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Thread: Chekhov Short Story Thread

  1. #1036
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quark View Post
    I'm wondering about the smallpox now. The narrator does mention that she has a mark of it on her nose, and that might have something to do with her death. I don't know about the aging, though. That seems tied to the point Chekhov is trying to make about her disappointment and exhaustion. I thought it was a little unrealistic, but, whatever, Chekhov wanted to make this point extra clear to us. It reminds me of those Victorian novels where they use faces and postures as part of their characterization. Dickens will say "she had very secretive eyes," and then eight-hundred pages later you find out that she has some secret. Chekhov usually avoids this kind of characterization, but he succumbs to it here. Sometimes it's done well--Lawrence, in face, does it well--but when there's such a one-to-one relationship between feature and characteristic it's kind of clumsy.
    Hey, Quark, good post! Well, the simplicity of Chekhov's writing, causes one to notice even small details. So, the the mere mention of the 'smallpox scare' seemed to me to be intended to be someone significant; it may not be directly significant, but rather significant, in the way that it would forshadow a later threat to the young woman's life.

    Oh, I don't know. I think someone couped up in an airless, lightless environment might age pretty significantly. I am not sure how may years lapsed between visit #1 and visit #2. I will have to go back and review. I think it's insignifcant as to it's realism but it could me merely the way the author is progressing his story, like in "The Man Who Loved Islands"; which I will get to that later, since you mentioned it.

    Are you then saying Chekhov's characterization here is a little clumsy? I guess I am not as astute as you to notice that. Hahah...you know, it's funny but, I have always had trouble reading Dickens. Maybe, this is why. I did enjoy "Tale of Two Cities", but others I could not get into; for one thing they have sooo many characters. However, I love the film adaptations of his work. I am presently watching one on DVD "Our Mutual Friend". It's a fine production but shows squalid London and the Thames in such a realistic way it's sometimes hard to take.

    I kid about that, of course.
    Maybe I don't kid. I live with my relatives; that is probably the gist of it.

    No, he isn't significant in himself, but his reactions to what he's sees are important. As he progresses in the story, his relationship with the family and his own story changes. In some places he's very casual about the whole affair, but in other places he's deeply affected by what he experiences.
    Right, I agree. His personal impression deepens as the story progresses. It's subtle but one can feel it.

    That would work. We probably won't do another story in this thread, as it's taken us so long to get through this one. I had planned on maybe doing two this month, but it's almost July now and we're just finishing "The Trousseau." I'd be up for a Lawrence story in July, though.
    Oh, good. I just completed reading all 48; now I hope I recall what they all were about. I tend to forget easily. Usually reading line one and the last line brings the tale back to me. I will have to think of which one would be good to do next.

    Haha..."the best layed plans of mice and men often go astray" - isn't that how that line goes? It's totally ironic. In the L thread, I thought the last story would end in half a month's time, too. I thought it a bit simpler a tale. Oh, how wrong I was. This one in Chekhov is proving to be more complex than we first thought. Things never go as expected or planned. But who's complaining. We will have tons of time for other stories.

    Yeah, he did a good job. He reads all the stories a plaintive undertone, and it really works with this story. The sadness in "The Trousseau" is an undertone. The narrator doesn't dwell on it directly until the very end.
    Yes, that's it. It's read in a 'plaintive undertone'. It's more effective that way; it suits Chekhov's writing well. Sometimes less acting is more acting. I have heard Branagh recite poems by some woman online and they are very sad, about soldiers and death. He has just the right tone with these, too. He usually knocks you over with the last word.

    Understandable. Every story attempts something different from the others that precede it or follow it. They also reflect the concerns of the author at a given time in their life, and it's helps if we look at them in the right context. But, at the same time, we can compare them to our own life, and understand them in that context. What did we get out of reading the story? I got a lot from stories like "The Lady with the Dog," "Ward No. 6," and "About Love." "Neighbors," though, was a bore. We didn't read that story--largely on account of it being a bore. That's not to say that "Neighbors" is objectively a bad story. Some people think it's great. It just didn't do much for me. Other readers, however, might have different tastes from mine, and I'd like to hear about them because when I choose stories I like to pick ones that's entertaining and worth posting about.
    But, I think what you are saying here, Quark, is somewhat personal preference. Some stories, some people like I don't. I don't know if I even liked "The Lady and the Lapdog". I guess I am going to have to go back and read that one again. I know it's considered one of C's best. I imagine on a second reading of any of these stories, I would have a totally altered impression. I would notice or feel more. I know many of the L stories, I have now read twice. This really helps me to appreciate them. There is one L story "A Fragment of Stained Glass". It's suppose to be a very significant story for the author. I have read it twice and I can't say I really felt anything much about that story. I don't know why. Perhaps it's just personal. It did not resonate with me. humm..."Neighbors" eh? I will have to check that one out and let you know what I think.

