't be worried about not having it. I'm sure LitNet will have it, too.

Whew, me too...exhausted! I don't know if I can even post anymore today, in this thread. I have to go out soon and will be back later, but I want to watch a movie I bought, and send out e-cards for Easter. It all takes time. I do have some good commentary I came across last night - not on this story but general information about Chekhov and his writing of short stories and sketches. I don't think I will have the time to post those until next week, but I think you will all find it quite interesting. You know me, I like to pursue the author to some extent. Now I am curious about our young Anton Chekhov.

Quark
03-24-2008, 11:39 PM
I've been a little slow these past few days and haven't gotten around to posting--sorry about that. Really, though, there isn't much left to add. We've already talked about both the main characters and the conflict. Let me just respond to Janine and ask one more question before we move on to the next story.


Well, disenchantment in the world can breed a sort of laziness or lack of incentive - sort of a 'why even try?' attitude or as we spoke of before in "Misery" a sort of inertia. I would imagine up until this story begins, this is the attitude that Podtyogan has adopted in his daily life. Yes, this story does represent one cycle of in his life - just one day, isn't it? I read last night in a general commentary book about Chekhov, that he liked to simply portray a slice of life and show the reader one little series of events in a person's life or a few individual lives. Also, by doing so he is showing us that this is not the way to live. When he shows the meaness of characters such as are apparent in "Misery" again he is showing us this is wrong; as we read we do feel an outrage for those insensitive characters. In reality I was surprised to find that Chekhov, himself, was actually not a pessimist but very much an optimist. I found this quite interesting, but I am familiar with this device in writing of such sad affairs. Dickens did the same and so did other authors in order to impart the idea that life could indeed be changed and better, if one moved away from their dire situations. This is hard to explain and I think I am doing a poor job here of bringing this idea across. I think by pointing out this attitude that poor Podtyagon is hemmed into one can see there might be other alternatives or one should not live this way. It is not a hopeless story, in other words; maybe so for the character, but not for the reader.
I also, read that this story is a kind of comedy and I guess today we might label it a dark or black comedy of sorts. The beginning and the end do have a comic aspect to them. I laugh now when I hear it read out loud. You have to think how funny he sounds with his way of speaking and his self proclaimed plan for reform.

His will is rather weak, and he does give in too easily. But, you have to admit that his stubborness and inflexibility are part of what brings about his failure.

I like your comparison with Dickens. Of all the English writers Dickens is probably the closest in my mind to Chekhov. Something about the characterization, tone, and subject matter always makes their stories similar. Chekhov is like the more terse Dickens. Or, Dickens is like the quirkier Chekhov.


Finally, I wanted to ask one last question about the passenger. We haven't talked about them outside of the invalid. What does Chekhov tell us about them? What do you make of them?

Janine
03-25-2008, 03:44 PM
I've been a little slow these past few days and haven't gotten around to posting--sorry about that. Really, though, there isn't much left to add. We've already talked about both the main characters and the conflict. Let me just respond to Janine and ask one more question before we move on to the next story.

That is ok, Quark, I have not been here much either. I got so busy with the holidays, etc. and will be busy this week. When we start a new story, I request we start the beginning of April, ok? I agree about this story we are discussing. I think basically we are pretty much done with it by now. Anymore and we will be overdoing the analysis.


His will is rather weak, and he does give in too easily. But, you have to admit that his stubborness and inflexibility are part of what brings about his failure.

Sure, I agree with you on both of these statements. He is definitely 'stubborn' and 'inflexible', adding greatly to his backslidding and downfall.



I like your comparison with Dickens. Of all the English writers Dickens is probably the closest in my mind to Chekhov. Something about the characterization, tone, and subject matter always makes their stories similar. Chekhov is like the more terse Dickens. Or, Dickens is like the quirkier Chekhov.

Oh, thanks! So you agree and can also see some similarities. I would never have thought it but now I do. Yes, the differences you pointed out are good ways of saying that. Definitely Chekhov is more terse.



Finally, I wanted to ask one last question about the passenger. We haven't talked about them outside of the invalid. What does Chekhov tell us about them? What do you make of them?

Do you mean passengers? I don't know. I have to think about it a bit. Maybe it is the mob mentality and when one person states the authority (ticket collector) has done wrong, then the others chime in and so they all think alike. People love to rebell against authority if they have the opportunity to. I think this might be the case in this story, not that they actually all believe Podtyagon is guilty. Did you ever read of see the play "Enemy of the People"? I saw it last night on VHS and that is essentially what happens in this play - the 'mob mentality' takes over or the majority all think alike by gradual coerion. The man they deem heroic at the start of the play, they later condemn as 'the enemy of the people". Interesting play; if you get a chance do see it or read it.

islandclimber
03-25-2008, 06:15 PM
Hey you two.. sorry I've been gone for so long.. just been in kind of funk the last couple weeks.. a melancholy rut since coming back from climbing in California... but I am looking froward to starting on another story...

Thank you for the photos Janine.. they were great, and give so much more of a clear mental picture of the period when reading, though I have to admit it is fun to create one's own image...

I see both of you mentioned above about Podtyagon being at fault himself for his slide back into alcoholism and despair.. That is exactly what I take from the story... I know several alcoholics, some family members in fact, as well as smokers, and other such addictions, and they always find an external influence to give up each and every attempt to quit, and only when threatened with real loss are the real addicts able to quit, and even then not always... and Podtyagon sets himself up for this with his behaviour throughout the story, he wants an excuse for the failure he knows is coming..

well... you two have pretty much covered everything.. I look forward to the next story, and participating a little more on this one again.. what story are we doing and when are we starting???

Janine
03-25-2008, 06:40 PM
Hey you two.. sorry I've been gone for so long.. just been in kind of funk the last couple weeks.. a melancholy rut since coming back from climbing in California... but I am looking froward to starting on another story...

islandclimber, it's good to see you again, stranger.;) I was afraid we had totally lost you from this thread. I am glad to see you return. A new story might pep things up a bit. We all get into those 'melancholy ruts' from time to time. I feel sort of like one is coming on now and I am fighting it. I feel I need a slight rest or something. I don't think I can do a novel discussion, for another month or so. Just discussing the short stories is taxing enough and leaves me a little time to post in the movie thread, which I enjoy that interchange; oh and also to answer my countless emails and keep up with other independend reading and study.


Thank you for the photos Janine.. they were great, and give so much more of a clear mental picture of the period when reading, though I have to admit it is fun to create one's own image...

I enjoyed looking them up. You are welcome. I was so glad to find a cool Russian site with those train photos and other interesting old photos of someone's family. That gave one an idea of the way people dressed in Russia in that era. I should post some more photos I found. Well, you still have to imagine a bit, since Quark said the photos of the train stations are a few years advanced of the story but would basically look the same.



I see both of you mentioned above about Podtyagon being at fault himself for his slide back into alcoholism and despair.. That is exactly what I take from the story... I know several alcoholics, some family members in fact, as well as smokers, and other such addictions, and they always find an external influence to give up each and every attempt to quit, and only when threatened with real loss are the real addicts able to quit, and even then not always... and Podtyagon sets himself up for this with his behaviour throughout the story, he wants an excuse for the failure he knows is coming..

Yes, I think we discussed that well and came to a similar conclusion. I agree with your addition and have know people who were addicted and you are right - they find any means or excuse to backslide. I felt this was what Podtyagon was doing indeed by setting up goals impossible to carry out perfectly; therefore he gives up and feels he has once again failed. With addicts of any kind they refer to it as the revolving door syndrome, even thought his refers to going into a fascility or a rehab/hospital. My sister knows people who have mental problems (extreme cases) who also hit the bottle and they reform for a time and sadly to say they always backslide and blame it on others.



well... you two have pretty much covered everything.. I look forward to the next story, and participating a little more on this one again.. what story are we doing and when are we starting???

Yes, I too look forward to the next story. I think Quark is still reviewing and mulling over the choices. Hope he decides soon so I can find the story online and print it out again. My printer jet is holding out. I thought it was shot but it is still printing so I am in business, until I get a book.

Quark
03-25-2008, 07:33 PM
When we start a new story, I request we start the beginning of April, ok?

I say the second it turns April we can start discussing. These last two stories were rather brief and didn't need much much commenting from us, but I have a feeling that the next story will be a little more involved. We might need a whole month to talk it out.


Do you mean passengers? I don't know. I have to think about it a bit. Maybe it is the mob mentality and when one person states the authority (ticket collector) has done wrong, then the others chime in and so they all think alike. People love to rebell against authority if they have the opportunity to. I think this might be the case in this story, not that they actually all believe Podtyagon is guilty.

Yeah, I forgot an "s". We probably should touch on the passenger(s) before we move on. There isn't too much to say about them, but I would draw the parallel between the mindless way they act and the mindless way that Podtyagin acts. The passengers idiotically follow each other, and Podtyagin idiotically follows his resolution.


Did you ever read of see the play "Enemy of the People"? I saw it last night on VHS and that is essentially what happens in this play - the 'mob mentality' takes over or the majority all think alike by gradual coerion. The man they deem heroic at the start of the play, they later condemn as 'the enemy of the people". Interesting play; if you get a chance do see it or read it.

No, that one's new to me. I've heard of it, but never seen it. Was Kenneth Branagh in it?


Hey you two.. sorry I've been gone for so long.. just been in kind of funk the last couple weeks.. a melancholy rut since coming back from climbing in California... but I am looking froward to starting on another story...

Hopefully you're better now. Does that usually happen after you go rock climbing? I suppose climbing to the summit of some jagged mountain must be pretty exhilarating, but coming back down must be sort of anti-climatic.


I see both of you mentioned above about Podtyagon being at fault himself for his slide back into alcoholism and despair.. That is exactly what I take from the story... I know several alcoholics, some family members in fact, as well as smokers, and other such addictions, and they always find an external influence to give up each and every attempt to quit, and only when threatened with real loss are the real addicts able to quit, and even then not always... and Podtyagon sets himself up for this with his behaviour throughout the story, he wants an excuse for the failure he knows is coming..

Podtyagin's habit does become a sort of addiction. Drink and despair are not just his coping mechanisms. They're also his drugs which he doesn't want to be parted from. I think we can say that he manufactures some of the conflict in the story to justify his own addiction. But, like I've argued earlier, there is still some earnestness in Podtyagin. At some level he does want to change, and the public does drive him back to drink. The story is called "Oh! The Public," after all. Plus, on top of this, we have to wonder how much Podtyagin's obtuseness is to blame. We've gone over a number of incidences where it's just his idiocy which is stopping him from changing.


well... you two have pretty much covered everything.. I look forward to the next story, and participating a little more on this one again.. what story are we doing and when are we starting???

As one of my former coworkers always used to say to me colloquially, "it's time to stick a fork in this one." I've had enough Chekhov for this month.

I'm still deciding on next month's story, though. I keep going back and forth between a few. The problem is that we all seem to like different kinds of stories. Janine wants a short and more optimistic one. I kind of like the darker, tragic stories. You're favorites are the longer and more psychological stories. I'm trying to find one that will makes us all happy, but having a hard time following through on that. As soon as I know I'll post the title of it.

islandclimber
03-25-2008, 07:52 PM
Quark... I really like the darker and tragic stories as well.. I am quite a melancholy person in terms of reading and writing... Most of his dark and tragic stories I love... I just sometimes like to go into the longer reads.. though my two favourites are quite tragic as well... But "Sleepy" is also one of my favourites... and then there is a short one about a young boy who has been sent to live with someone (an uncle maybe?) and is terrified and sad and miserable and just wants to go home and is writing a letter to that effect.. do you know what it is called??? I really loved it...

Janine
03-25-2008, 08:00 PM
I say the second it turns April we can start discussing. These last two stories were rather brief and didn't need much much commenting from us, but I have a feeling that the next story will be a little more involved. We might need a whole month to talk it out.

Whatever - see my comments below - last part of this post.


Yeah, I forgot an "s". We probably should touch on the passenger(s) before we move on. There isn't too much to say about them, but I would draw the parallel between the mindless way they act and the mindless way that Podtyagin acts. The passengers idiotically follow each other, and Podtyagin idiotically follows his resolution.


No, that one's new to me. I've heard of it, but never seen it. Was Kenneth Branagh in it?
:lol: No, he is not in this production. You are real funny thinking so, but you are close.;) That is how I first heard of this play. I had read that Branagh had played the role at his high school play or a small local theater company during that time and it was a big hit. So he has played it onstage, in his earlier years. He may have played it at RADA, as well. It was originally written by Isben and then this particular screenplay on tape was updated by Arthur Miller. It was very well done and amazing how far ahead of his time, Isben was in the theme. You can find the play under Isben on this site.


Hopefully you're better now. Does that usually happen after you go rock climbing? I suppose climbing to the summit of some jagged mountain must be pretty exhilarating, but coming back down must be sort of anti-climatic.

I was thinking the same. What a let down too to come back home from vacation; that applies to anywhere, especially warmer climates.


Podtyagin's habit does become a sort of addiction. Drink and despair are not just his coping mechanisms. They're also his drugs which he doesn't want to be parted from. I think we can say that he manufactures some of the conflict in the story to justify his own addiction. But, like I've argued earlier, there is still some earnestness in Podtyagin. At some level he does want to change, and the public does drive him back to drink. The story is called "Oh! The Public," after all. Plus, on top of this, we have to wonder how much Podtyagin's obtuseness is to blame. We've gone over a number of incidences where it's just his idiocy which is stopping him from changing.

Well put and I basically agree.


As one of my former coworkers always used to say to me colloquially, "it's time to stick a fork in this one." I've had enough Chekhov for this month.

Yeah - really - get that fork out and stab it, for all I care at this point! :lol:



I'm still deciding on next month's story, though. I keep going back and forth between a few. The problem is that we all seem to like different kinds of stories. Janine wants a short and more optimistic one. I kind of like the darker, tragic stories. You're favorites are the longer and more psychological stories. I'm trying to find one that will makes us all happy, but having a hard time following through on that. As soon as I know I'll post the title of it.

Decisions, decisions.....hummm ho hum la de da! Well, what a dilema you are in, Quark, our fearless leader. If you pick a longer story, then I will have to see if I can still participate. I really hoped for the shorter ones, but it is up to you. I just know that next month is going to be quite busy for me. I hope I can find the story (if it is longer) offline, also. I don't want to print out that much and use all that ink - say 30, 40 pages. I like the longer ones, but just wanted to be practical. This month worked out well with little pressure. I do like tragic ones, just not ones (currently) where babies or small children are the victims. I am an avid "Hamlet" fan, so one can see I do love tradedies, probably more so, than Shakespeare's comedies. You can pick a tragedy for me, no problem - just don't kill off babies, kids or puppies! ;) :(

Quark
03-25-2008, 09:05 PM
Quark... I really like the darker and tragic stories as well.. I am quite a melancholy person in terms of reading and writing... Most of his dark and tragic stories I love... I just sometimes like to go into the longer reads.. though my two favourites are quite tragic as well... But "Sleepy" is also one of my favourites... and then there is a short one about a young boy who has been sent to live with someone (an uncle maybe?) and is terrified and sad and miserable and just wants to go home and is writing a letter to that effect.. do you know what it is called??? I really loved it...

I almost forgot about that one. Yeah, it's called "Vanka." That story is depressing just for the sake of being depressing. At least with "Sleepy" there's some drama and shock, but "Vanka" is just a catalogue of depressing events. "Vanka" might also violate Janine's "no children/puppy hurting" request. It's a moving story, though.

Have you read "Gooseberries?" I know Janine has. Why I ask is because one of the stories I'm thinking about doing is a response to that story. The stories are separate, and you can understand one without reading the other. But, I just thought it might be better if everyone had read "Gooseberries" since I'll probably refer to it.


:lol: No, he is not in this production. You are real funny thinking so, but you are close.;) That is how I first heard of this play. I had read that Branagh had played the role at his high school play or a small local theater company during that time and it was a big hit.

Ah, you're getting predictable Janine.