    Quark, I'm afraid that haven't read much Chekhov; so I will have to trust you to pick; so far so good; your doing a fine job. I put my faith in you entirely to choose the stories.

    Lawrence's early works are still widely read, but I don't think Chekhov's have faired so well. Partially (or maybe entirely) this is because Chekhov didn't consider himself an artist during at the beginning of his career. He rushed many of his early stories to magazines just to get a buck. It wasn't until later that he began to put real, earnest thought into storytelling. I get the sense that Lawrence took his first works more seriously.
    Oh well, I think that's pretty much true of all budding authors. Afterall they did have to live and eat and be housed. I know that Hardy first presented all his work in magazines; it was like the soap opera of today. It was serialized. Look how famous those novels are now. Lawrence was realistic about writing and making money; but he was not big into money/property, to say the least. However, at times he had to be realistic; if you read his letters he will even complain at times that he is sick of writing and wishes he didn't have to write another word. I do think, from an early age, Lawrence had a passion for writing, as he did for painting/art. I think this is innate and he was truly the young genius they first labeled him as. Now with Chekhov, he had another profession as a physcian to begin with, then he was writing on the side and then fulltime - was it? Their situations in life were very much different when they started out writing, I believe. Lawrence had taught school but that was more closely related to literature and writing. However, Chekhov's experience as a doctor, provided him with much insight and ideas for his stories, I am sure.

    I don't even remember what I wrote. I think I said he was 24, which would put this around 1882.
    I think he was about 24.

    Yeah, if anyone said to me that earlier work is always of poorer quality than later work I wouldn't take that person seriously. There is no rule that states that a first attempt must always fail, and many first novels or stories are better than anything that follows them. A frequently cited example of this is Pynchon's V. The book got the author much publicity, but his later novels fell flat on their face. Some people remember Gravity's Rainbow fondly, but a lot of the later stuff is questionable. Yet, in Chekhov's case, I think the earlier works are a little weaker. Or, to put it a better way, they're just more frivolous. Usually they involve stock characters acting out stock situations with stock gags. I wouldn't lump "The Trousseau" in with those stories, though. The situation may be a stock one, but the characters, the humor, and the pathos are not. I thought the story was affecting, and even beautiful at times. It was a good pick Janine.
    I haven't heard of the author or any of his works. It's an interesting comparison though. One just can't generalize.

    I think the one story of Chekhov's about the girl giving the suspicious wife back all her jewelry was a bit contrived. That may be what you mean by stock characters. And yet, I remembered that story and the plot and the outcome and the irony. I am sure it's not his best but I still think about it for some odd reason. I think it's overdone though and I imagine you would hate that one. Was it called "The Chorus Girl"...all I know is the husband is all the time hiding in the other room. It's ironic but predictable, I think.

    I thought "The Trouseau" was rather sad, but beautiful myself. Thanks for choosing it for me. Glad you also appreciated it. Wonder what Dark Muse thought of the story. I felt she liked it, too.

    Hear, hear
    You agree then? ...or are you the town crier?

    It reminds me of "The Man who Loved Islands," actually--in structure, at least. There were three islands, right?

    Yes, three islands and three distinct sections. It certainly does remind me of that story. I loved that Lawrence story. I thought it well constructed.