You can pick a tragedy for me, no problem - just don't kill off babies, kids or puppies! ;) :(

Alright, I promise no puppy or baby killing (at least for next month). I also promise to end the agonizing tomorrow and just pick a story.

islandclimber
03-25-2008, 09:16 PM
yep.. I've read gooseberries... I quite like it too... thanks for reminding me of the name.. I was trying to find it earlier... it is a very depressing story... well I look forward to tomorrow...

oh, with rock climbing, it usually doesn't happen, as i rock climb, well in the gym year round a couple days a week, and in the summer outside a couple times a month... it is quite exhilarating though, everything about it.. I love it.. I think more or less I just am subceptible to pretty crazy mood swings, where I go from doing all kinds of things, like climbing, snowboarding, hiking, surfing, swimming, reading, writing, drawing, etc.. to having no desire to do anything at all... and then I realize I should just meditate... that usually brings piece... I need to find a happy medium, but I'm a person of extremes, oh well.. :D

Janine
03-25-2008, 11:31 PM
I almost forgot about that one. Yeah, it's called "Vanka." That story is depressing just for the sake of being depressing. At least with "Sleepy" there's some drama and shock, but "Vanka" is just a catalogue of depressing events. "Vanka" might also violate Janine's "no children/puppy hurting" request. It's a moving story, though.
I have seen 'Vanka' in the library book; but, if it deals with children being brutally killed or maimed forget it. I mean it! I am having my first grandchild born soon and I am getting nervous. A story like that would disturb me and worry me more so. I don't want that praying on my mind right now.


Have you read "Gooseberries?" I know Janine has. Why I ask is because one of the stories I'm thinking about doing is a response to that story. The stories are separate, and you can understand one without reading the other. But, I just thought it might be better if everyone had read "Gooseberries" since I'll probably refer to it.

If I ever read "Gooseberries", it had to be 100 yrs ago! I don't recall a thing about the story....sorry to disappoint you.


Ah, you're getting predictable Janine.

Am I really? Well, you deduced that, from the fact I am a big Branagh fan and he is a stage actor, even currently so; therefore you thought 'play', must be a 'Branagh production'. I do wish I had seen his rendition. I have the DVD of "Look Back in Anger" and it is really something intense to see. He also played that on stage, but this was geared for a TV airing originally on BBC. I happen to love the film and find fascination in the performances; plus Judy Dench directed it. Pretty fiesty stuff - sort of like Chekhov:lol: haha.


Alright, I promise no puppy or baby killing (at least for next month). I also promise to end the agonizing tomorrow and just pick a story.

Good, because of what I wrote already in here. Ok, but I am not sure you can refer back to "Gooseberries"; I would have to read both and I don't have time this coming month....truly sorry...but I already feel overwhelmed. Does the next story have to be super long? Maybe something inbetween long and short would be desirable and advisable.

Quark
03-26-2008, 07:40 PM
Okay, I thought a little about story selection and decided to do what I had already figured I would end up doing. How about we read one of my favorites, "About Love?" At 7 pages, it's somewhere in between long and short. This story--while being it's own separate story--is linked with two others, "The Man in a Case" and "Gooseberries," which share some common themes and characters. There are three characters in these stories, and each story is the narrative of one of the characters. It's sort like Canterbury Tales in that respect. If you're curious you could go out and read the other two stories, but it isn't really necessary. Each stands alone as it's own story. "About Love" is told mostly from Alekhin's perspective. He uses his story to try to answer some basic questions about love, desire, and society. Plus, along the way there's some real pathos. Should be a good discussion. It'll be interesting to see what you guys think of it.

islandclimber
03-26-2008, 07:44 PM
sounds good Quark.. I'm so glad I was already a Chekhov aficionado... for I've read this one too... I quite like it, and am happy to read it again, for it was a long time ago, and discussing always brings out something that I didn't see... thanks for choosing a story! :)

Dark Muse
03-26-2008, 07:46 PM
Though I do not happen to have this story in my book, I may print it on line and join in

Janine
03-26-2008, 08:11 PM
Ok, if anyone needs the online text you can find it here and many other stories of Chekhov's: http://www.americanliterature.com/Chekhov/Chekhov.html

I will post more when I come back from the library. If you can Quark, now that we are decided maybe you can introduce the story formally and put the title in bold so it stands out for any new comers. Sounds like a good story and if possible I will try and read 'Gooseberries' too, if you say it does tie in.

Quark
03-26-2008, 09:38 PM
Good, it sounds like everyone's in. I suppose now I can change my signature and introduce the story formally (in a large font). Next month we'll do,

"About Love"http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1291/. It's the last of a three story cycle which examines similar themes through the stories of each of its main characters. But, like I said before, each story is quite distinct, and you don't have to read all three to understand just one of them. For summary, I'll try to stay vague so as not give anything away. "About Love" is told mostly by Alekhin who is entertaining two guests when the topic of love comes up. The host comments on the mysteries surrounding love and then breaks into a very revealing personal narrative. Alekhin charges his story with both philosophy and feeling to create something that's more than just an answer to questions brought up earlier in the conversation, but also an entertaining and moving experience for the listeners. Beyond that I can't say much without giving it away. If it goes over well, maybe we'll read the other two stories that are linked with this one.

Discussion officially begins April 1st. I didn't want to start it quite yet because I have to catch up with some other threads that I've been following. The Aeneid discussion looks like it might be breaking out again, so I'll probably be busy over there for a few days.


sounds good Quark.. I'm so glad I was already a Chekhov aficionado... for I've read this one too... I quite like it, and am happy to read it again, for it was a long time ago, and discussing always brings out something that I didn't see... thanks for choosing a story! :)

I didn't think this one would be new for you, but I figured we should do one of the more well-known ones for the people just joining us.


Though I do not happen to have this story in my book, I may print it on line and join in

Check your library. This story is often included in collections. If you can't find it, then, yeah, print it off. There are also some cheap anthologies you can buy on Amazon, too.


Ok, if anyone needs the online text you can find it here and many other stories of Chekhov's: http://www.americanliterature.com/Chekhov/Chekhov.html

Thanks for the link


I will post more when I come back from the library. If you can Quark, now that we are decided maybe you can introduce the story formally and put the title in bold so it stands out for any new comers.

Did I cover everything? I'll probably have to reintroduce the story when we start up again in April.

Janine
03-26-2008, 10:04 PM
Quark, thanks so much for acting promptly and bolding the type face for the title, and for making it seem interesting with your fine introduction. :thumbs_up Good, you told us just enough, to entice us to read the story, and did not give away the ending. I am now curious, which of the three stories follow or proceed chronologically, when they are linked? I ask this, incase, I have the time to read the one, that would naturally preceed it, if that be the case. Is it "Gooseberries"?

Ok, went to my library and just got back. I asked the librarian for help this time, because I could not seem to locate "Lady with the Lapdog" and the computer said they had it available - yes this volume says 'with' - isn't it sometimes 'and' in the translation. With a bit of investigating, we found the book on another shelf, out of library sequence - those librarians! :rolleyes: ...Anyway, that particular collection only had about 10 stories in it and no one was this one...*sgh*....so much for that idea. Ok, onto more research on the internet again, with the nice librarian (not the 'witchy' one I sometimes have to deal with)...ok....so she looks on 'Google search' and comes up with -- OUR site!.....yes, so we did check the page again and I now noticed it was not set up alphabeticially, as I thought, when I viewed the list at home - AHA! - there was the story listed in our own Chekhov page. I am not sure if it was exactly the same title, but the first line of the actual text does read the same. I had her click on it to make sure. Odd about these various translations, when we were researching we also saw "Lady and the Pet Dog" - is that hysterical or what?:lol: I really laughed at that and she said, "how in the world do you locate one of Chekhov's stories, if the title them differently?" Also she could not spell Chekhov and she said I taught her something new tonight. I really had to chuckle at all this, when I got back into my car. Don't librarians have to have a PHD? Thus ended my adventure at the library; I just had to share all this with you.

I guess for now, I will be printing out this story. I may reduce the size of the type, so it is not too many pages to print; but then again I may go blind reading it:eek2: .


Fantastic - welcome Dark Muse, at first glance, I did not notice you joining in; I am so used to seeing your post in Lawrence thread, I took you for granted. Hey, Quark, didn't I tell you this thread would grow and grow in time....now we are 4, or even 5, if Pensive joins in this month.

Dark Muse
03-26-2008, 10:53 PM
Fantastic - welcome Dark Muse, at first glance, I did not notice you joining in; I am so used to seeing your post in Lawrence thread, I took you for granted. Hey, Quark, didn't I tell you this thread would grow and grow in time....now we are 4, or even 5, if Pensive joins in this month.

I do look forward to this new discussion. I know nothing of Chekhov, and thus far only read one of his stories, but I did enjoy it, so this should prove to be interesting.

islandclimber
03-26-2008, 11:44 PM
Ok, went to my library and just got back. I asked the librarian for help this time, because I could not seem to locate "Lady with the Lapdog" and the computer said they had it available - yes this volume says 'with' - isn't it sometimes 'and' in the translation. With a bit of investigating, we found the book on another shelf, out of library sequence - those librarians! :rolleyes: ...Anyway, that particular collection only had about 10 stories in it and no one was this one...*sgh*....so much for that idea. Ok, onto more research on the internet again, with the nice librarian (not the 'witchy' one I sometimes have to deal with)...ok....so she looks on 'Google search' and comes up with -- OUR site!.....yes, so we did check the page again and I now noticed it was not set up alphabeticially, as I thought, when I viewed the list at home - AHA! - there was the story listed in our own Chekhov page. I am not sure if it was exactly the same title, but the first line of the actual text does read the same. I had her click on it to make sure. Odd about these various translations, when we were researching we also saw "Lady and the Pet Dog" - is that hysterical or what?:lol: I really laughed at that and she said, "how in the world do you locate one of Chekhov's stories, if the title them differently?" Also she could not spell Chekhov and she said I taught her something new tonight. I really had to chuckle at all this, when I got back into my car. Don't librarians have to have a PHD? Thus ended my adventure at the library; I just had to share all this with you. .


Janine sounds like quite the experience at the library... :p PHDs or Masters of Library Sciences or whatever degree they have I guess only means so much... maybe not to familiar with literature outside the english language???

well I am looking forward to this discussion and to not being so lazy about posting with this story... I will try not to fall through the little hole to nowhere in particular in the floor of my living room... I think I can manage that... :D

On a completely off the topic note, Janine I love your signature quotes, especially the Lawrence one! it is so true and put so well... I really should come join the Lawrence thread... I just got a really bad taste in my mouth reading "sons and lovers"... Though almost every one of his short stories that I have read I really enjoyed... That novel was the most recent Lawrence work I have read and it really left a sour image of the writer's work.. I didn't like it at all, though I can see why others do, it just didn't do well for me for some reason... But as I said I like his short stories, or at least the ones I have read... So please try to entice me into joining, I need to read some more... ;) what story are you doing now? or next?

Dark Muse welcome to the Chekhov group and I hope you enjoy the stories and the discussion as much as we all do... cheers:)

Janine
03-27-2008, 03:35 AM
Janine sounds like quite the experience at the library... :p PHDs or Masters of Library Sciences or whatever degree they have I guess only means so much... maybe not to familiar with literature outside the english language???

:lol: Yeah, a PHD in checking out videos and cd's, I guess. I can't believe their mentality sometimes. Actually, this woman seems to be one of the smarter ones, so I was surprised she knew so little about Chekhov, and especially how to spell his name; but then again, I admit I am not a very good speller myself. I have to look many things up and make mistakes all the time. At least this all amused me tonight, as the library experience usually does. That other 'witchy' woman is too much - everytime I check my stuff out, she tries to catch me at taking out too much at a time. It is so annoying by now. Usually, she has to consult the other librarians, who all say I am fine and the computer is wrong...it seems to register returns slower...very odd system. That annoying woman thinks she is the library police!


well I am looking forward to this discussion and to not being so lazy about posting with this story... I will try not to fall through the little hole to nowhere in particular in the floor of my living room... I think I can manage that... :D

Glad to hear it! It will be interesting if you stick around for both discussions this time - this one and Lawrence. I saw your long post and comments and agree and disagree on some points but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Maybe I will leave answering it to Virgil. I think he may also disagree with a few of your points but I can't really predict or speak for him because I may be wrong. You did bring out some very good points nearer the end. I will also read it over again tomorrow.



On a completely off the topic note, Janine I love your signature quotes, especially the Lawrence one! it is so true and put so well... I really should come join the Lawrence thread... I just got a really bad taste in my mouth reading "sons and lovers"... Though almost every one of his short stories that I have read I really enjoyed... That novel was the most recent Lawrence work I have read and it really left a sour image of the writer's work.. I didn't like it at all, though I can see why others do, it just didn't do well for me for some reason... But as I said I like his short stories, or at least the ones I have read... So please try to entice me into joining, I need to read some more... ;) what story are you doing now? or next?

There are many fine quotes from Lawrence I could have used. I like those in particular. I used to have a quote from "Hamlet", the part about 'the fall of a sparrow' and 'if it be now it will come, if it be later, it will come, the readiness is all'. - I think I quoted that correctly. Then one day I decided to change it to these two L quotes. His poetry would provide a ton of great quotes, but these too are very direct and really hit home with me. Lawrence lived like he states here, also, which inspired me.

Glad you did make it to the thread. You will definitely enjoy it. Everyone has liked the short stories we read and discussed so far.

I am a bit miffed as to why you had such a strong negative reaction to "Sons and Lovers" - was it the possessive mother - the bickering, strife and drinking in the family? The ending? I have read the novel twice now, and think it is a masterpiece, but it is a young work. I think Lawrence progressed more with his later novels and stories. Islandclimber, were you in the recent "Sons and Lovers" discussion group? I think, had you been, you would have gained much more knowledge and insight into the book and what Lawrence was trying to say, to achieve. It is basically Lawrence's true life story - autobiographical and personal. I hope you don't mind me questioning you this way; I am just so curious to know what you did not like about the novel.

Dark Muse
03-27-2008, 12:15 PM
I rather enjoyed Sons and Lovers, though personaly, I liked The Rainbow better. And those are the only novels of his I have read thus far.

Quark
03-27-2008, 01:33 PM
There's a split among Lawrence fans between those who like the later works and those who go for the earlier stories. There's a bit of a style difference. I liked "Sons and Lovers" more than the "Rainbow", but those are the only two major novels I've read. Most readers consider "Women in Love" to be his best. Janine could fill you in on this more, so I'll let her do the suggesting.

Also, I'm asking the mods to change the name of our thread. Hopefully, we can get something a little more descriptive than just "Chekhov." If it works, I'll let you know what the new name is. I suggested "Chekhov Short Story Thread." That's at least a bit better. I just fear that with "Chekhov" being the title people will think this another one of those threads where people give vague, generalized appraisals of an author's entire body of work and not a monthly short story discussion.

Janine
03-27-2008, 02:56 PM
I rather enjoyed Sons and Lovers, though personaly, I liked The Rainbow better. And those are the only novels of his I have read thus far.
This is funny, I read "Women in Love" first and then I think I read "The Rainbow", and I felt lost reading TR, at that time. I felt it paled with WIL and that it seemed to drag along endlessly; I was a little bored. I am hoping when I read it again, which will be soon, and we plan on discussing it (hope some of you join-in, when we do so), I will have a far different/better perspective on Lawrence work, that will translate to the novel. Virgil seemed to favor TR, and I had said WIL, which was my very favorite of L's work. I still think I stand by that, feeling it is much more complete and developed than "Sons and Lovers". As I pointed out ages ago, in the "Sons and Lovers" discussion, Lawrence said, himself, that he would never write a novel again or afterwards, in the same style or manor that he wrote S&L. S&L is a very personal part of L and encompasses his deepest life history and early years. There is a definite separation between this novel and the ones that followed. After my second reading of S&L, I far more appreciated it, because now I know much about Lawrence and his biography; so this keyed me into many of the ideas and thoughts represented in this book. I felt it was a book about a young man coming of age, with his own personal family and personal struggles. As I said, it is a 'young' work.




There's a split among Lawrence fans between those who like the later works and those who go for the earlier stories. There's a bit of a style difference. I liked "Sons and Lovers" more than the "Rainbow", but those are the only two major novels I've read. Most readers consider "Women in Love" to be his best. Janine could fill you in on this more, so I'll let her do the suggesting.

Yes, this is very true, but lately I have personally (for myself) been trying to close that 'gap' somewhat. There was a time, I felt his much later work was something I very much questioned, and was not sure I liked at it or understood it. I just read two of those major works and I liked one: "Kangaroo", but still am not too sure about the other: "The Plumed Serpent". However, one cannot seem to read an L book, even if it pales with other ones you have read, and go away not thinking on it forever. I keep finding myself musing over parts of TPS. Some of the ideas in that book have sunken in, without me even being aware of it. It is very strange how that can happen.
Quark, definitely there is a bit of a style difference in the novels - all of them actually. So you have not read "Women in Love"? That is one you should read. I would love to hear what you think of it after. Our discussion on this site was a major success and it went on the entire month and then some. Virgil said it was one of the best discussion we ever had. Manolia is still talking about and trying to nudge me into saying we can start "The Rainbow" thread soon. I am still listening to WIL on audio and finding it even more fascinating. I read the book twice now. I guess I am averaging two readings now for every L book.