    Another few thoughts came to me, about this story. It's very much a story expressing the idea of unfinished things. I think too, the way the mother directs all her energy into the task of making clothes, is something she does to maintain a sense of 'hope', in an atmosphere which is degenerating/discintigraging around her. The sewing is a diversion from reality. We all have those; what are these computers? The mother in the end, is also the victim in all this. She has become 'her own worse enemy' by her obsession and false dedication to creating this trousseau; now for a daughter who doesn't even exist.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  2. #1037
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Are you then saying Chekhov's characterization here is a little clumsy?
    Mostly I was just commenting on a pet peeve of mine. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that characterizing in that way is always clumsy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I am not sure how may years lapsed between visit #1 and visit #2. I will have to go back and review.
    Seven years elapse from the first visit to the second, and he tells us that he visited the house one year ago from when he's narrating the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hahah...you know, it's funny but, I have always had trouble reading Dickens. Maybe, this is why. I did enjoy "Tale of Two Cities", but others I could not get into; for one thing they have sooo many characters. However, I love the film adaptations of his work. I am presently watching one on DVD "Our Mutual Friend". It's a fine production but shows squalid London and the Thames in such a realistic way it's sometimes hard to take.
    You're certainly not alone with that reaction. Many readers never get into Dickens. Some really enjoy his novels, but often people report experiencing boredom, fatigue, and nausea during the long middle sections of books like Bleak House. Dickens even frequently comes in those threads called "Most Overrated Authors." I like Dickens some of the time, but not always. It really depends on the novel and chapter you're talking about. Some sections are slow reads, but others are actually very engaging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Maybe I don't kid. I live with my relatives; that is probably the gist of it.
    At least there are no misconceptions. I think my parents believe I'm going be elected president at some point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    In the L thread, I thought the last story would end in half a month's time, too. I thought it a bit simpler a tale. Oh, how wrong I was. This one in Chekhov is proving to be more complex than we first thought. Things never go as expected or planned. But who's complaining. We will have tons of time for other stories.
    It's difficult to get through any Lawrence story in less than a month. The symbolism and the shadowy motivations of the characters require so much elucidation right away that it takes weeks before anyone really knows what to say about the story. Think of the last story. Who could say definitively what the peacock represented, or what the husband really felt for the wife? There's mystery that surrounds a good Lawrence story, and usually we're hundreds of posts into the discussion before we've penetrated to the true heart of the story. With Chekhhov there isn't that mystery. Usually the stories are pretty straightforward in character, plot, and symbol. The implications of the story are always rather profound, but the story itself remains pretty accessible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Yes, that's it. It's read in a 'plaintive undertone'. It's more effective that way; it suits Chekhov's writing well. Sometimes less acting is more acting. I have heard Branagh recite poems by some woman online and they are very sad, about soldiers and death. He has just the right tone with these, too. He usually knocks you over with the last word.
    Couldn't agree more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    But, I think what you are saying here, Quark, is somewhat personal preference.
    It is personal. That's why I'd like to hear it. I can't anticipate what other people's reactions to the stories will be because they're personal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    so far so good; your doing a fine job. I put my faith in you entirely to choose the stories.
    Always good to hear. You did suggest this one, though, so if you read another that you like feel free to bring it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I am sure it's not his best but I still think about it for some odd reason. I think it's overdone though and I imagine you would hate that one. Was it called "The Chorus Girl"...all I know is the husband is all the time hiding in the other room. It's ironic but predictable, I think.
    It's funny that you mention that one, as it was on mind when I was saying that. "The Chorus Girl" is included in a lot of anthologies, but it's not my favorite Chekhov story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    The sewing is a diversion from reality. We all have those; what are these computers? The mother in the end, is also the victim in all this. She has become 'her own worse enemy' by her obsession and false dedication to creating this trousseau; now for a daughter who doesn't even exist.
    True, but I hope our own lives are not as hopeless and ironically undermined as the characters here. That would be depressing note to end this discussion on, and I'm looking for some happiness after the books I've read recently for LitNet. The Poe thread is doing "The Man in the Crowd"--another tale of obsession with a somewhat pessimistic ending. The Man with the Blue Guitar has some exuberance to it, but I wouldn't say it's upbeat. I could use a comedy right now.
    Last edited by Quark; 06-24-2009 at 01:03 AM.
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  3. #1038
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quark View Post
    Mostly I was just commenting on a pet peeve of mine. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that characterizing in that way is always clumsy.
    Hi Quark, ok now I get your drift. Just checking or clarifying that statement.

    Seven years elapse from the first visit to the second, and he tells us that he visited the house one year ago from when he's narrating the story.
    Ok, so 7 years elapse to begin with, after his first introduction to the family; then, he wrote this story one year, after he went there the third time; so therefore, we don't have a truly clear idea of how much time elapsed between visit #2 and visit #3; is that correct? It could many more years than 7, right....maybe 10, 15, even 20.