Also, I'm asking the mods to change the name of our thread. Hopefully, we can get something a little more descriptive than just "Chekhov." If it works, I'll let you know what the new name is. I suggested "Chekhov Short Story Thread." That's at least a bit better. I just fear that with "Chekhov" being the title people will think this another one of those threads where people give vague, generalized appraisals of an author's entire body of work and not a monthly short story discussion.

Quark, Excellent idea! Exactly, I have long thought it should be called 'Chekhov Short Stories or Story'; otherwise, it is very deceptive and one would think it is just a thread to discuss the author in general; therefore it just falls through the cracks. I hope they approve the change. One could still put 'Chekhov' in the 'search' block and find it easily.

Anyway, back to Chekhov - last night I printed out the story from online. I put it into my Word program and then changed the font to Ariel 10Pt which reduced the pages down to about 6 1/2ps. Then I printed it, but I only glanced at the beginning and have not read it yet; I can't get to it until the weekend. Will we begin discussion on the first - is that Monday? Monday would be good for me.

Dark Muse
03-27-2008, 03:06 PM
I beleive the first is Tuesday

islandclimber
03-27-2008, 03:43 PM
Yeah, the first is Tuesday...

Janine I can see my dislike for "Sons and Lovers" sparked a new discussion... :p I think one of the problems was I had to read it for a university english course, and that usually lessens my ability to like a story... I've had it happen several times with books I later ended up really liking... I read "sons and lovers" when I was 21 I think so three years ago now, and it's not that I intensely disliked it, I just didn't enjoy it.. but at the same time, outside of school I was reading "Love Among the Haystacks and other Stories" and I just loved it... It is one of my favourite collections of short stories.. though I know Lawrence is better known for his novels I like his short stories more... I did enjoy "the rainbow" though when I read it a couple years ago, and "Aaron's Rod" as well... and "Women In Love" was pretty good, again not my favourite of his... but I think if I went back to "Sons and Lovers" now I would most likely enjoy it, it is just there are so many books and so little time as you have said before... right now, besides Chekhov and now the Lawrence short story thread... I'm rereading Borges' "Labyrinths" and I'm reading Dickens "Short Stories" which for another writer predominately known for novels (in fact I did not know he wrote short stories) are fantastic, at least some of them... I'm always somewhere or other in Pablo Neruda's "Residence on Earth" I just can't put it down, and it has been 4 and a half years since I got it, and I'm still reading it over and over... and then I'm reading the only one of the five major Dostoevsky novels I have not read for some strange reason, "A Raw Youth" though I find it to be his poorest work of his later career so far.. oh yeah and Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native", which is his, poorest work so far in my eyes.. I loved "Tess of the D'urbevilles, it is my favourite tragic love novel probably, and 'Jude the Obscure" and the Mayor of Casterbridge" and his almost comic happier "Far From the Madding Crowd"... But "return of the native" is so mediocre in comparison I find... but to get back to the point, I should read "sons and lovers" again and am sure I would enjoy it if I did, but well, time...

Quark, I saw you suggested "Quark's Awesome Chekhov Club" for a thread title... that is so much better, let's have that as our title!!!:D

Dark Muse
03-27-2008, 03:46 PM
This is funny, I read "Women in Love" first and then I think I read "The Rainbow", and I felt lost reading TR, at that time. I felt it paled with WIL and that it seemed to drag along endlessly; I was a little bored. I am hoping when I read it again, which will be soon, and we plan on discussing it (hope some of you join-in, when we do so), I will have a far different/better perspective on Lawrence work, that will translate to the novel. Virgil seemed to favor TR, and I had said WIL, which was my very favorite of L's work. I still think I stand by that, feeling it is much more complete and developed than "Sons and Lovers". As I pointed out ages ago, in the "Sons and Lovers" discussion, Lawrence said, himself, that he would never write a novel again or afterwards, in the same style or manor that he wrote S&L. S&L is a very personal part of L and encompasses his deepest life history and early years. There is a definite separation between this novel and the ones that followed. After my second reading of S&L, I far more appreciated it, because now I know much about Lawrence and his biography; so this keyed me into many of the ideas and thoughts represented in this book. I felt it was a book about a young man coming of age, with his own personal family and personal struggles. As I said, it is a 'young' work.

Though it has been a while sense my reading of Rainbow, and I no longer have a copy of the book, I throughly enjoyed it, and will look forward to partaking in a discussion of it.

Janine
03-27-2008, 04:19 PM
Though it has been a while sense my reading of Rainbow, and I no longer have a copy of the book, I throughly enjoyed it, and will look forward to partaking in a discussion of it.

Great! I will let you know. I have to re-read it myself. I bought a new copy recently.


Yeah, the first is Tuesday...

Ok, then Tues would be even better for me. I have that big baby shower on Sunday.



Janine I can see my dislike for "Sons and Lovers" sparked a new discussion... :p I think one of the problems was I had to read it for a university english course, and that usually lessens my ability to like a story... I've had it happen several times with books I later ended up really liking... I read "sons and lovers" when I was 21 I think so three years ago now, and it's not that I intensely disliked it, I just didn't enjoy it.. but at the same time, outside of school I was reading "Love Among the Haystacks and other Stories" and I just loved it... It is one of my favourite collections of short stories..

Well, that explains it - two factors - the made you read it and second you were a bit young to appreciate it entirely. I think a second reading, maybe even later in life would change your mind about the novel. Same with "Women in Love" - one has to be in the right frame of mind and right time in one's life to appreciate some novels. I have found this entirely true. I started to read S&L when I was younger and actually hated it. I had to abandon it until years later when I knew more about Lawrence and his actually life story. Then it gained appeal for me. It also stands quite alone as nothing I have ever read before. The second reading of WIL on this site was phenomenal for me and now the audiofile I am listening to is wonderful and I am actually noticing things I had not previously noticed, in two readings! strange, isn't i?
I too read those books when younger - the shorter novellas - 'Love Among the Haystakes' was and is still one of my favorites - sort of in the Thomas Hardy pastoral style. I loved 'The Fox', and others I can't recall now. I plan soon to re-read all of them.



..though I know Lawrence is better known for his novels I like his short stories more... I did enjoy "the rainbow" though when I read it a couple years ago, and "Aaron's Rod" as well... and "Women In Love" was pretty good, again not my favourite of his...
More and more I am appreciating his short stories and short fiction. I didn't think much about it before though I had read some and liked those stories very much. 'Things' is one of my favorites of Lawrence's SS's. I am impressed, Islandclimber....I did not know you read all those Lawrence novels. I read all of those also and a few more this past year. Discussion groups greatly enhance the understanding of these novels. We will be discussion WIL soon and maybe you could join in as well. I think you would see things you had not previously observed in the text. I surely hope I do so.


...but I think if I went back to "Sons and Lovers" now I would most likely enjoy it, it is just there are so many books and so little time as you have said before...

Even a bit later perhaps - maybe when you are about 30. Yep, so many books to read in one little lifetime; I agree.


... right now, besides Chekhov and now the Lawrence short story thread... I'm rereading Borges' "Labyrinths" and I'm reading Dickens "Short Stories" which for another writer predominately known for novels (in fact I did not know he wrote short stories) are fantastic, at least some of them... I'm always somewhere or other in Pablo Neruda's "Residence on Earth" I just can't put it down, and it has been 4 and a half years since I got it, and I'm still reading it over and over... and then I'm reading the only one of the five major Dostoevsky novels I have not read for some strange reason, "A Raw Youth" though I find it to be his poorest work of his later career so far..
Wow, I would imagine Dicken's short stories would be good. I haven't read the other authors you mentioned. I did purchase some Dostoevsky novels from a sale recently - now I am well stocked and ready to read his works. He will be next after L. I tend to read all that one author has written or at least a good portion of it. I will start with the short ones - "Notes from the Underground" is super short.


....oh yeah and Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native", which is his, poorest work so far in my eyes.. I loved "Tess of the D'urbevilles, it is my favourite tragic love novel probably, and 'Jude the Obscure" and the Mayor of Casterbridge" and his almost comic happier "Far From the Madding Crowd"... But "return of the native" is so mediocre in comparison I find... but to get back to the point, I should read "sons and lovers" again and am sure I would enjoy it if I did, but well, time...

I love Hardy - about 5 years back I read most of his work. I used to belong to the Hardy site online and learned some there but more from a person I connected with there who is making Hardy his lifetime study. He loves "Return of the Native" but oddly enough, I did not appreciate it till much later and now I like it very much. My favorites are "Mayor of Casterbridge", "Jude the Obscure", "The Woodlanders", "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", and "Far From the Madding Crowd" - well, that is a lot of favorites and a great deal of his work! I plan to re-read all of them eventually and I have read some of the lesser novels of Hardy also and liked those. I own about 20 Hardy books. Ever see any of the adaptations? There are some fine ones out there. I can list them for you, if you want. I listed them in another for someone reading Hardy for the first time.



Quark, I saw you suggested "Quark's Awesome Chekhov Club" for a thread title... that is so much better, let's have that as our title!!!:D

NOT!:lol: That would drive people away!;)... sorry Q!

Quark
03-28-2008, 03:18 PM
I felt it paled with WIL

That's what I assumed. I think if I had to compel someone to read a Lawrence book it would be Women in Love. From what I've heard it's quite good. I just haven't gotten around to reading it.

When are you going to start your Rainbow discussion? I'll try and post some things when I get time.


I beleive the first is Tuesday

The discussion begins officially on Tuesday, but I may post something earlier anyway. Janine, if you want to start early feel free to.


and then I'm reading the only one of the five major Dostoevsky novels I have not read for some strange reason, "A Raw Youth" though I find it to be his poorest work of his later career so far

"A Raw Youth" is considered one of his major novels? I haven't even bothered to look at that one. What's it about? I'm starting to read The Possessed actually. I'm expecting it to be quite good. I've wanted to read it for some time.


.. oh yeah and Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native", which is his, poorest work so far in my eyes.. I loved "Tess of the D'urbevilles, it is my favourite tragic love novel probably, and 'Jude the Obscure" and the Mayor of Casterbridge" and his almost comic happier "Far From the Madding Crowd"... But "return of the native" is so mediocre in comparison I find...

I never made it all the way through Tess. It sort of bored me, although it did give me one of my favorite lines. When the one brother wants to go join the party, and one of his dull, pedantic siblings goes, "But we have to read another chapter of Counterblast to Agnosticism!" Whenever someone tries to pull me away from work to go do something fun, that's always my comeback. "But I have to read another chapter of Counterblast to Agnosticism!"


Quark, I saw you suggested "Quark's Awesome Chekhov Club" for a thread title... that is so much better, let's have that as our title!!!:D

I know. I should have made that at least the subtitle. I just didn't think the admins would go for it.

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 05:08 PM
The discussion begins officially on Tuesday, but I may post something earlier anyway. Janine, if you want to start early feel free to.

Well sense I have already read the story, that would be fine with me if anyone posted early.

islandclimber
03-28-2008, 07:09 PM
"A Raw Youth" is considered one of his major novels? I haven't even bothered to look at that one. What's it about? I'm starting to read The Possessed actually. I'm expecting it to be quite good. I've wanted to read it for some time.

The Possessed is fantastic... I loved it... make sure you get to read the cut by censors chapter "Stavrogin's Confession"... it is intense... besides A Raw Youth it was probably his modern novel, in terms of writing style, explaining its somewhat disjointed and more experimental style at times or so I found... A Raw Youth was the fourth of his major novels, his penultimate, only TBK came after... it is considered the poorest of the 5 and is less well known, much less read... I am actually starting to enjoy it more so, as I get deeper into it... It is D's most modern novel, as it goes more into the discordant, all over the place, modernist trends in writing that came along in the 20th century... it makes it interesting.. but it is much like The Possessed in that it is about the ideological battle between the old guard and the new in Russia, It is about the intellectual, yet illegitimate child of a wealthy womanizing landowner, and the conflicts between them, quite interesting I'm finding as I get deeper and deeper in...

I never made it all the way through Tess. It sort of bored me, although it did give me one of my favorite lines. When the one brother wants to go join the party, and one of his dull, pedantic siblings goes, "But we have to read another chapter of Counterblast to Agnosticism!" Whenever someone tries to pull me away from work to go do something fun, that's always my comeback. "But I have to read another chapter of Counterblast to Agnosticism!"

I love that quote too, though I never thought of it's practical application... hmmm... that is a good idea :lol:... I think part of the problem for most with Hardy, is he writes at a very slow and poetic pace, in no hurry to get anywhere or make anything happen, but it is the moments of extreme emotion both beautiful and tragic, that I love his stories for... especially this one and Jude the Obscure... The letter she writes Angel in this one has to be one of the saddest, most tragic letters in all of literature... and then Jude The Obscure, probably had the most depressing and tragic scenes in all of literature, Janine will know the one I refer to... definitely a tear jerker that one part...


I know. I should have made that at least the subtitle. I just didn't think the admins would go for it.
They probably would not have, but it would have been fun.. it would have given more character to the discussion group, given a fun feeling to a depressing guy!


Oh, like DarkMuse I am finished the story, well all three stories again, so whenever you want to start if it is okay with Janine, please do...

DarkMuse if you want a little more to read, the two stories leading up to this story with the same characters, give you a better understanding of where this is coming from... they are first The Man In A Case and Gooseberries second.. and they are both on here.. and not any lengthier than this one... just a quick read will get you the background to this story, though as Quark mentioned before, they are not essential... someone could post a brief synopsis of them as a lead up to About Love as well I guess, what do you think Quark?

Janine isn't it great that Dostoevsky's short stories are still about 100 pages or longer... more like novellas i would say.. though he does have a couple short ones... But when you begin reading him, let me know, I would love to read along again and discuss any of his works, at a nice relaxed pace, or whatever suits you:)

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 07:13 PM
DarkMuse if you want a little more to read, the two stories leading up to this story with the same characters, give you a better understanding of where this is coming from... they are first The Man In A Case and Gooseberries second.. and they are both on here.. and not any lengthier than this one... just a quick read will get you the background to this story, though as Quark mentioned before, they are not essential... someone could post a brief synopsis of them as a lead up to About Love as well I guess, what do you think Quark?

Thanks for the suggestion, I just might decide to look into those two stories.

Janine
03-28-2008, 07:33 PM
I would like to look into those additional stories too, but it is inconceivable that I can start posting, till next week. If anyone does post now, please don't give away endings. I hate that. I want to work up to the ending, all by myself. If you need to discuss the end, then do so, but please post a big bold 'spoiler' before it.

Go ahead and post, but I really can't do so until next week. I am tied up for the next few days. I guess I can catch up.

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 07:36 PM
Well if we wait it will give me more time to read up those other two stories, but if Quark or anyone else does want to post early I can do that as well.

islandclimber
03-28-2008, 07:42 PM
I'll wait for you Janine!!! No leaving you on the sinking ship!!! We all go down together in this thread!! :D but, seriously, I am content to wait a few days... I just read a most interesting book through the night last night as I could not sleep... and then went to work.. ahhh... insomnia is god... i mean good... but "Sanine" by Mikhail Artzybashev is just a fascinating novel... I was shocked at how good it was considering I had never heard of it, and you can only get used copies as it has fallen out of print... so good and now I need a day or two to mull over the originality and uniqueness of this story... :D

Quark
03-28-2008, 07:44 PM
someone could post a brief synopsis of them as a lead up to About Love as well I guess, what do you think Quark?

Oh, if you insist. No, really, that probably would be a good idea, although someone might object. Should I post a summary? What do you guys think?


Go ahead and post, but I really can't do so until next week. I am tied up for the next few days. I guess I can catch up.

I won't post until Tuesday, but other people can go ahead. I'll probably just answer other people's posts until I start posting chunks of the story on Tuesday. It would be a good idea if everyone alerted each other to spoilers before the actual beginning of the discussion.

Janine
03-28-2008, 08:12 PM
I'll wait for you Janine!!! No leaving you on the sinking ship!!! We all go down together in this thread!! :D but, seriously, I am content to wait a few days... I just read a most interesting book through the night last night as I could not sleep... and then went to work.. ahhh... insomnia is god... i mean good... but "Sanine" by Mikhail Artzybashev is just a fascinating novel... I was shocked at how good it was considering I had never heard of it, and you can only get used copies as it has fallen out of print... so good and now I need a day or two to mull over the originality and uniqueness of this story... :D

Hi Everyone,
Here I was thinking maybe my last post sounded a little rude or perturbed, so I was going to modify it and sound a little more friendly. I am just stressed out at the minute, and not feeling well again. Sorry, if I did come off to all of you as being rude. Fact is, I was hoping for a little time; I am still in the midst of picking out the Lawrence story and have not decided yet, so I have to re-read them. Pressure, pressure, pressure and you, Quark, were the one who kidded me before, about having no time to sleep!:(

islandclimber, you are sweet saying you will wait for me. I like your sinking ship analogy...;) :lol: made me laugh. I wanted to thank you for your nice comment in that other thread, too. That really made me feel good, like my time is not wasted on all my loooong 'drawn-out' posts and my countless hours of research. I am so glad they helped you in the L thread.