    You're certainly not alone with that reaction. Many readers never get into Dickens. Some really enjoy his novels, but often people report experiencing boredom, fatigue, and nausea during the long middle sections of books like Bleak House. Dickens even frequently comes in those threads called "Most Overrated Authors." I like Dickens some of the time, but not always. It really depends on the novel and chapter you're talking about. Some sections are slow reads, but others are actually very engaging.
    This is just how I would describe it..."boredom, fatigue, and nausea"....I recall once trying to read Great Expectations and I think I fell asleep. I just could not get into the novel, nor did I really like the more current film adaptation. Maybe, I am overlooking something. Ok, then I was required to read (high school) A Tale of Two Cities, and I just recall my huge struggle with the text at the time - also a yawn. However, after seeing the Masterpiece Theater adapation, which nearly follows the original book to a "T", I once again read the novel. This time I even wondered, if I had only skimmed it before; I didn't recall it being anything to do with love...my God, its a whole love triangle. I could only recall the last words which are the famous ones, that everyone associates with this novel. Then, too, a few of us discussed it on here and I think it is one of the finest novels I have ever read. However, in researching the book and Dickens, I found critics said that ATOTC is unlike Dicken's other novels. I think in the other novels, he has more 'quirky', even 'degenerate' characters which are difficult to keep track of. Well, at any rate, I am glad I am not alone in thinking this way. It just seemed that in my high school, Dickens was always drummed into us. Now I found out my former teacher, who I have in later years befriended, has more of a narrow view of literature, than I ever realised. I was shocked. Apparently, she likes none of the English authors, but loves Dickens. I really found that statement completely ludicrious. I was in shock she hated Hardy's work; don't even mention DHL! Yikes, she might take a fit. She's a truly lovely person, but I believe quite limited in her literary views. Now wonder I hated literature in high school. Wasn't till I got into college that I started to spark new interest; that's because we got into the good stuff, something a little more contraversial.

    At least there are no misconceptions. I think my parents believe I'm going be elected president at some point.
    I hope so, too. It would great to know a former Litnet member became our president!

    It's difficult to get through any Lawrence story in less than a month. The symbolism and the shadowy motivations of the characters require so much elucidation right away that it takes weeks before anyone really knows what to say about the story. Think of the last story. Who could say definitively what the peacock represented, or what the husband really felt for the wife? There's mystery that surrounds a good Lawrence story, and usually we're hundreds of posts into the discussion before we've penetrated to the true heart of the story. With Chekhhov there isn't that mystery. Usually the stories are pretty straightforward in character, plot, and symbol. The implications of the story are always rather profound, but the story itself remains pretty accessible.
    Well, I am not sure it was weeks or hundreds of post, before we got into the story; but a lot of immediate impressions were altered by the end of the story. I find this happens almost always with the Lawrence stories. I find myself seeing so much more on closer examination of the words and phrases. Really, it was Virgilwho helped me to develop that eye, when looking at these stories in a new light. I also find repeated readings help enormously. In the end, there is still mystery surrounding the various characters in Lawrence's works. I would agree with that. Yes, Chekhov is more straightforward with more realism. Both authors end up being quite profound, but the take a different route to get there.

    Couldn't agree more.
    Good, like being agreeable.

    It is personal. That's why I'd like to hear it. I can't anticipate what other people's reactions to the stories will be because they're personal.
    True and any feedback from us would help your task. I would ask people, in Lawrence, which stories to pick, but none of them has read any or many of the stories asside from Virgil He read a many way back and I do confer with him on the stories everytime I pick one; he's also has picked many of the ones we did discuss in the past. I am presently in a quandry once again, as to which one to pick for next time. I would like to keep it to a short one, because some are truly long and yea gads, complicated/complex, too! It would take us 3 months to discuss those. I should be reviewing them now to see which I think would be a good pick for the group we now have. Then, I will notify everyone by profile message.

    Always good to hear. You did suggest this one, though, so if you read another that you like feel free to bring it up.
    Ok, Quark, I will do that; maybe I will even look some up online to see which ones people seem to discuss or applaud. I liked the story In the Ravine, but I think it would take longer than a month to discuss. It's a pretty long story and a little more complex than Chekhov's shorter ones.

    It's funny that you mention that one, as it was on mind when I was saying that. "The Chorus Girl" is included in a lot of anthologies, but it's not my favorite Chekhov story.
    How funny, I thought of it right away as less complex. Another thing I thought about the story, The Chorus Girl, is I started to think it obscurd or unreal, that she would give the woman ALL of her jewelry so readily; seems she would be a little smarter or more worldly to know what she was up to; not the naive type as she is depicted. It just seemed a bit over-the-top to me, personally. That, I suppose was the main idea; the other woman was a rip-off artist and the tale was heavy in irony, but still....(?) I kept reading/listening that one, to see if I missed something. Maybe I am being unfair to the poor chorus girl. Back then, people were forced into situations just to survive. We don't know her background. We only surmise the wife isn't truly poor or needy at all, but ruthless and a swindler in the end. Perhaps the chorus girl is an airhead and not too bright. It's possible she just fell into her situation from need to survive. I am thinking of the poor daughter in the Trousseau, had she been the one to survive, and was left alone in the world. She might end up in a low position and she might be just as naive; having been sheltered all her life as shut-in. I am not sure of any of this; just surmising; maybe, I need to listen to that story again; it's not clear in my head. The narrator definitely sympathises with the chorus girl at the end.

    True, but I hope our own lives are not as hopeless and ironically undermined as the characters here. That would be depressing note to end this discussion on, and I'm looking for some happiness after the books I've read recently for LitNet. The Poe thread is doing "The Man in the Crowd"--another tale of obsession with a somewhat pessimistic ending. The Man with the Blue Guitar has some exuberance to it, but I wouldn't say it's upbeat. I could use a comedy right now.
    Quark, I tried to come up with a Lawrence comedy, but there doesn't seem to be such an animal! The one's I thought humorous, everyone else failed to see the humor or irony. I must have a sick sense of humor.

    Those other discussion you mentioned sound dismal. Everyone voted on Rob Roy, too and then didn't show up. I didn't care to wade through it myself. I am reading Conrad's Heart of Darkness currently, because everyone on here always recommends it. Just by the title I don't think that's a comedy either...do you? At least it's short!

    Here's the last part and I have a few comments. First I love the last line.

    "It's a blouse. When it's finished I shall take it to the priest's to be put away, or else Yegor Semyonitch would carry it off. I store everything at the priest's now," she added in a whisper.

    And looking at the portrait of her daughter which stood before her on the table, she sighed and said:
    I almost think by now the old woman is a bit cracked. She keeps on sewing and probably will till her dying day. This reminds me of something my mother told me about my great-great grandfather who was Scottish and was a fireman. He would sit in the firehall waiting for a bell to go off, and he would hand sew quilt pieces; we found partly made quilts in my grandmother's attic when she died and we helped clean out. Now, if you ever met a quilter, you know they become very obsessed with quilting; knitter, too. My mother told me that on his death bed, he was still pretending to quilt. His hands just automatically kept sewing the invisible thread. She swore it was true. I think this mother is to this point throughout the story. She really cannot stop; it is so habitual for her. She has no other life or outlet, but to live to sew these clothes.

    "We are all alone in the world."

    And where was the daughter? Where was Manetchka? I did not ask. I did not dare to ask the old mother dressed in her new deep mourning. And while I was in the room, and when I got up to go, no Manetchka came out to greet me. I did not hear her voice, nor her soft, timid footstep. . . .

    I understood, and my heart was heavy.
    That was effective use of 'repetition' in using that phrase - "we are all alone in the world."

    I really like that last line, as I said above. It's simplistic, but it ends on this very deeply felt and poignantly sad note.

    I was to B&N's big sale tonight. I am happy to report I bought two books - one of Chekhov's short stories; most of them I don't have in the coffee stain book; I also just noticed it contains In the Ravine - splendid! I got a similar book of Tolstoy and and a third one free. Not quite as cheap as my library, but still a few good bargains and specific things I wanted. I went to my library earlier and found three good books; final cost of those was $1.25...not bad, eh?