Hummm...."Sanine" - gee, just one letter different than my name. I will have to look into that book, but you say it is out of print. How did you find it?

Well, if you all can wait till next week, I would be eternally grateful. I need this time to: wrap gifts tomorrow/buy cards; attend a baby shower Sunday; do some laundry, I need my clothes(!); read more L stories, so I can pick a good one everyone will like; and now read two additional Chekhov stories, plus this one; oh and yes, complete my reading of "Camille", before I forget the book and what is happening. That is all I have to do in the next few days!

Quark
03-28-2008, 09:10 PM
I didn't think you came off as rude. I know you have stuff to do--lots apparently (have fun at the shower). We're just getting restless in this pause between stories.

Islandclimber, I don't know the book you're talking about, much less the author. Oddly enough, though, we have talked about Hardy novels on this thread in the past. In fact, I remember bringing up that tear-jerker scene from Jude the Obscure before. Somehow the conversation always comes back to that.

Janine
03-28-2008, 10:02 PM
I didn't think you came off as rude. I know you have stuff to do--lots apparently (have fun at the shower). We're just getting restless in this pause between stories.

Quark, what - 'restless'?....it is almost the weekend; don't you guys ever have dates? Weekends are for the youth to go out and raise a ruckess and have fun with their friends. I am an old lady, becoming stodgy and inert; sometimes I just want to stay in the house, and be warm until spring comes. "Staying in makes Johnny a dull boy.:( "

Thanks, about the shower, Q - it will be great fun. I can't wait. I haven't seem my pregnant daughter-in-law since Christmas, just my son, he stops by on his way home from work. It will be a good reunion and with other people I have not seen now for awhile.



Islandclimber, I don't know the book you're talking about, much less the author. Oddly enough, though, we have talked about Hardy novels on this thread in the past. In fact, I remember bringing up that tear-jerker scene from Jude the Obscure before. Somehow the conversation always comes back to that.

Warning - this could be a Hardy Spoiler!
Did he refer to Hardy? I missed something......duh? Quark, do you like Hardy? Just curious. Did you know the story of the children in Jude actually came from a true life event? That is a scary thought, isn't it? There were many tear-jerker parts in "Jude, the Obscure". Good book, but devastating.

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 10:08 PM
Quark, what - 'restless'?....it is almost the weekend; don't you guys ever have dates? Weekends are for the youth to go out and raise a ruckess and have fun with their friends. I am an old lady, becoming stodgy and inert; sometimes I just want to stay in the house, and be warm until spring comes. "Staying in makes Johnny a dull boy.:( "

Hehe well the little misanthope that I am, I do not go out really. I do not attend socical events. Go to the movies sometimes but mostly I spend my time just reading anyway.

And the few friends I do have including my boyfriend live in different states.

Janine
03-28-2008, 10:24 PM
Hehe well the little misanthope that I am, I do not go out really. I do not attend socical events. Go to the movies sometimes but mostly I spend my time just reading anyway.

And the few friends I do have including my boyfriend live in different states.

Well....sorry DM, should have put "and makes Jane a dull girl" too....hahheehe. I am just kidding with all of you. I have been there and done it, with the boyfriend in another state; three times now. I hope it works out better for you, DM, than for me. I hope the state is close by, anyway. Still those bridge/highway tolls are murder.:(

How 'bout relaxing and watching movies or reading, any hobbies? You must have computer :eek2: blindness, by now. I thought I was bad, but I always see you online, DM.Now that statement made a lot of sense - since I am also online to see you online...hahhe:lol:
For me, I am soon going to retire to my sofa to watch a film. Quess which one? Actually, an early play (on DVD), of Lawrene's, I just bought from Amazon called "The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd." I anticipate the play is very much like the short story 'Odour of Chrysanthamums'....we discussed that story in this thread awhile back. It was a good one, so the play should be very interesting. Then I will read, read, read, before I go to bed! Promise.....

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 10:31 PM
Well....sorry DM, should have put "and makes Jane a dull girl" too....hahheehe. I am just kidding with all of you. I have been there and done it, with the boyfriend in another state; three times now. I hope it works out better for you, DM, than for me. I hope the state is close by, anyway. Still those bridge/highway tolls are murder.:(

How 'bout relaxing and watching movies or reading, any hobbies? You must have computer :eek2: blindness, by now. I thought I was bad, but I always see you online, DM.Now that statement made a lot of sense - since I am also online to see you online...hahhe:lol:
For me, I am soon going to retire to my sofa to watch a film. Quess which one? Actually, an early play (on DVD), of Lawrene's, I just bought from Amazon called "The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd." I anticipate the play is very much like the short story 'Odour of Chrysanthamums'....we discussed that story in this thread awhile back. It was a good one, so the play should be very interesting. Then I will read, read, read, before I go to bed! Promise.....

Unforutnately we are on oppisites sides of the state, and obscatles have remained presisistently in our way, but we do the best that we can for now.

Hehe acutally I am not as bad as I use to be about the computer. I spent the good deal of my day reading, I am reading an insane amount of different things right now. Though in the evenings I tend to just stay on the computer untill I go to bed. During the day I genreally just pop on for a few minitues now and than just to check mail and such than go back to reading.

But my classes for spring quarter will be starting up soon.

Janine
03-28-2008, 10:45 PM
Unforutnately we are on oppisites sides of the state, and obscatles have remained presisistently in our way, but we do the best that we can for now.

Yes, I well know about those obstacles. My guy was only across a river, but you would think it was a universe. Well, traffic was a big factor and so was the hassle and the bridge toll, constantly going up, never down. Hope you have better luck than me.



Hehe acutally I am not as bad as I use to be about the computer. I spent the good deal of my day reading, I am reading an insane amount of different things right now. Though in the evenings I tend to just stay on the computer untill I go to bed. During the day I genreally just pop on for a few minitues now and than just to check mail and such than go back to reading.

But my classes for spring quarter will be starting up soon.

Well, spring is coming and depending on where you live, it will be here not too long from now. You should cart your books out to a nice park and read. The fresh air will do you a world of good. I need to do the same. I definitely have cabin-fever by now. I try to go out but the weather is still so iffy and damp somedays I long for home not long after I am out. But I am old and getting stoggy that way. You are young and should take in the world, even though you are a bookworm. Everyone needs socialization now and then. Classes sound great. Where do you go to school - college or university? What classes are they? sorry being 'curious Janine' again? It is just that I really like people and they always interest me.


Well, thanks islandclimber, for posting those two preceeding stories to this one. I just looked them up and yikes, Quark, one is 7 pages and one is 9 pages and that is after I reduced the type size/font.....so another 16 pages of ink and paper....eek....or I could go smaller on the font size and use a magnifying glass to read it. :lol:
I figure if I do print them, I can read one a night. That should catch me up, until we start on the first (1st) of April, right? Thanks for holding up the ship for me - I will be there to board ontime...promise. Bon Voyage!

islandclimber, Yes, about Dostesevky(sp?), you are right - his short stories are novellas. I will start with "Notes from the Underground"; isn't that what you advised earlier and we can discuss it when I finish. It won't be soon but may be I can fit it in in the next month sometime.

Quark, my answer to spell-check is (sp?) after a word I don't know how to spell or question.:lol: Let's lobby for a spell-check on Lit Net, Virgil! ;)

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 10:51 PM
Yes, I well know about those obstacles. My guy was only across a river, but you would think it was a universe. Well, traffic was a big factor and so was the hassle and the bridge toll, constantly going up, never down. Hope you have better luck than me.

Well, spring is coming and depending on where you live, it will be here not too long from now. You should cart your books out to a nice park and read. The fresh air will do you a world of good. I need to do the same. I definitely have cabin-fever by now. I try to go out but the weather is still so iffy and damp somedays I long for home not long after I am out. But I am old and getting stoggy that way. You are young and should take in the world, even though you are a bookworm. Everyone needs socialization now and then. Classes sound great. Where do you go to school - college or university? What classes are they? sorry being 'curious Janine' again? It is just that I really like people and they always interest me.


Hehe well one of our biggist problems right now, is neither one of us drive. He cannot becaue his vision is imparied, and I do not have my lisence and cannot currently afford driving lessons to get it.

When we first met we was planning to move out my way, and for a while was trying to find a job here, but nothing turned up.

I have been trying to find a job for myself to try and get things more in order, but so far nothing has turned up.

Hehe I am not that bad, though I do not socilize I do go out on my own now and then, though usually I prefer to go out when it is cold.

I am like the oppisite of a bear, I wish I could hibernate through summer.

islandclimber
03-28-2008, 11:25 PM
:lol: this laughter is not directed at anyone, I am just watching Monty Python at the moment and it is too funny for words... plus I haven't slept in a couple days and it is beginning to wear the frayed threads of my sanity... but that is neither here nor there... :lol:

it is funny though how we almost post more in between stories... :D

well on to your posts... Quark I think I may just begin with you... a summary of the first two stories is a good idea, but if everyone wants to read them now, I guess it is unneccessary... does everyone want to read all three (they are not too long)??

It doesn't surprise me that hardy would come up in a Chekhov thread.. both were quite into the tragic, is known for novels, and Chekhov for plays and stories... but they are both quite pastoral, and write more of the poor peasants, the downtrodden... they fit together, though I do believe it is Dickens that Chekhov is usually compared to of the English writers.. I just find he is more of a fit with Hardy...

"Sanine" by Artzybashev, is not a very well known novel so I wouldn't expect many to know it... But is an interesting one, in the fact that it was banned by many countries immediately upon publishing and when the Bolshevists came to power it was banned in Russia from what I recollect as well, and Artzybashev was seen as an irreconciliable enemy of the Bolshevist regime... which I find fascinating.. but it is a very selfish, cynical, pessimistic, hedonistic type of novel, though the philosophy behind it and within it is interesting and fascinating... no spoilers here though.. Janine I hope this looking into this book isn't just because of the title's close association to your name.. *suspicious look in whatever direction Janine might be* :D ... I found it on here a while ago.... they have this one of his on here, and a short story of his, which is also good... although he considered his best work to be "Death of Lande" ... but it is impossible to find.. but back to how I got it.. you can order it on amazon, form one of the used dealers that I guess they deal with... it just took a while to get here... but it was worth the $20 and the wait... watch which copy though.. some of them are being sold for $60 to $150... it is crazy what people think they can get for used books.. not a good way to promote reading...


Janine you sound entirely too busy... but I am happy what I said made you feel good... I was being honest... you are a wonderful person to discuss stories with... and you did convince me to jump into the Lawrence thread and you and Virgil, Quark, Dark Muse, all made me feel welcome even while jumping in right at the end of a story to throw my two cents in... so Thank you all...

you know Janine Tess of the D'Urbevilles and Jude the Obscure are two of the most tragic and depressingly sad novels ever written I would say.. if you like this kind of writing there is an indo-canadian writer named Rohinton Mistry who wrote a book called "A Fine Balance" and it is one of my favourite books of the 20th century.. especially the latter half... it is so beautiful, yet so utterly and completely tragic... it had me in tears... much like Hardy's aforementioned works... the scene with Little father time was almost too much to bear, after everything else that goes on in the novel, you almost want to drop it right then, and try to forget this was based on a real occurence... Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I read the ending of Tess had some basis in reality too... I absolutely got very teary at the end of Tess, and in reading her letter to Angel after he had spurned her... How can the words not move you to tears...


The daylight has nothing to show me, since you are not here, and I don't like to see the rooks and starlings in the field, because I grieve and grieve to miss you who used to see them with me. I long for only one thing in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you, my own dear! Come to me—come to me, and save me from what threatens me!—

Your faithful heartbroken
Tess




I'm kind of out of the going out and causing a ruckus scene now... I just turned 24 a few weeks ago.. I had my time when I was a little too wild, and got myself into more trouble and gave myself more problem than I want to think about... but I find so many of the people who I end up around to be quite lacking in terms of originality or uniqueness, or even in being okay with who they are inside... I mean, I know some people like cars, and like to party.. but can anyone seriously say those are the passions of their lives... without sounding absurd.. well at least they do to me... Party as what they are passionate about.. well that is a good recipe for alcoholism and drug addiction I guess. and not to be a hypocrite for I did to a degree enjoy it myself for a couple years, and even now on a rare occasion I will let loose with some old friends when I drink a little too much, but I have nothing in common with most of these people because they hide what's truly inside them I believe... they put on a mask that says blatantly this is how society wants me to appear, so I appear this way... so I am inert.. I do a fair bit of climbing, go snowboarding on occasion, I love to just sit down with some sort of classical music, or celtic, or gregorian, and just read or write, have a glass of wine... play guitar badly, etc... I just have no desire to go out and party and get drunk... I also love movies, especially old movies.. classics... and silent films are a particular passion of mine... I love them....

So I am glad I've found this site as a way to have interesting discussions, and to talk with interesting and unique, and wonderful people like in this thread... :)

and sorry for this ridiculous and long rant and rave about nothing in particular...:D

Have fun at the baby shower Janine

What are you taking in school DM???

Dark Muse
03-28-2008, 11:31 PM
Right now I am taking two different english classess, haha probably will not come much as a shock

The British Novel from 1914 to 1945

and

American Fiction to 1914

islandclimber
03-28-2008, 11:36 PM
Yes, I well know about those obstacles. My guy was only across a river, but you would think it was a universe. Well, traffic was a big factor and so was the hassle and the bridge toll, constantly going up, never down. Hope you have better luck than me.




Well, spring is coming and depending on where you live, it will be here not too long from now. You should cart your books out to a nice park and read. The fresh air will do you a world of good. I need to do the same. I definitely have cabin-fever by now. I try to go out but the weather is still so iffy and damp somedays I long for home not long after I am out. But I am old and getting stoggy that way. You are young and should take in the world, even though you are a bookworm. Everyone needs socialization now and then. Classes sound great. Where do you go to school - college or university? What classes are they? sorry being 'curious Janine' again? It is just that I really like people and they always interest me.


Well, thanks islandclimber, for posting those two preceeding stories to this one. I just looked them up and yikes, Quark, one is 7 pages and one is 9 pages and that is after I reduced the type size/font.....so another 16 pages of ink and paper....eek....or I could go smaller on the font size and use a magnifying glass to read it. :lol:
I figure if I do print them, I can read one a night. That should catch me up, until we start on the first (1st) of April, right? Thanks for holding up the ship for me - I will be there to board ontime...promise. Bon Voyage!

islandclimber, Yes, about Dostesevky(sp?), you are right - his short stories are novellas. I will start with "Notes from the Underground"; isn't that what you advised earlier and we can discuss it when I finish. It won't be soon but may be I can fit it in in the next month sometime.

Quark, my answer to spell-check is (sp?) after a word I don't know how to spell or question.:lol: Let's lobby for a spell-check on Lit Net, Virgil! ;)

okay so that post took me so long two posts appeared while I was writing it...:lol:

DM and Janine, I know about the long distance thing too... mine was 3000 miles though... we had been together for only a few mths when I had to move from Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada to just north of toronto in Ontario here for work... and then we didn't see each other all that often for the next 8mths when she moved in with me.. but I think being so consistently far apart, we didn't knwo what to do living together, so we broke up about 4 mths ago now... so i wish you much better luck DM.. and I am interested in the school/university thing too... Sorry to be nosy.. :D

yep.. Janine.. if you don't make it on time, I'll perform acts of sabotage in the engine room to hold up our departure, or if this is a sail boat, I will slash all the sails, and throw the rigging over board, until I see you running along the pier, arms filled with pages and pages of notes, and printed off stories, along the pier to leap on board... and off we go!!!!!!:p

We may want to discuss Notes From the Underground as we read it,.. not wait till the very end... it is a very dense 100 pages... in fact filled with information and things that make it hard to recall where you read something, in what order, etc, etc... you get the picture... some books are best meant to be discussed as you go, so you have a discussion to look back upon, to jog the memory.... and make final comments, and conclusions...

well, more Monty Python for me... I hope you are all having wonderful friday nights...:D

Janine
03-29-2008, 01:05 AM
Ok islandclimber - I better start with this one first:


:lol: this laughter is not directed at anyone, I am just watching Monty Python at the moment and it is too funny for words... plus I haven't slept in a couple days and it is beginning to wear the frayed threads of my sanity... but that is neither here nor there... :lol:
Which one are you watching?!!! OMG - I love Monty Python and my library has the TV series set, too. I recently, again watched "The Holy Grail" and "The Life of Brian". Just listening to Brian's mom's high voice, cracks me up. I am rolling with laughter :lol: I can be 2 rooms away and hear her and I am laughing - same with the series, which I must resume soon, the male's playing females is what makes me laugh the most, but then again - there are so many stellar moments!

it is funny though how we almost post more in between stories... :D :lol: yes, just social i z i n g and getting to know everyone better....that is cool, don't you think? ;)


well on to your posts... Quark I think I may just begin with you... a summary of the first two stories is a good idea, but if everyone wants to read them now, I guess it is unneccessary... does everyone want to read all three (they are not too long)??
Not long??? you kidding. Add them all together and you have a novella or short novel. I was feeling kind of like overwhelmed already. I also have to be reading these Lawrence stories now to be picking one for Tues. It is rather taxing on my end. I read super slowly, and it is against my religion to skim.