    I guess this wraps up this story; what do you think, Quark? You satisfied? You may want to comment briefly on a few things I wrote in this post.
    Last edited by Janine; 06-24-2009 at 10:41 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  4. #1039
    Evil Doppelgänger Krauq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    we don't have a truly clear idea of how much time elapsed between visit #2 and visit #3; is that correct? It could many more years than 7, right....maybe 10, 15, even 20.
    No, it's never made clear how long it was between the second and third visits. The first visit must have taken place some time over eight years ago, but beyond that we don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Now I found out my former teacher, who I have in later years befriended, has more of a narrow view of literature, than I ever realised. I was shocked. Apparently, she likes none of the English authors, but loves Dickens. I really found that statement completely ludicrious. I was in shock she hated Hardy's work; don't even mention DHL! Yikes, she might take a fit. She's a truly lovely person, but I believe quite limited in her literary views. Now wonder I hated literature in high school. Wasn't till I got into college that I started to spark new interest; that's because we got into the good stuff, something a little more contraversial.
    That's being particular. She only likes Dickens? I would hope she reads more than that even if she prefers Dickens, otherwise she'd be missing quite a lot. There's nothing wrong with saying that Dickens is your favorite author--despite what we've been saying here--but to say he's the only author you read is rather narrow. I'm sure you set her straight, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I am presently in a quandry once again, as to which one to pick for next time. I would like to keep it to a short one, because some are truly long and yea gads, complicated/complex, too! It would take us 3 months to discuss those. I should be reviewing them now to see which I think would be a good pick for the group we now have. Then, I will notify everyone by profile message.
    I think if you gave everyone enough time to read the story you could do a longer one. Nothing over sixty pages, but something around 30 or 40 could be done. We might not be able to read it line by line, but we could make it work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Ok, Quark, I will do that; maybe I will even look some up online to see which ones people seem to discuss or applaud. I liked the story In the Ravine, but I think it would take longer than a month to discuss. It's a pretty long story and a little more complex than Chekhov's shorter ones.
    Yes, that story is shelved for now. I don't know when I'll do another story, actually. I think I would have to advertise more and get people interested before I attempt another discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    We only surmise the wife isn't truly poor or needy at all, but ruthless and a swindler in the end. Perhaps the chorus girl is an airhead and not too bright. It's possible she just fell into her situation from need to survive. I am thinking of the poor daughter in the Trousseau, had she been the one to survive, and was left alone in the world. She might end up in a low position and she might be just as naive; having been sheltered all her life as shut-in. I am not sure of any of this; just surmising; maybe, I need to listen to that story again; it's not clear in my head. The narrator definitely sympathises with the chorus girl at the end.
    You're right about the wife, but I didn't get the sense that the chorus girl was an airhead. I know you were exaggerating for comic effect, but I don't think she was outwitted by the wife. Rather, the wife was able to manipulate her because she was too softhearted to ignore the misleading tale about the wife's suffering. A lack of intelligence isn't her downfall. It's her susceptibility to guilt. The wife conjures up her place as a Christian, as a wife, as a member of a family and class as arguments to guilt the chorus girl into giving away her possessions. The story is about shame, guilt, and how those feelings are often forced on us unnecessarily. A good theme, and it's well-handled in the story. I just think it isn't as affecting as the other stories. There just isn't much emotion in the story, which is something Chekhov is usually pretty good with. Technically, though, it's a fine story: clever, succinct, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Quark, I tried to come up with a Lawrence comedy, but there doesn't seem to be such an animal! The one's I thought humorous, everyone else failed to see the humor or irony. I must have a sick sense of humor.
    The minute I posted that I realized my mistake. Yeah, there doesn't appear to be many cheery Lawrence stories. I guess we don't have particularly upbeat tastes. Humor is always good, though--even if it's dark humor. Which one did you find funny, by the way?

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Everyone voted on Rob Roy, too and then didn't show up.
    No surprise there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I am reading Conrad's Heart of Darkness currently, because everyone on here always recommends it.
    That's a classic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I almost think by now the old woman is a bit cracked. She keeps on sewing and probably will till her dying day. This reminds me of something my mother told me about my great-great grandfather who was Scottish and was a fireman. He would sit in the firehall waiting for a bell to go off, and he would hand sew quilt pieces
    It is something like that with the mother. At first glance it's rather absurd, but the more you see of someone like that the more it feels tragic. That's the progression here--from weird, quirky, old woman to tragic protagonist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    That was effective use of 'repetition' in using that phrase - "we are all alone in the world."
    It is the refrain of this story. Yet I'm not entirely sure what it means. That is, I don't know why she's saying it. Is it to get sympathy from the narrator? The reader knows they're alone, so it must be aimed at the narrator. But why? It could be Chekhov just trying drive home this point, but maybe there's something more to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I was to B&N's big sale tonight. I am happy to report I bought two books - one of Chekhov's short stories;
    Tell me how that goes. I'm always curious what stories they put in those Chekhov collections these days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    most of them I don't have in the coffee stain book
    You're just not going to let that go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I also just noticed it contains In the Ravine - splendid! I got a similar book of Tolstoy and and a third one free. Not quite as cheap as my library, but still a few good bargains and specific things I wanted. I went to my library earlier and found three good books; final cost of those was $1.25...not bad, eh?
    Ah, then I know what Chekhov stories you have. Sometimes when I'm at B&N I read out of their Chekhov collection. It's got some good stories in it. "In the Ravine" obviously, but also "Ward No. 6" and "On the Road" are excellent. The two for three deal they have is also good--considering how cheap those books are already. I remember getting three novels there once for less than fifteen dollars--a steal by any measurement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I guess this wraps up this story; what do you think, Quark? You satisfied?
    Satisfied? Sure, why not? We covered most everything there is to cover in this story. It's time to do something else. I'm glad everyone who could make it did. It was a fun discussion as always.
    Last edited by Krauq; 06-25-2009 at 01:06 PM.