It doesn't surprise me that hardy would come up in a Chekhov thread.. both were quite into the tragic, is known for novels, and Chekhov for plays and stories... but they are both quite pastoral, and write more of the poor peasants, the downtrodden... they fit together, though I do believe it is Dickens that Chekhov is usually compared to of the English writers.. I just find he is more of a fit with Hardy...

That is an interesting comparison or (s).

"Sanine" by Artzybashev, is not a very well known novel so I wouldn't expect many to know it... But is an interesting one, in the fact that it was banned by many countries immediately upon publishing and when the Bolshevists came to power it was banned in Russia from what I recollect as well, and Artzybashev was seen as an irreconciliable enemy of the Bolshevist regime... which I find fascinating.. but it is a very selfish, cynical, pessimistic, hedonistic type of novel, though the philosophy behind it and within it is interesting and fascinating... no spoilers here though.. Janine I hope this looking into this book isn't just because of the title's close association to your name.. *suspicious look in whatever direction Janine might be* :D
Is "Sanine" a woman? Is she racy or a prostitude, courtesan? Haha - I love banned books. :lol: I read Lawrence, don't I?;) Lawrence sounds mild compared to this "Sanine" book. Is the book long?


... I found it on here a while ago.... they have this one of his on here, and a short story of his, which is also good... although he considered his best work to be "Death of Lande" ... but it is impossible to find.. but back to how I got it.. you can order it on amazon, form one of the used dealers that I guess they deal with... it just took a while to get here... but it was worth the $20 and the wait... watch which copy though.. some of them are being sold for $60 to $150... it is crazy what people think they can get for used books.. not a good way to promote reading...
On here - do you mean the text is on Lit Net? or someone mentioned it in a post? Is it a French novel? Yes, those prizes are a bit steep; silly people think they can sell books that are falling appart for that much. I saw a L book listed and they want $2000. for it! Ridiculous. I really wanted that book, too. The posthumus(post death -I need spell-check:( ) papers of Lawrence. I think I have to wait a bit to look into buying that book. I have all these Dostevesky books to read, you know, and at least 10 more Lawrence books to read that I bought from Amazon.


Janine you sound entirely too busy... but I am happy what I said made you feel good... I was being honest... you are a wonderful person to discuss stories with... and you did convince me to jump into the Lawrence thread and you and Virgil, Quark, Dark Muse, all made me feel welcome even while jumping in right at the end of a story to throw my two cents in... so Thank you all...
Totally too busy; but I do it to myself! :bawling: The things I mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg. There is tons more I have to do and starting next week. I procrastinated way too long already.
What you said made my night. It was so sweet and I think the nicest compliment or one of them I have gotten from a forum member. I really did feel I had accomplished something from my hardwork. See hard work does pay off, maybe not monetarily but in more important ways. That is how I feel about it. I value a good opinion and appreciation far more than anything money can buy. I am so glad you are going to try the Lawrence thread. I think you will definitely enjoy it and get a lot out of the discussions. :( I just hope I pick a good story everyone likes this time.


you know Janine Tess of the D'Urbevilles and Jude the Obscure are two of the most tragic and depressingly sad novels ever written I would say.. if you like this kind of writing there is an indo-canadian writer named Rohinton Mistry who wrote a book called "A Fine Balance" and it is one of my favourite books of the 20th century.. especially the latter half... it is so beautiful, yet so utterly and completely tragic... it had me in tears... much like Hardy's aforementioned works... the scene with Little father time was almost too much to bear, after everything else that goes on in the novel, you almost want to drop it right then, and try to forget this was based on a real occurence... Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I read the ending of Tess had some basis in reality too... I absolutely got very teary at the end of Tess, and in reading her letter to Angel after he had spurned her... How can the words not move you to tears...

Don't I know that but you are talking to someone who thrives on watching "Hamlet" at least once a month. I like tragedy better than comedy - go figure and I am not a depressed person at all, ever. I don't want to waste time being depressed. I don't know - are any babies, kids, puppies killed in that new book you suggested? I have to refrain currently from those type tragedies. If adults want to kill each other that's fine with me just not not kids or baby animals,*expectant grannie speaking again*.:)



I'm kind of out of the going out and causing a ruckus scene now... I just turned 24 a few weeks ago.. I had my time when I was a little too wild, and got myself into more trouble and gave myself more problem than I want to think about... but I find so many of the people who I end up around to be quite lacking in terms of originality or uniqueness, or even in being okay with who they are inside... I mean, I know some people like cars, and like to party.. but can anyone seriously say those are the passions of their lives... without sounding absurd.. well at least they do to me... Party as what they are passionate about.. well that is a good recipe for alcoholism and drug addiction I guess. and not to be a hypocrite for I did to a degree enjoy it myself for a couple years, and even now on a rare occasion I will let loose with some old friends when I drink a little too much, but I have nothing in common with most of these people because they hide what's truly inside them I believe... they put on a mask that says blatantly this is how society wants me to appear, so I appear this way... so I am inert.. I do a fair bit of climbing, go snowboarding on occasion, I love to just sit down with some sort of classical music, or celtic, or gregorian, and just read or write, have a glass of wine... play guitar badly, etc... I just have no desire to go out and party and get drunk... I also love movies, especially old movies.. classics... and silent films are a particular passion of mine... I love them....
Glad to hear it islandclimber! You obviously have your feet on the ground and you have come to that stage of maturity. I know my son went through the 'going out too late and drinking too much' stage and I was crazy at the time, over worry. I think he wised up a little later than you, but still glad he hit the mature stage finally. Now he is going to be a daddy, so he must slow up even more and his wife truly loves him and keeps his feet on the ground. He is not a literature type guy but he loves working with his hands and he is very clever and smart. He renovated his whole house and he is always building something.
No, I am very proud of you and that you didn't follow along with the crowd. As Frost said "I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference" - I think I quoted that right. You are truly a nice young man and know the genuine value of things that are important in life. You came to the right place here to meet up with similar thinking people. Hey, I went through the same stage, when I was younger - I know, it wears out fast - that bar scene/partying. The good things in life are everlasting.
I too, love old movies and new movies and Monty Python! ;) :lol: I love art and I love music and I love reading and I love nature - what more can a person ask for? We are all so blessed but many just don't realise it.


So I am glad I've found this site as a way to have interesting discussions, and to talk with interesting and unique, and wonderful people like in this thread... :)
and sorry for this ridiculous and long rant and rave about nothing in particular...:D Have fun at the baby shower Janine

You kidding ? - a person after my own heart. I am constantly rambling on; I have bored many a poster on Lit Net, I am sure....:lol: Just kidding, you are not boring me at all. I find your posts totally entertaining. We actually have a lot incommon. Wish I was younger; I would give you a run for your money, oops - will I be reprimanded for that remark? I wasn't stalking you, IC:lol: You know I am joshing with you!;) I am about to be a grannie.

Janine
03-29-2008, 01:15 AM
Ok, this is the second one I am answering - so don't miss the one before this:


okay so that post took me so long two posts appeared while I was writing it...:lol:

Happens to me all the time!.... us long-winded folk.:lol:



DM and Janine, I know about the long distance thing too... mine was 3000 miles though... we had been together for only a few mths when I had to move from Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada to just north of toronto in Ontario here for work... and then we didn't see each other all that often for the next 8mths when she moved in with me.. but I think being so consistently far apart, we didn't knwo what to do living together, so we broke up about 4 mths ago now... so i wish you much better luck DM.. and I am interested in the school/university thing too... Sorry to be nosy.. :D

Yeah, it makes it hard. I also once had a relationship 3000 miles away. Wow, that one died out fast, although maybe I made it more of a relationship than it was because we had known each other when we were kids and we wrote all the time, after we meet back in later life. Well, at least I got a nice trip to Washington state - actually two and a great time there, I must add. I love the place and the mountains are wonderful. Ever been there islandclimber?


yep.. Janine.. if you don't make it on time, I'll perform acts of sabotage in the engine room to hold up our departure, or if this is a sail boat, I will slash all the sails, and throw the rigging over board, until I see you running along the pier, arms filled with pages and pages of notes, and printed off stories, along the pier to leap on board... and off we go!!!!!!:p

:lol: :lol: This part made me laugh so hard.....:lol: very clever writing. If I don't make the boat just toss me a life saver!:lol: I will drift behind until I catch up.


We may want to discuss Notes From the Underground as we read it,.. not wait till the very end... it is a very dense 100 pages... in fact filled with information and things that make it hard to recall where you read something, in what order, etc, etc... you get the picture... some books are best meant to be discussed as you go, so you have a discussion to look back upon, to jog the memory.... and make final comments, and conclusions...

eeeeekkkkkkk.....not for awhile.....I promised Manolia I would read "The Rainbow" next and discuss it with her - I promised that a year ago. I have to come through soon; maybe in May. When we do discuss it we can do so as I read it. I will let you know when I can find the time. Seriously, it may be awhile.


well, more Monty Python for me... I hope you are all having wonderful friday nights...:D

Wish I had some MP to watch tonight. Getting late - I better go and watch the rest of that Lawrence play. Enjoy your laughing fits with MP!


Oops! almost forgot:

Quote by DarkMuse:

Right now I am taking two different english classess, haha probably will not come much as a shock

The British Novel from 1914 to 1945

and

American Fiction to 1914


DM,I should have guessed.:lol: that is great! Keep up the good work. You came to the right place here.

islandclimber
03-29-2008, 02:53 AM
Ok islandclimber - I better start with this one first:

sounds good

Which one are you watching?!!! OMG - I love Monty Python and my library has the TV series set, too. I recently, again watched "The Holy Grail" and "The Life of Brian". Just listening to Brian's mom's high voice, cracks me up. I am rolling with laughter :lol: I can be 2 rooms away and hear her and I am laughing - same with the series, which I must resume soon, the male's playing females is what makes me laugh the most, but then again - there are so many stellar moments!

I'm actually just watching episodes of the show... the movies are amazing, but the show is just so so so good... if your interested in voting in a little poll I put up a Monty Python's Flying Circus thread in General Chat, but no one seems interested... we must have unique taste;) ... but I love so many of the sketches... The Argument Room, The Ministry of Silly Walks.. my my, how does it get better than john Cleese complaining about how the government spent more on defense than on developing silly walks!!!!!!!:lol: Dead Parrot sketch or Four Yorkshire Men, or for those with literary tastes The Oscar Wilde sketch... all the famous sketches you can watch on youtube.. but I found the entire tv series online a couple years ago... so I'm set for life...

:lol: yes, just social i z i n g and getting to know everyone better....that is cool, don't you think? ;)

I think it is one of the best parts... it would be no fun discussing with complete strangers... and getting to know everyone is tons of fun...

Not long??? you kidding. Add them all together and you have a novella or short novel. I was feeling kind of like overwhelmed already. I also have to be reading these Lawrence stories now to be picking one for Tues. It is rather taxing on my end. I read super slowly, and it is against my religion to skim.

yes I don't like to skim either, if one is going to skim, why not just go read an outline... but I am lucky in that I can read quite quickly... but you do have alot to read... so for now we could always put summaries of the first two stories up

That is an interesting comparison or (s).

:D that's me.. always trying to see things where there is nothing...

Is "Sanine" a woman? Is she racy or a prostitude, courtesan? Haha - I love banned books. :lol: I read Lawrence, don't I?;) Lawrence sounds mild compared to this "Sanine" book. Is the book long?

On here - do you mean the text is on Lit Net? or someone mentioned it in a post? Is it a French novel? Yes, those prizes are a bit steep; silly people think they can sell books that are falling appart for that much. I saw a L book listed and they want $2000. for it! Ridiculous. I really wanted that book, too. The posthumus(post death -I need spell-check:( ) papers of Lawrence. I think I have to wait a bit to look into buying that book. I have all these Dostevesky books to read, you know, and at least 10 more Lawrence books to read that I bought from Amazon.

It's a 300 and something pages... so not short, but not long compared to other epic Russian novels... yes, another Russian, I have the russian addiction strong within me.. but actually I just think I am addicted to literature in general, regardless of language... if one looked at countries though, I do not read alot of american lit, though some that I have read I have loved... I just love the irish and the british in the english language for some reason... Yep the text of "Sanine" is on Litnet... Sanine is a man, with no values... no morals for that matter.. he doesn't believe in morals, he believes they prevent one from enjoying life one could say... I don't know if he goes further than Lawrence, in the way he puts it... Russia always had quite strict censorship of what was allowable... but the subject matter behind it and pervading it are definitely very provocative, and dark... oh and there are a couple very kind of perverse and appalling scenes I guess one could say, at least for that period people would have seen them so... and no babies or children hurt in the whole book!!! or animals!!!!!!! besides some hunting, but it doesn't go in depth into that... and hey I'm a vegan and I can handle hearing about the hunting, so... :D One day I will send you Sanine, I don't always keep books I read, I like to recirculate them, so they get read by others, and continually passed around, I love used books, they have a history and you can get many for so inexpensive a price

Totally too busy; but I do it to myself! :bawling: The things I mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg. There is tons more I have to do and starting next week. I procrastinated way too long already.

yep I know the busy feeling... I run a custom handcrafted log and timberframe house building shop here, (my father is the owner of the company but lives on the other side of the country)... so I often work anywhere from 50-80 hrs a week.. and then have my climbing, snowboarding, reading, writing, hiking, all that to do above.. so it is a good thing for me i have mild insomnia, or I would never have time...:D and my employee just quit, cuz we are too perfectionist about our work he put it... we shouldn't worry so much about doing a perfect job for people buying their dream homes I guess.. but I just can't help it, this is like art for me, I love to make it beautiful...


What you said made my night. It was so sweet and I think the nicest compliment or one of them I have gotten from a forum member. I really did feel I had accomplished something from my hardwork. See hard work does pay off, maybe not monetarily but in more important ways. That is how I feel about it. I value a good opinion and appreciation far more than anything money can buy. I am so glad you are going to try the Lawrence thread. I think you will definitely enjoy it and get a lot out of the discussions. :( I just hope I pick a good story everyone likes this time.

I am sure you will:)

Don't I know that but you are talking to someone who thrives on watching "Hamlet" at least once a month. I like tragedy better than comedy - go figure and I am not a depressed person at all, ever. I don't want to waste time being depressed. I don't know - are any babies, kids, puppies killed in that new book you suggested? I have to refrain currently from those type tragedies. If adults want to kill each other that's fine with me just not not kids or baby animals,*expectant grannie speaking again*.:)

no babies, kids, baby animals hurt... just adults and I won't say anymore for fear of giving too much away...

Glad to hear it islandclimber! You obviously have your feet on the ground and you have come to that stage of maturity. I know my son went through the 'going out too late and drinking too much' stage and I was crazy at the time, over worry. I think he wised up a little later than you, but still glad he hit the mature stage finally. Now he is going to be a daddy, so he must slow up even more and his wife truly loves him and keeps his feet on the ground. He is not a literature type guy but he loves working with his hands and he is very clever and smart. He renovated his whole house and he is always building something.

working with one's hands is great... that is what I do.. it is fun, it is like a form of art I believe, the creation... that is great he is in such a good relationship, they seem so rare these days

No, I am very proud of you and that you didn't follow along with the crowd. As Frost said "I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference" - I think I quoted that right. You are truly a nice young man and know the genuine value of things that are important in life. You came to the right place here to meet up with similar thinking people. Hey, I went through the same stage, when I was younger - I know, it wears out fast - that bar scene/partying. The good things in life are everlasting.
I too, love old movies and new movies and Monty Python! ;) :lol: I love art and I love music and I love reading and I love nature - what more can a person ask for? We are all so blessed but many just don't realise it.

AGREED:D

Have fun at the baby shower Janine

You kidding ? - a person after my own heart. I am constantly rambling on; I have bored many a poster on Lit Net, I am sure....:lol: Just kidding, you are not boring me at all. I find your posts totally entertaining. We actually have a lot incommon. Wish I was younger; I would give you a run for your money, oops - will I be reprimanded for that remark? I wasn't stalking you, IC:lol: You know I am joshing with you!;) I am about to be a grannie.

:lol: no reprimands from this quarter :lol: and hey, you keep your hands off that imaginary money of mine!!!:lol:



oh i need 5 characters outside the quote.. hey and now i have them.. i am so good at this:D


Ok, this is the second one I am answering - so don't miss the one before this:

check

Well, at least I got a nice trip to Washington state - actually two and a great time there, I must add. I love the place and the mountains are wonderful. Ever been there islandclimber?

I lived only a hundred miles up the coast from Washington... on Vancouver Island... well on a little island called Mistaken Island, off Vancouver Island actually... I've been to Washington State a few times.. if you were by the coast of washington State you would have been in the coastal and cascade mountain ranges which go right through oregon and washington up into british columbia.. the whole pacific coast is so so so beautiful.. the old growth rainforests also add to this...

:lol: :lol: This part made me laugh so hard.....:lol: very clever writing. If I don't make the boat just toss me a life saver!:lol: I will drift behind until I catch up.

so we better arrange this for a tropical place... so you aren't liable to catch hypothermia

eeeeekkkkkkk.....not for awhile.....I promised Manolia I would read "The Rainbow" next and discuss it with her - I promised that a year ago. I have to come through soon; maybe in May. When we do discuss it we can do so as I read it. I will let you know when I can find the time. Seriously, it may be awhile.

take as long as needed, i am in no hurry... I wasn't trying to suggest we do it soon.. just someday.. even if it's 5 years from now!!!:p

Wish I had some MP to watch tonight. Getting late - I better go and watch the rest of that Lawrence play. Enjoy your laughing fits with MP!

How was the play?
.


DarkMuse what do you have to read for those courses???

Janine
03-29-2008, 03:24 AM
islandclimber, You last two posts were a riot! I will comment more on them tomorrow. I was thoroughly entertained, while reading those! There is a lot to answer there. Your form seems a little Monty Pythonish! hahaaha :lol:
I just finished watching the Lawrence play. It was very intense and great acting; yes, I liked it very much and L wrote it early on I believe. It was very much like the short story 'Odour of Chrysanthamums'. I felt it had one element not included in the short story - another man. This made it quite interesting. I will have to read up on this play and see just what Lawrence had in mind when he wrote it and also the origins of the idea. I felt the other man was very Lawrence-like, but I could be wrong.
Well, I don't have insomnia and I did not reading tonight - naughty me. I was too tired out to read. I can catch up tomorrow. So, anyway - off to bed it is for me. I need sleep!
See you all tomorrow!

Dark Muse
03-29-2008, 11:28 AM
DarkMuse what do you have to read for those courses???

The Brit Lit. Class I do not know, the teacher has not posted the syllabes online for the class, or any info about it, so I will have to wait tell I go to class which will be Thursday to find out.

The American Fiction class, we are reading short stories by:

Poe
Melville
Henry James
Stephen Crane

and two novels

The House of Mirth, By Edith Wharton
The Blithedale Romance By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Well I know we have not offically started dicussing it yet, but sense some people have already finnished About Love, there was one thing I noticed in the story that I was currious about, that I do not think really has so much to do with the content of the story, but I just found it odd, so it was nagging at me. So I was wondering if anyone could explain.

When Alehin was telling his story, within the story he is refered to as Parvel Konstantinovitch

So I was wondering where did the name Alehin come from?

Quark
03-29-2008, 12:41 PM
When Alehin was telling his story, within the story he is refered to as Parvel Konstantinovitch

So I was wondering where did the name Alehin come from?

The friends refer to him as Alekhin, but the characters in the his story call him Pavel Konstantinovitch because it's more formal. I'm not sure which name Alekhin is, though. I've talked/complained about this earlier in other discussions on Russian Lit. The characters have four names and you never know which they're going to use. There's first, middle, and last, but then there's also a nickname. So who knows which Alekhin is?


Oh, and I can't possible comment on everything that was said last night--so many posts. I would just say that if you're going to read Notes from the Underground let me know so we can make a thread. Also, I would suggest any Monty Python fans to youtube it. There are some great bits online. Hope the classes go well, DM. With a name like American Fiction to 1914, though, you don't really know what you're going to get. Hopefully you'll do Moby Dick so we can talk about it. I wrote my grad writing sample on it, and it's still on my mind.

Dark Muse
03-29-2008, 12:44 PM
The friends refer to him as Alekhin, but the characters in the his story call him Pavel Konstantinovitch because it's more formal. I'm not sure which name Alekhin is, though. I've talked/complained about this earlier in other discussions on Russian Lit. The characters have four names and you never know which they're going to use. There's first, middle, and last, but then there's also a nickname. So who knows which Alekhin is?

Ahh ok, thanks for clearing that up for me

Janine
03-29-2008, 04:57 PM
Hello Everyone!

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!! It is me again and I actually read the first story last night 'The Man in the Case'....I surprised myself; ofcourse, I think I got to sleep at 5AM! I seem to think I can do it all, but then I sleep super late - not good.:(

I have two impressions of the story - won't give anything away at all. Firstly, it is a 'frame story', and now I take it the one we will be discussing is also a 'frame story'? Am I right, DM, Quark?....and second I also noticed the multiple name thing cropping up, as DM did; which also confuses the heck out of me in Russian novels...*groan groan*. Maybe this is why I have avoided some so far; it is sometimes a struggle for me to read them. Some of us just can't process all those names for one person. I personally, can't keep them straight (any suggestions?) so I think I may have difficulty, as well, with all of these stories. Now I am determined to read the second story working up to the one will will discuss; possibly this event will take place tonight or tomorrow night; then onward to the story, we will be offically discussing. I should be able to board the ship by Tues, as I promised. No need to throw me a life preserver!:D

Ok, I liked that story very much. Only comment - I think the guy was a 'case' himself! ;) :lol:

Oh, we have a few Monty Python fans here - cool! After Chekhov :bawling: we need a bit of humor! :D :lol: ;) I will check out your youtube, Quark. Somehow I had not pictured you as a MP fan. I thought you were too tragic for that. On my, I am already pretty addicted to youtube. It is endless what one can find on there! I love the celebrity interviews and concert clips and trailers and........

Quark, don't worry about answering all those late night posts of ours. Mostly we all were just social i z i n g.....getting to know each other better. Sorry you missed the fun. By the way, I have two of the CD sets made so far; one for you and one for Virgil. I have yet to complete them, adding disc 3. That should be no problem and can complete when watching a DVD. Computer is just a few feet from my TV and couch.

islandclimber I am back again. Hope you did get some sleep, Mr. Insomnia! :eek:


I lived only a hundred miles up the coast from Washington... on Vancouver Island... well on a little island called Mistaken Island, off Vancouver Island actually... I've been to Washington State a few times.. if you were by the coast of washington State you would have been in the coastal and cascade mountain ranges which go right through oregon and washington up into british columbia.. the whole pacific coast is so so so beautiful.. the old growth rainforests also add to this...

Oh my gosh! I have not been to Vancouver Island, but close. My friend did Navy training there. He was in the reserves - Navy Air. I guess the furthest north we went was Rialto Beach - I just loved it there and think about it all the time. Although one night we camped right across from Victoria, Canada, that may have been more North. We could see the lights across the harbour - amazing and so beautiful. I never saw so many stars before this. The plan was this: fly into Seattle, visit with friends of his (one weekend) and then take off, with only a two man tent, and tour the Olympic Pennisula. It was amazing crossing the Pudget Sound and the going North. North is always good in my book; well if the weather is not too harsh that time of year. The coastline got prettier and prettier. It is awesome there in Rialto Beach area. I took some great photos of the drift wood (whole trees) and the sea-stakes. I loved those the best and actually brought back some of the rounded stones. On the way back we went to the rainforest and some other beaches and saw the mountains from a distance till we made it to my friend's house in Yakama. Then in the following week we made day trips and to Mt. Rainer - which range is that mountain in? Is that considered the coastal or cascade? While on the Pennisula one outstanding place was this lake - can't recall it's name now (have to review my tourist books) but it was formed by a crater and at one time they did not know the depth of it. All I know is swimming there was mighty frigid....brrrrr :cold: So which range of mountains would that be - coastal, I would guess. I better stop this babbling. We may be disrupting this thread too much. I should scan some of my photos (pre-digital days) and post on the photo thread and then we can talk more about the coastline. I have been up and down the whole of West Coast and seen the coastline several times. My sister lived in Northern CA.


so we better arrange this for a tropical place... so you aren't liable to catch hypothermia

No need now; I think I may make it on time to climb the gang-plank (?) to the ship. If not just throw me a rope! I will tread water.


take as long as needed, i am in no hurry... I wasn't trying to suggest we do it soon.. just someday.. even if it's 5 years from now!!!

5 yrs sounds about right! :lol: No just kidding; I think I may be able to fit it in, sometime prior to that. I will let you all know......


I'm actually just watching episodes of the show... the movies are amazing, but the show is just so so so good... if your interested in voting in a little poll I put up a Monty Python's Flying Circus thread in General Chat, but no one seems interested... we must have unique taste ... but I love so many of the sketches... The Argument Room, The Ministry of Silly Walks.. my my, how does it get better than john Cleese complaining about how the government spent more on defense than on developing silly walks!!!!!!! Dead Parrot sketch or Four Yorkshire Men, or for those with literary tastes The Oscar Wilde sketch... all the famous sketches you can watch on youtube.. but I found the entire tv series online a couple years ago... so I'm set for life...
Hard to believe we are discussing MP on the Chekhov thread...:lol: What a switch! I loved the TV shows - my son and I always watched them together and then later the films. Those are good episodes. I must get back to watching the ones from my library - I better hurry before someone steals them - believe me it happens!


I think it is one of the best parts... it would be no fun discussing with complete strangers... and getting to know everyone is tons of fun...

Well the theory of mine goes: if you have a good friendly atmosphere on these threads, they will ultimately be much better in the discussion period. I think Quark mentioned this to me recently and we agreed upon it. We all need a little 'human' conversation/contact and a chuckle once in awhile.;) Last night we were in a lull and needed some 'down' time or social time. It was great.

Let me finish the rest of your post later.....

Dark Muse
03-29-2008, 06:13 PM
Well if it is any consolation Janine, I read Gooseberries today, and I do not recall that story having multipiles names used within it.

And yes About Love is set up in the same way.

Bascialy each of the three stories, Is a different story told by one of the characters.

The Man in the Case was Burkin's story

Gooseberries was Ivan's story

and About Love is Alekhin's story.

And each of the different stories, seems to me, to tell of a different aspect of human nature

Janine
03-29-2008, 06:22 PM
Well if it is any consolation Janine, I read Gooseberries today, and I do not recall that story having multipiles names used within it.

And yes About Love is set up in the same way.

Bascialy each of the three stories, Is a different story told by one of the characters.

The Man in the Case was Burkin's story

Gooseberries was Ivan's story

and About Love is Alekhin's story.

And each of the different stories, seems to me, to tell of a different aspect of human nature

Thanks, Dark Muse, that was really insightful and I liked the way you outlined that for me. I will read "Gooseberries" next. Moving right along.......:D

Quark
03-29-2008, 11:38 PM
SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!! It is me again and I actually read the first story last night 'The Man in the Case'....I surprised myself; ofcourse, I think I got to sleep at 5AM! I seem to think I can do it all, but then I sleep super late - not good.:(

With everyone reading all three stories we may have to make this discussion longer than just a month. I guess we'll see how it goes. What did you think of "The Man in the Case?"


I have two impressions of the story - won't give anything away at all. Firstly, it is a 'frame story', and now I take it the one we will be discussing is also a 'frame story'?

Yeah, each of them is a story told within a story. The three characters (one of which isn't introduced yet in "The Man in a Case") have their own tale which they tell in the story.


No need to throw me a life preserver!:D

Well hang in there. Sorry to make you read three stories.


Ok, I liked that story very much. Only comment - I think the guy was a 'case' himself! ;) :lol:

I was waiting for someone to make that joke.


Oh, we have a few Monty Python fans here - cool! After Chekhov :bawling: we need a bit of humor! :D :lol: ;) I will check out your youtube, Quark. Somehow I had not pictured you as a MP fan. I thought you were too tragic for that. On my, I am already pretty addicted to youtube. It is endless what one can find on there! I love the celebrity interviews and concert clips and trailers and........

Oh no, I love Monty Python. It's just out of the Chekhov stories I like the tragic ones. Chekhov did write a lot of goofy, comic stories earlier in his career. In fact, most of his stories probably fall under that category, but the jokes are so topical and Russian that we wouldn't get them. That's why I cleave more to the darker stories.


By the way, I have two of the CD sets made so far; one for you and one for Virgil. I have yet to complete them, adding disc 3. That should be no problem and can complete when watching a DVD. Computer is just a few feet from my TV and couch.

I'm done with my extra Chekhov book, too. I'll email you tomorrow and we can swap.


islandclimber I am back again. Hope you did get some sleep, Mr. Insomnia! :eek:

Well it's good that you've met a fellow insomniac in island.


Well the theory of mine goes: if you have a good friendly atmosphere on these threads, they will ultimately be much better in the discussion period. I think Quark mentioned this to me recently and we agreed upon it. We all need a little 'human' conversation/contact and a chuckle once in awhile.;) Last night we were in a lull and needed some 'down' time or social time. It was great.

Yeah, the story discussion usually doesn't take the whole month, so there's this down time at the end. Some casual chat at the end of the month is a good way to end.


And each of the different stories, seems to me, to tell of a different aspect of human nature

That's an interesting interpretation. You'll have to explain more later.

Dark Muse
03-29-2008, 11:56 PM
That's an interesting interpretation. You'll have to explain more later.

When we offically begin disucssion, I shall elaborate more upon my viewpoint

Janine
03-30-2008, 12:53 AM
With everyone reading all three stories we may have to make this discussion longer than just a month. I guess we'll see how it goes. What did you think of "The Man in the Case?"

Quark, I had the same thought. I don't know what I think of it tonight. I am too worn out to think (12:27AM here) and I have been going back and forth for hours between this thread and the L thread. Soon I have to head for bed, since I have to get up early tomorrow - something I am not at all used to:bawling: eek. I should be ironing my clothes now for tomorrow, but I am goofing off on here instead. Not good but more fun!


Yeah, each of them is a story told within a story. The three characters (one of which isn't introduced yet in "The Man in a Case") have their own tale which they tell in the story.

A 'frame-story' like "Ethan Frome"....interesting....and I noticed the first story was not in the present tense, was it?


Well hang in there. Sorry to make you read three stories.

Not complaining because I can see the ship now and I will make it onboard on-time. Ahoy, anchors away!


I was waiting for someone to make that joke.

Figures I would. It seemed to be a 'given'...I was not far into it and thought it. I kept thinking maybe this guy had a disorder, like the one when you can't go out anywhere - forget the name of it - acrophobia, is it? or agoraphobia...something like that? Or maybe he wished to live in an bubble...maybe he was OCD and afraid of germs. At anyrate, I did feel he needed to see a psychiatrist. Something wasn't right there. I felt the poor man needed help. I wonder if Chekhov based the story on a real man? OR, seriously, do you think he fabricated him as a sort of fable type character, not quite real, just to get his idea across? He certainly was eccentric. Of course, the funny part was the thought that he might indeed get married. Also, what woman would go for someone like that? One thing for certain - he did not seem to be a very tolerant or happy man. He seemed terrible strick and stodgy and unreasonable. The bike riding took the cake!


Oh no, I love Monty Python. It's just out of the Chekhov stories I like the tragic ones. Chekhov did write a lot of goofy, comic stories earlier in his career. In fact, most of his stories probably fall under that category, but the jokes are so topical and Russian that we wouldn't get them. That's why I cleave more to the darker stories.

Unbelievable, our tragic Quark loves MP! :lol: but then again I have noticed some sick or goofy senses of humor in you at times. Was that when Chekhov was young and really good looking? I have a few photos, I found online, of which, I think the guy is pretty cute. I found this wonderful photo of him, in a book I own of different authors, and I will scan and post soon. He was pretty young in this one, too and looked very moody. You will like it. How can I put it - it is very Russian looking - his clothing and shirt and all.


I'm done with my extra Chekhov book, too. I'll email you tomorrow and we can swap.

Oh good, the one with the interesting coffee stain on it. Maybe it will tell my future - do you read coffee grounds? :lol: I can burn that last CD soon and then send them off.


Well it's good that you've met a fellow insomniac in island.