  5. #1040
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krauq View Post
    No, it's never made clear how long it was between the second and third visits. The first visit must have taken place some time over eight years ago, but beyond that we don't know.
    Hi Krauq! Wonder why Chekhov kept that space of time sketchy or obscure. How do you deduct that between first and last visit was only eight years or I guess you saying it was over 8 yrs ago. I think it much more than 8years.

    That's being particular. She only likes Dickens? I would hope she reads more than that even if she prefers Dickens, otherwise she'd be missing quite a lot. There's nothing wrong with saying that Dickens is your favorite author--despite what we've been saying here--but to say he's the only author you read is rather narrow. I'm sure you set her straight, though.
    I know it. I was in shock when we first had this conversation via phone. I now wonder if she meant she didn't like the more contemporary authors such as Woolf, Lawrence, Joyce, etc; although, she did mention Hardy and she made it quite clear that she very much disliked his novels. I think she was being extreme considering all English literature. Surely she likes Shakespeare. I know she likes Dickens. She seems to like the French authors, such as Hugo and American authors. I agree that she must have been missing out on a lot of really fine literature.

    I think if you gave everyone enough time to read the story you could do a longer one. Nothing over sixty pages, but something around 30 or 40 could be done. We might not be able to read it line by line, but we could make it work.
    Well, we will see. We did discuss some longer ones, but those were a little more demanding. If we have more people in the discussion, it might become totally overwhelming. There are still a lot of shorter ones, that I feel are very fine stories. I plan to do those first, if possible.

    Yes, that story is shelved for now. I don't know when I'll do another story, actually. I think I would have to advertise more and get people interested before I attempt another discussion.
    Good idea. I think I can help. I will keep my eye out for any Chekhov lovers. Some people list him in their favorite author lists. You might check out Profile pages; but just make sure those members are still active; otherwise it's a waste of time.

    You're right about the wife, but I didn't get the sense that the chorus girl was an airhead. I know you were exaggerating for comic effect, but I don't think she was outwitted by the wife. Rather, the wife was able to manipulate her because she was too softhearted to ignore the misleading tale about the wife's suffering. A lack of intelligence isn't her downfall. It's her susceptibility to guilt. The wife conjures up her place as a Christian, as a wife, as a member of a family and class as arguments to guilt the chorus girl into giving away her possessions. The story is about shame, guilt, and how those feelings are often forced on us unnecessarily. A good theme, and it's well-handled in the story. I just think it isn't as affecting as the other stories. There just isn't much emotion in the story, which is something Chekhov is usually pretty good with. Technically, though, it's a fine story: clever, succinct, etc.
    Yes, I was exaggerating to give you a chuckle. I do have to listen to that one again. It's been awhile and I forget the details now. I think the word "maniupulate" is a good one to describe what was going on between them. The wife was quite shrewd. Yes, this is a good way of putting it - the guilt played a big role in the story. Also, the difference in the two classes of women. Now I will listen to it and see it this way. I don't think it's a bad story. I just thought you might consider that one weaker than many of the others.

    The minute I posted that I realized my mistake. Yeah, there doesn't appear to be many cheery Lawrence stories. I guess we don't have particularly upbeat tastes. Humor is always good, though--even if it's dark humor. Which one did you find funny, by the way?
    Hahah....I would rather not say specifically, since I might be chastised for it. I guess I think some are humorous or more amusing in places; not in the entire meaning of the story, that usually goes much deeper. It's like Dicken's -you do get a chuckle here and there, at the obscurity of a character or their actions. I don't think either Lawrence or Chekhov wrote funny stories. Lawrence can be a bit amusing at times in his wording, or his observation of people's quirpy ways.

    No surprise there. Yeah, really...what's become of Henry IV discussion, too?

    That's a classic.
    I am about 1/3 through it now; I am finding it interesting. I like the way in which he writes. It's becoming intriguing. Is it a really sad story? I am seeing it as a personal journey into a dark land where Marlow will be altered forever. It's quite mysterious and that keeps ones interest. It's not a long book so I should finish it in the coming week. I read slowly though, a little at a time. I wanted to keep reading last night but it was after 4! eeeek....


    It is something like that with the mother. At first glance it's rather absurd, but the more you see of someone like that the more it feels tragic. That's the progression here--from weird, quirky, old woman to tragic protagonist.
    Good, like the way you stated that. That's it exactly!