No, I am not one! Hardly. I don't sleep well at night though due to medical problems, but I can fall asleep with no problems. Usually I just don't want to go to bed - too much to see and do - life is too exciting! So much to do so little time. Wish we got an age and we didn't have to sleep or eat. Maybe humans will develop into that state someday. Their brains will take over.


Yeah, the story discussion usually doesn't take the whole month, so there's this down time at the end. Some casual chat at the end of the month is a good way to end.

I like the chit chat sometimes - we are only humans aferall. Nice to end on a pleasant happy note, even if Chekhov is usually tragic.:bawling:



That's an interesting interpretation. You'll have to explain more later.

Yes, I will wait to hear that also when we begin. The ship leaves the docks on Tues, right?

islandclimber
03-30-2008, 01:59 AM
Hi all! So many posts pop up in a day of absence :lol:... I am going to have to see if I can declare abstinence from this site for a whole 24 hours sometime.. with my computer nearby... I think it may be impossible :p

Yes, the multiple name thing is one of the more confusing parts of Russian lit... but the good thing is that after a thorough grounding in it, and much reading you become very good at following the names... It has taken me awhile though... Almost all of Dostoevsky, alot of Chekhov, of Tolstoy (not my favourite), some Turgenev, Gogol, Kuprin, Pushkin, Lermontov, Bulgakov, Gorky (a great short story writer too), Solzenitsyn, Sholokov(who I despise), Bely, Artybashev, Goncharov, and Bunin (who is probably one of the best Russian short story writers of all and the first Russian to win the Nobel Prize)... but once you're through about all that you finally begin to follow the names without even thinking about it :D :lol: just kidding, it isn't quite that bad,.. I'm sure Quark knows the feeling...

Janine, I'll send you a PM about the pacific coast as it appears we are closing in on the story... *ben zips his mouth shout, and makes a serious face, no more silly talk from him*

I look forward to the discussion of these stories within stories! it is like Anton Chekhov's " The Three Russian Days!!!!" :D (sorry about the terrible joke)

Janine
03-30-2008, 10:35 AM
Hi all! So many posts pop up in a day of absence :lol:... I am going to have to see if I can declare abstinence from this site for a whole 24 hours sometime.. with my computer nearby... I think it may be impossible :p

Is that really possible? I have tried, but I have not achieved that goal yet. Someone actually emailed Logos and begged her to ban them from the site. They said they were 'helplessly addicted'. She posted some of the funniest email requests she ever received. That one topped them all, but I could relate.



Yes, the multiple name thing is one of the more confusing parts of Russian lit... but the good thing is that after a thorough grounding in it, and much reading you become very good at following the names... It has taken me awhile though... Almost all of Dostoevsky, alot of Chekhov, of Tolstoy (not my favourite), some Turgenev, Gogol, Kuprin, Pushkin, Lermontov, Bulgakov, Gorky (a great short story writer too), Solzenitsyn, Sholokov(who I despise), Bely, Artybashev, Goncharov, and Bunin (who is probably one of the best Russian short story writers of all and the first Russian to win the Nobel Prize)... but once you're through about all that you finally begin to follow the names without even thinking about it :D :lol: just kidding, it isn't quite that bad,.. I'm sure Quark knows the feeling...

Yikes! No wonder I have avoided most of those authors. I have read Turgenev, Tolstoy and now Chekhov. I am impressed with your reading list. You sure do like the Russian novelists. Even after reading all those, I would still have to think hard just who is who, with multiple names....some look entirely different from each other.



Janine, I'll send you a PM about the pacific coast as it appears we are closing in on the story... *ben zips his mouth shout, and makes a serious face, no more silly talk from him*

Good idea. I got a little carried away. Get me talking about my trips West and that is what happens. I also had something to discuss and to ask you. *now ben is super curious*;)


I look forward to the discussion of these stories within stories! it is like Anton Chekhov's " The Three Russian Days!!!!" :D (sorry about the terrible joke)

Yes, I am looking forward to them too, but I did make it to the reading of "Gooseberries" last night. Hope I can do that tonight. I was on the computer too late and I woke up super early and could not go back to sleep...*groan...yawn* - I caught you and Quark's insomnia. You two jinks me!:bawling:

Quark
03-30-2008, 01:29 PM
I'm sure Quark knows the feeling...

I'm going through it right now as I'm reading The Possessed. Try to keep Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky separate in your mind from Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky. Those two names are pretty tricky, but apart from them you also have to remember Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin, Maria Timofeevna Lebyadkin, and of course Mavriky Nikolaevich Drozdov. By chapter five, I'm pretty lost. Eventually I get them straight. It just takes much reiteration. I still groan when new characters are introduced, though. I particularly hate it when Dostoevsky tells me the complete name of a character and then gets rid of him. It's a total waste of my nominal memory. At least with Chekhov there aren't so many characters.


I kept thinking maybe this guy had a disorder, like the one when you can't go out anywhere - forget the name of it - acrophobia, is it? or agoraphobia...something like that? Or maybe he wished to live in an bubble...maybe he was OCD and afraid of germs. At anyrate, I did feel he needed to see a psychiatrist. Something wasn't right there. I felt the poor man needed help. I wonder if Chekhov based the story on a real man? OR, seriously, do you think he fabricated him as a sort of fable type character, not quite real, just to get his idea across?

Agoraphobia is the fear of open places, and Belikov--with his umbrellas, upturned collars, and protective layers--may have suffered from it. He isn't obsessive or compulsive, though. He's just defensive. As for where Chekhov came up with the idea, I think you're closer when you call him a fable-type character. He isn't based on any one person. At least I don't think so. Belikov is simply the protagonist of Burkov's story. Chekhov probably came up with him to give Burkov's reflections more focus.


Oh good, the one with the interesting coffee stain on it. Maybe it will tell my future - do you read coffee grounds? :lol: I can burn that last CD soon and then send them off.

The stain sort of looks like an inkblot test, so I'm sure your interpretation of it would tell volumes about your psychological state.


Wish we got an age and we didn't have to sleep or eat. Maybe humans will develop into that state someday. Their brains will take over.

Aren't Americans eating more rather than less? Everyone I know seems to be moving toward an increasingly bloated and somnolent lifestyle. In my town a McDonalds opened up, and now the drive-through has a line of cars wrapping around the building at all hours. The late night LitNet habit doesn't appear to be one that's going to catch on--well, not here at least.

Janine
04-01-2008, 04:29 PM
I'm going through it right now as I'm reading The Possessed. Try to keep Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky separate in your mind from Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky. Those two names are pretty tricky, but apart from them you also have to remember Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin, Maria Timofeevna Lebyadkin, and of course Mavriky Nikolaevich Drozdov. By chapter five, I'm pretty lost. Eventually, I get them straight. It just takes much reiteration. I still groan when new characters are introduced, though. I particularly hate it when Dostoevsky tells me the complete name of a character and then gets rid of him. It's a total waste of my nominal memory. At least with Chekhov they're aren't so many characters.

Yeah - 'It just takes much reiteration' and perserverance! :bawling:



Agoraphobia is the fear of open places, and Belikov--with his umbrellas, upturned collars, and protective layers--may have suffered from it. He isn't obsessive or compulsive, though. He's just defensive. As for where Chekhov came up with the idea, I think you're closer when you call him a fable-type character. He isn't based on any one person. At least I don't think so. Belikov is simply the protagonist of Burkov's story. Chekhov probably came up with him to give Burkov's reflections more focus.

Quark, Thanks for clearing that up. I do think he was suffering from that disorder. This story is really funny, near where I live, actually in the suburbs of Philadelphia there was this infamous man who everyone spoke of - instead of covering himself up all the time he wore shorts in all weather, even snow! The said his legs were bright red and it did not seem to bother him one bit -talk about eccentric. Here is the clincher - he always carried an umbrella!...rain of snow or ice or sun...didn't matter. When I started to read this story, I thought of this guy.

Well, my impression of Belikov, is that he was hiding from the world, and did not care to be 'touched' by it, or anyone for that matter, in anyway. He was like someone hiding behind a disguise. I can't concieve of the fact, that he ever could entertain the thought of getting married and having physical contact with his wife, being so protective of his physical self. Maybe he would have married, but remained celebate and distant, who knows? I guess love surpasses all bounds. I still think he might have been hiding an element of 'obsessive compulsive' behavior. They usually form a fear of many things and it sounds like he had that fear. Back then, they did not diagnos these disorders and therefore, there was no drug to help control these symptoms. OCD people do form relationships, unbelievably, and definitely fall in-love.

Because it is a 'frame' story, it certainly does give focus to this odd man and his story, which ends up being a very tragic and sad tale.


The stain sort of looks like an inkblot test, so I'm sure your interpretation of it would tell volumes about your psychological state.

Quark, that is exactly what I was thinking. I might read something 'ominous' in the mark, or something forseeing a good thing to happen to me, soon. I hope it is not so warped it won't fit into my bookcase - of course, that has reached it's maximum, anyway. I am glad to get the book, truly I am, and I appreciate you offering it to me. The one I bought of Lawrence, Volume 2 of short stories, is now in pieces. I wonder if I can sew, glue or punch holes in it and put it back together in a folder. It was thrown in free with the other one, I bought from that seller, so I really can't complain. It still reads - that is all that is important to me:D

Aren't Americans eating more rather than less? Everyone I know seems to be moving toward an increasingly bloated and somnolent lifestyle. In my town a McDonalds opened up, and now the drive-through has a line of cars wrapping around the building at all hours. The late night LitNet habit doesn't appear to be one that's going to catch on--well, not here at least.

Well, oddly enough, as one ages you seem to eat less. This is true of me, anyway. Yes, as a general rule Americans do eat way, way too much food, especially at restaurants, which serve double portions. I usually bring food home and get two or even three meals out of it. Stay clear of McDonalds! Ever see the calorie/fat count in those burgers? Yikes!!! What is the 'late night Lit Net habit' anyway? For me, if on the computer, I usually don't munch - sticky keys you know...ick. If watching a DVD, I tend to want to eat something though. I try to stick to things not too fattening, but guess what? The less I seem to eat, the more pounds I seem to put on; does that make sense? I guess being a 'computer addict' and a 'couch potato' does not help. Come spring, I swear, I must begin a walking routine. I will start next week, right?;) Yeah right..... :lol:

OK, good news and bad news! First, I did finish reading "About Love" last night, before nodding off. I found the story very sad and depressing, actually; but it was good, very well written, as usual. I hoped to read "Gooseberries" at brunch today, but my eyes were too blurry, from left over sleep. I will try and read it tonight. I need to finish my novel tonight, too - "Camille" before I totally forget what I read so far. I only have two short chapters to go, for heaven sake.

So, considering I finished my reading, of this current Chekhov story, EVERYONE, feel free to post away!
I won't need that life preserver, after all, or the tow rope. The ship can sail! yeah....Bon Voyage! :lol:

Dark Muse
04-01-2008, 06:52 PM
I just wanted to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this story. In fact I enjoyed all three of the stories, and found that each of them offered a rather interesting persepctive, and I look forwad to this discussion.

Quark
04-01-2008, 08:03 PM
It's April 1st, and that means the beginning of another Chekhov discussion. This month we're reading:
"About Love" http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1291/

It's the last of a three story cycle which examines similar themes through the stories of each of its main characters. But, like I said before, each story is quite distinct, and you don't have to read all three to understand just one of them. For summary, I'll try to stay vague so as not give anything away. "About Love" is told mostly by Alekhin who is entertaining two guests when the topic of love comes up. The host comments on the mysteries surrounding love and then breaks into a very revealing personal narrative. Alekhin charges his story with both philosophy and feeling to create something that's more than just an answer to questions brought up earlier in the conversation, but also an entertaining and moving experience for the listeners. Beyond that I can't say much without giving it away. If it goes over well, maybe we'll read the other two stories that are linked with this one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Introduction out of the way, let's get to the story. Feel free to make any comments you want, but I think I'll start at the beginning. "About Love" starts with Alekhin's description of Pelegea and Nikanor's tempestuous relationship:
Alehin told us that the beautiful Pelagea was in love with this cook. As he drank and was of a violent character, she did not want to marry him, but was willing to live with him without. He was very devout, and his religious convictions would not allow him to "live in sin"; he insisted on her marrying him, and would consent to nothing else, and when he was drunk he used to abuse her and even beat her. Whenever he got drunk she used to hide upstairs and sob, and on such occasions Alehin and the servants stayed in the house to be ready to defend her in case of necessity.

We began talking about love.

"How love is born," said Alehin, "why Pelagea does not love somebody more like herself in her spiritual and external qualities, and why she fell in love with Nikanor, that ugly snout -- we all call him 'The Snout'

What's the purpose of this story? It leads into Alekhin's argument well, but how similar is it really to Alekhin's love affair? Alekhin avers that we should "individualize" each affection, but clearly there's some connection between the two couples. What is the connection?



I just wanted to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this story. In fact I enjoyed all three of the stories, and found that each of them offered a rather interesting persepctive, and I look forwad to this discussion.

Alright, I know I've been holding you guys back for the past few days, but now you can post away. It's good you enjoyed the story, though. It is one of my favorites.


actually in the suburbs of Philadelphia there was this infamous man who everyone spoke of - instead of covering himself up all the time he wore shorts in all weather, even snow! The said his legs were bright red and it did not seem to bother him one bit -talk about eccentric. Here is the clincher - he always carried an umbrella!...rain of snow or ice or sun...didn't matter. When I started to read this story, I thought of this guy.

Every city has its one weather-oblivious guy. I always wonder what these people are trying to prove. That their nerve endings are damaged? Put on some pants!


Well, my impression of Belikov, is that he was hiding from the world, and did not care to be 'touched' by it, or anyone for that matter, in anyway. He was like someone hiding behind a disguise.

Yeah, that's the idea. But, the question is why, and what effect does his hiding have on the people around him.


I am glad to get the book, truly I am, and I appreciate you offering it to me.

Hey, I'm getting something in return, aren't I? Thanks are nice, but I can't put them in my CD player.


The one I bought of Lawrence, Volume 2 of short stories, is now in pieces. I wonder if I can sew, glue or punch holes in it and put it back together in a folder. It was thrown in free with the other one, I bought from that seller, so I really can't complain. It still reads - that is all that is important to me:D

I've got a book like that. I've found that tape works best for book repairs--particularly electrical tape. For aesthetics, try to find tape that's thin and matches in color.


I try to stick to things not too fattening, but guess what? The less I seem to eat, the more pounds I seem to put on; does that make sense? I guess being a 'computer addict' and a 'couch potato' does not help. Come spring, I swear, I must begin a walking routine. I will start next week, right?;) Yeah right..... :lol:

Or, maybe the lesson from that is to eat more. I devour food ravenously yet I've always been thin as a rail. I sometimes wonder what fat even feels like. Is it like wearing a vest?

Janine
04-01-2008, 09:25 PM
Introduction out of the way, let's get to the story. Feel free to make any comments you want, but I think I'll start at the beginning. "About Love" starts with Alekhin's description of Pelegea and Nikanor's tempestuous relationship:

:thumbs_up Good job, Quark, on the introduction! That was just enough to say and leads us right into the discussion. Maybe, I can dig up some kind of illustration for this story....Russian umbrella and golashes maybe....hahaha:lol:


What's the purpose of this story? It leads into Alekhin's argument well, but how similar is it really to Alekhin's love affair? Alekhin avers that we should "individualize" each affection, but clearly there's some connection between the two couples. What is the connection?

Good questions, but already I am lost. I think you should give us your opinion or maybe someone else. I am good at reading the post and listening. Dark Muse, have you an ideas on these questions of Quark's? I guess fatique is making me dumb tonight.:( Also, wait a minute - how do you spell A's name. You spelled it one way in your post and another in your quoted text. See, I already confused with the names.
Dark Muse, glad you liked the story. I am still undecided to my own sentiments on either of the stories, I have read so far. I thought this one was kind of amusing at times, but then really, really sad, too. I liked 'The Man in the Case', but probably need a re-reading to clearly recall all of that. Yes, I too can see the connections so far.


Alright, I know I've been holding you guys back for the past few days, but now you can post away. It's good you enjoyed the story, though. It is one of my favorites.

Oh, you have - I thought I was the one holding everyone up. I only need now to read 'Gooseberries' to complete this trilogy. I read 'About Love' last night with one eye shut and the other drooping. I almost did not make it to the last page, but whew - I did. I didn't want to swim alone in that cold water trying to catch up to the boat.:lol:




Every city has its one weather-oblivious guy. I always wonder what these people are trying to prove. That their nerve endings are damaged? Put on some pants!

Interesting. That was the first older guy I had heard of. He was quite infamous in his neighborhood and neighboring towns - he would wander with those 'beet red' legs miles from wherever he lived.


Yeah, that's the idea. But, the question is why, and what effect does his hiding have on the people around him.

To be honest with you; I have no idea. :idea: I am sort of out of it tonight. I felt bad after eating my dinner and tired before...I might just be suffering 'burn-out' right now. Maybe the answer will come to me tomorrow, but right now, Janine is totally blank and blurry-eyed.:eek:


Hey, I'm getting something in return, aren't I? Thanks are nice, but I can't put them in my CD player.

Yes, I told you I would send you them; I've two of the discs burned so far.*as the police handcuff me and drag me off for copying CD's*.....


I've got a book like that. I've found that tape works best for book repairs--particularly electrical tape. For aesthetics, try to find tape that's thin and matches in color.

hummm...I don't really like tape...it gets warm out and it melts and then the book gets gummy. I will probaby just put this one in a box and take it out in segments. Someday I will buy another one, if I see one reasonable.



Or, maybe the lesson from that is to eat more. I devour food ravenously yet I've always been thin as a rail. I sometimes wonder what fat even feels like. Is it like wearing a vest?

Oh STOP, don't rub it in! eeeekkkk....you are too much, Quark! I am not that fat yet. It is just a bit uncomforable to me, when jeans become tight; I used to wear a size 3 and then a 5, juniors...I won't mention the size I now wear, but actually I still do shop in the junior's department, so that can't be that bad, for someone my age. I have small bone structure! And by the way, when I was your age, I ate everyone 'under the table', as the say here and didn't gain an oz! Those pounds catch up to you, after 35 and they won't budge. If you gave birth you would see, but men are lucky that way.

Quark
04-02-2008, 12:28 AM
Good questions, but already I am lost. I think you should give us your opinion or maybe someone else. I am good at reading the post and listening. Dark Muse, have you an ideas on these questions of Quark's?

Ha, and I was trying to start off with an easy question. Alekhin sees a lot of himself in this couple and he draws many of his conclusion from observing them. First, I think he notices how morality has ruined their relationship. The cook demands that they get married to appease his narrow ideas of how man and woman should love each other. Eventually this results in spousal abuse and Pelegea fleeing away from him during his drunken bouts. Alekhin responds to this because he remember how respectability and morality ruined his love affair. On top of this, I think Alekhin realizes how irrational Pelegea's and the cook's relationship is. They're radically different people, yet they're passionately in love with each other. It defies reason. Alekhin believes that his own attachment to Anna Alekseevna was equally absurd. Both the irrationality and the tragedy of the relationships make them similar in Alekhin's eyes. The details in Alekhin's story to come, however, make us question somewhat how things are seen through Alekhin's eyes.


Achk... I'm running out of time. I'll have to post more tomorrow.

islandclimber
04-02-2008, 12:48 AM
Ha, and I was trying to start off with an easy question. Alekhin sees a lot of himself in this couple and he draws many of his conclusion from observing them. First, I think he notices how morality has ruined their relationship. The cook demands that they get married to appease his narrow ideas of how man and woman should love each other. Eventually this results in spousal abuse and Pelegea fleeing away from him during his drunken bouts. Alekhin responds to this because he remember how respectability and morality ruined his love affair. On top of this, I think Alekhin realizes how irrational Pelegea's and the cook's relationship is. They're radically different people, yet they're passionately in love with each other. It defies reason. Alekhin believes that his own attachment to Anna Alekseevna was equally absurd. Both the irrationality and the tragedy of the relationships make them similar in Alekhin's eyes. The details in Alekhin's story to come, however, make us question somewhat how things are seen through Alekhin's eyes.


Achk... I'm running out of time. I'll have to post more tomorrow.

Okay.. have to respond to this as well, before I go to bed.. I agree with you completely about Alekhin here... He tells this story as sort of an intro to his own, a comparison, though maybe on a dumbed down, and peasant scale... morality ruined both relationships, though through quite different aspects of it... He also wonders why she doesn't love someone more of her own sort, which I think contrasts sharply with his story to a degree, as he wonders why Anna is with her husband.. though in this case Anna loves him and not her husband.. the similarity is that both women are with men who are nothing like them, and therefore he sees them as so far below Anna and Pelagea..

I think he sees the concept of the relationships as absurd, his because they never did just throw all to the wind and give it a chance... and Pelagea's because she loves a man who abuses her... he is showing the absurdity of love here... In his case they love each other but won't take the steps to be together because of societal impositions and morality and respectability... Pelagea's because she loves a man who abuses her and makes her feel terrible... love is absurd, we can't always choose who we love, sometimes it just happens, and that is why he fell in love with a married woman... he finds love a complete unknown, totally unpredictable, and popping up in the most unlooked for places...

as well, Quark, being a Russian Lit enthusiast as well.. The Cook Nikanor's description as rather piggish, or so it seemed to me, it reminded me of the Nikanor in "Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov... He was the one turned into a pig at one point:lol: ... I wonder if Bulgakov had read this story.. haha...

well that's as far as my road goes for tonight..

oh yeah, janine good thing you don't have to swim in this cold water.. it is pretty darn cold, hypothermia sets in within minutes...:p

oh and that person in shorts for most of the year... that's me.... I wear surf shorts and sandals all the way down the freezing point.. which is 32 f I guess for americans.. and of course 0 celsius up here... below 0 in the snow, it gets cold.... :D

Janine
04-02-2008, 12:51 AM
Ha, and I was trying to start off with an easy question. Alekhin sees a lot of himself in this couple and he draws many of his conclusion from observing them. First, I think he notices how morality has ruined their relationship. The cook demands that they get married to appease his narrow ideas of how man and woman should love each other. Eventually this results in spousal abuse and Pelegea fleeing away from him during his drunken bouts. Alekhin responds to this because he remember how respectability and morality ruined his love affair. On top of this, I think Alekhin realizes how irrational Pelegea's and the cook's relationship is. They're radically different people, yet they're passionately in love with each other. It defies reason. Alekhin believes that his own attachment to Anna Alekseevna was equally absurd. Both the irrationality and the tragedy of the relationships make them similar in Alekhin's eyes. The details in Alekhin's story to come, however, make us question somewhat how things are seen through Alekhin's eyes.

Oh boy, now I am totally lost.:( Are we now discussing all three of the stories? I did not recall Alekhin having a love affair. I better go back and read that part or the whole story again; but which story is that? We may need the full month for me to get through this(these) storie(s). Well, for now, I have to call it quits. My brain is mush and I am too tired out to post anymore tonight. Maybe tomorrow, I will recover and see the light. I should make a diagram of these three guys and just who is telling which story. I am thoroughly confused now. I can't process all of this tonight. Goodnight, everyone, Quark!:D



Achk... I'm running out of time. I'll have to post more tomorrow.


Me, too and patience also....mostly patience. My brain waves have given out.:bawling:

Dark Muse
04-02-2008, 01:41 AM
Wow I have a lot to catch up on, but I will do my best to address Quark's question reagaurding the story.

I do think the example of Pelagea's story was a good lead in for Alekhin to begin his story and make his point about love, and the paths that it sometimes take. I think part of the point of the story, is showing that no one can truly account for love, or make sense out of it. You cannot really choose the people whom you love.

Though the way I view it, is that Alekhin was how unlikely the match between Anna and her husband were, much like the match between Pelagea and the cook. Anna was young, intellectual and witty, while her husband was shown to be much older than her, and a bit dull. So he could not see what she might have saw within her husband to make her marry him.

Much the way he wondered why Pelagea did not choose to be someone more of her own temperment. He wondered why Anna would not choose to be with someone more like herself.

I think his views that every case should be individulized fit into his story regaurding his affections and relations to Anna, for those some similarities might be seen between Anna, and her marriage to her husband and Pelagea and the cook, while it seems inspite of everything Pelagea is determined to remain loyal to the cook

But Anna, on the other hand, does begin to develop feelings for Alekhin because they are so like minded. And you can see the way that Anna's relationship to her husband is different that than to Alekhin, though she grows affections for Alekhin, in someways she still remains devoted to her husband and her life with him.

There is also Alekhin's relfections on what his life might be like, where he and Anna to live together, and examines how thier relationship as husband and wife, might not be the same, as thier current relationship. He worries that if they were to admit thier feelings to each other and commit themselves to each other, it would ruin what they have and cause resentment between them.

Janine
04-02-2008, 01:59 AM
Ditto, DM I have a lot to catch up on, too! I did not see your post there, islandclimber, as I was posting the same time, and then I came back and saw yours too, Dark Muse. It will all have to wait until tomorrow. You may have to throw me that life raft after all....I am lagging behind now....

Quark
04-02-2008, 05:47 PM
He also wonders why she doesn't love someone more of her own sort, which I think contrasts sharply with his story to a degree, as he wonders why Anna is with her husband.. though in this case Anna loves him and not her husband.. the similarity is that both women are with men who are nothing like them, and therefore he sees them as so far below Anna and Pelagea..

We know how Pelegea and the cook differ, but how is Anna incompatible with husband? The husband is painted as somewhat of a rube, but that's in Alekhin's opinion. Do we reliably know anything about the husband that would make an unfit partner for Anna?


I think he sees the concept of the relationships as absurd, his because they never did just throw all to the wind and give it a chance... and Pelagea's because she loves a man who abuses her...

The contrasting personalities of Pelegea and the cook make their love irrational. I agree with that, but what about Anna and Alekhin? The fact that they stay apart actually makes sense to me. In fact, Alekhin considers their separation as the tragedy of following reason in matters of love. That part of their relationship is understandable. What isn't is their love for each other in the first place. Anna is married with kids, after all, and Alekhin wants to pull her away from all that. I think adultery is what Alekhin finds confusing about their love affair.


love is absurd, we can't always choose who we love, sometimes it just happens, and that is why he fell in love with a married woman... he finds love a complete unknown, totally unpredictable, and popping up in the most unlooked for places...

Yeah, this is his argument on the next page. I'll get into that in a minute.


as well, Quark, being a Russian Lit enthusiast as well.. The Cook Nikanor's description as rather piggish, or so it seemed to me, it reminded me of the Nikanor in "Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov... He was the one turned into a pig at one point:lol: ... I wonder if Bulgakov had read this story.. haha...

As for Russian Lit enthusiasm, I think you outrank me on that one. You've outread me at least. I was just admitting to Idril, in fact, that I haven't even read Master and Margarita.


oh and that person in shorts for most of the year... that's me....

That doesn't surprise me at all. Somehow I already pictured you as the insanely ill-clad, weather-flaunting nut. It seemed in line with your rock-climbing, adventurous persona. Me, I'm the opposite. I wear jeans all year round and would be terrified to be any more than two feet off the ground.


Are we now discussing all three of the stories?

No I was trying to keep it just to the one. Let's not make this any harder than it has to be. Everyone can make comments on the other stories if they want to, but the one we're discussing this month is "About Love."


I did not recall Alekhin having a love affair. I better go back and read that part or the whole story again; but which story is that?

Are you on the same story?


We may need the full month for me to get through this(these) storie(s).

And if it spills over into May that wouldn't be the end of the world. Take your time Janine. I know you've got a tough task over in the Lawrence thread. Particularly, when people like me want to comment on the ending before we've gotten there.


I think part of the point of the story, is showing that no one can truly account for love, or make sense out of it. You cannot really choose the people whom you love.

Exactly, the story shows how random love is. Alekhin then grabs onto to this for his own personal reasons.


Though the way I view it, is that Alekhin was how unlikely the match between Anna and her husband were

Alekhin does wonder about this later on. There is something odd about it. Once again, though, do we really know that Anna and her husband were a poor couple?


for those some similarities might be seen between Anna, and her marriage to her husband and Pelagea and the cook, while it seems inspite of everything Pelagea is determined to remain loyal to the cook

Yeah, her loyalty is hard to understand. But, at the same time, it is the moral or "right" thing to do. I think that's what Alekhin would get at. He makes the distinction between the moral decision and the irrational desire. I was using words like irrational or understandable, and maybe that's not the best way to talk about it. The real split in Alekhin's mind is in that choice between unexplainable longing and the "right" thing to do. When he talks about Pelegea and the cook I think he has to mean that Pelegea's loyalty is the logical and moral part, and her love for the cook is the unexplainable desire.


There is also Alekhin's relfections on what his life might be like, where he and Anna to live together, and examines how thier relationship as husband and wife, might not be the same, as thier current relationship. He worries that if they were to admit thier feelings to each other and commit themselves to each other, it would ruin what they have and cause resentment between them.

That's an interesting possibility. Alekhin doesn't talk about what a future with Anna would look like. It's possible he might have some apprehension about it.


I'll post another chunk of the story later on tonight. Of course, always feel free to make any point you want. I just post sections of the story to give the conversation some common reference points and topics.

Dark Muse
04-02-2008, 05:57 PM
That's an interesting possibility. Alekhin doesn't talk about what a future with Anna would look like. It's possible he might have some apprehension about it.

There is that one scene in which he does speculate on it:


She would go away with me, but where? Where could I take her? It would have been a different matter if had a beautiful, interesting life, if for instance, I had been struggling for the emanncipation of my country, or had been a celebrated man of sicence, an artist or a painter; but as it was it would mean taking her from one everyday humdrum life to another as humdrum or perhaps more so. And how long would our happiness las? What would happen to her in I was ill, in case I died, or if we simply grew cold to one another?

Here he seems to speculate if they were together, than their relationship would become like that of her husband, that he could not offer her anything, once the secrecy and excitement was removed from their relationship as it is now.

Janine
04-02-2008, 07:24 PM
Hi Everyone, those life preservers won't help me now. Tonight I have to read this story again and review all the posts; maybe I will print those out so I can make more sense of all of this....I feel I am too far behind at present. I am sorry, but I guess I am not on the 'same page' as everyone else and I am totally lost, at this point...I should not have read all three stories - I knew I would get them mixed up...my mind won't process three and then keep one separate from the others. I might catch up and I might not, but that is ok this month. I am more involved in the Lawrence thread right now. Continue on without me. You are all doing a great job so far. I will promise to read all of your posts even if I can't participate. I feel really overwhelmed. Sorry to disappoint you all but I might catch up eventually.

Quark
04-02-2008, 11:15 PM
Here's the next part of the story. Tell me if I'm moving too fast. If anyone still has some points to make about something earlier in the story or if you've got something good to say about anything after this part, go ahead and blurt it out. Oh, and Janine I know you haven't gotten time to post on much yet, but don't feel like you're behind. Post whenever you want, and don't feel like you have to respond to everything. We're all friends here. No one's going to get offended if you skip over something we said. Alright, here's Alekhin speech:


"How far questions of personal happiness are of consequence in love -- all that is known; one can take what view one likes of it. So far only one incontestable truth has been uttered about love: 'This is a great mystery.' Everything else that has been written or said about love is not a conclusion, but only a statement of questions which have remained unanswered. The explanation which would seem to fit one case does not apply in a dozen others, and the very best thing, to my mind, would be to explain every case individually without attempting to generalize. We ought, as the doctors say, to individualize each case."

"Perfectly true," Burkin assented.

"We Russians of the educated class have a partiality for these questions that remain unanswered. Love is usually poeticized, decorated with roses, nightingales; we Russians decorate our loves with these momentous questions, and select the most uninteresting of them, too. In Moscow, when I was a student, I had a friend who shared my life, a charming lady, and every time I took her in my arms she was thinking what I would allow her a month for housekeeping and what was the price of beef a pound. In the same way, when we are in love we are never tired of asking ourselves questions: whether it is honourable or dishonourable, sensible or stupid, what this love is leading up to, and so on. Whether it is a good thing or not I don't know, but that it is in the way, unsatisfactory, and irritating, I do know."

I suppose it's a matter of opinion, but do you agree with Alekhin here? He portrays love as this mysterious, unnameable force. On the other hand, he considers questions of meaning frivolous. When he talks about the Russian penchant for "questions that remain unanswered," we know he's really talking about the urge that people get for idle philosophizing. Later in the story we'll realize that this idle philosophizing is what leads to Alekhin's agonizing moral decision to leave Anna. It's easy to see why he would be telling us of the dangers then of pursuing these questions. But, does anyone really agree with him? Couldn't this speech just be more idle questioning? Alekhin wondering about what could have been with Anna?



There is that one scene in which he does speculate on it:

Here he seems to speculate if they were together, than their relationship would become like that of her husband, that he could not offer her anything, once the secrecy and excitement was removed from their relationship as it is now.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot about that. It is a moment of forethought for Alekhin, and a particularly revealing one too. His argument is that his love affair is special, but then he realizes that it might not be different at all. Thanks for bringing that part up. It's pretty important.


Continue on without me. You are all doing a great job so far. I will promise to read all of your posts even if I can't participate. I feel really overwhelmed. Sorry to disappoint you all but I might catch up eventually.

Drop in whenever you can.