    It is the refrain of this story. Yet I'm not entirely sure what it means. That is, I don't know why she's saying it. Is it to get sympathy from the narrator? The reader knows they're alone, so it must be aimed at the narrator. But why? It could be Chekhov just trying drive home this point, but maybe there's something more to it.
    'refrain' - oh yes, that's a good word for it. I think it is to get sympathy from the narrator. Who else can she state this to? The narrator seems to be a very sympathetic person and nice to all. I also think it helps Chekhov to drive home that point about being alone. It's obscurd - this aloneness - because basically the mother and daughter brought it on themselves not connecting with the outside world throughout their lives. In that tomb of a house, they have always isolated themselves and the result is this profound feeling of being "all alone in the world".

    Tell me how that goes. I'm always curious what stories they put in those Chekhov collections these days?
    I checked and only a few double ones I have in the other book. It will take me awhile to read all these, you know. I have to be in the mood to approach them. I can take a few at a time. Maybe, I should set my goal to now read all of the Chekhov short stories, like I did with the Lawrence ones.
    Krauq, how many Chekhov short stories are there exactly? I think he may have exceeded Lawrence in the amount.

    You're just not going to let that go.
    hahah...yes and everytime I see the Starbucks in the B&N, I now think of you. You know I am just joking with you. The stain is so light I could hardly notice it. It's a really nice book. All of my Lawrence short story books now are in pieces. I can still read them but all the pages are out of the books by now. They were used paperbacks I bought and then I had some of my own from years back - those are going to pieces, too. I need to rubberband the whole mess together or put them into a tin or box. Next to these, the Chekhov 'coffee stain' book looks nearly like mint!


    Ah, then I know what Chekhov stories you have. Sometimes when I'm at B&N I read out of their Chekhov collection. It's got some good stories in it. "In the Ravine" obviously, but also "Ward No. 6" and "On the Road" are excellent. The two for three deal they have is also good--considering how cheap those books are already. I remember getting three novels there once for less than fifteen dollars--a steal by any measurement.
    Yes, it has Ward No. 6. That was one reason I bought it. I also, am economically minded and wanted to get three books all the same price, so the free one would be a true bargain. I got one of Chekhov, one of Poe, one of Tolstoy - all collections of their shorter works. I am into short stories presently, so this worked out well. I got all three for about $16. but they all are the thicker editions - $7.95 each.

    Satisfied? Sure, why not? We covered most everything there is to cover in this story. It's time to do something else. I'm glad everyone who could make it did. It was a fun discussion as always.
    I thought we were done. I enjoyed this discussion, even though I was not writing comments all the time; I was however, reading all the fine comments Quark and Dark Muse wrote. So, I was here; just behind the scenes many times, something like the moderators, I suppose. Thanks for a fun discussion everyone. I loved this story. To me it's memorable.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  6. #1041
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hi Krauq! Wonder why Chekhov kept that space of time sketchy or obscure. How do you deduct that between first and last visit was only eight years or I guess you saying it was over 8 yrs ago. I think it much more than 8years.
    It probably is more than eight years from #1 to #3, but as we've been saying there's really no way to tell how much longer than eight years it's been. I think Chekhov leaves the time unspecified because it makes the visits blur together more. If we knew when each took place, then each scene would stand out as its own point in the time line. By leaving it unspecified, Chekhov places all the events in a distant past which runs together in the reader's mind. Or, maybe Chekhov just didn't think it was important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I know it. I was in shock when we first had this conversation via phone.
    I'm just surprised you stay in touch. How many people can say that about their former English teachers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Some people list him in their favorite author lists. You might check out Profile pages
    Good idea. I did that when I first started the discussion, but I've been lazy and haven't done much since then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hahah....I would rather not say specifically, since I might be chastised for it. I guess I think some are humorous or more amusing in places; not in the entire meaning of the story, that usually goes much deeper.
    That's funny. I guess I'll have to restrain my urge to chastise. I think I know which one you're referring to, though. Was it the one with the secretary? Oh, what was that called? I would go back and find the discussion, but it's probably one-thousand posts back by now. I remember the back and forth between the characters being amusing. It was a bit of a satire, after all. The characters were supposed to represent the modern, soulless lifestyle that Lawrence loathed so. I got a chuckle out of that story. I think you're right about L's use of humor, though. It's really a supporting character and never really the center of attention. He slips in a joke ever now and then, but the meaning of the story does go deeper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    No surprise there. Yeah, really...what's become of Henry IV discussion, too?
    I know. We finally get to do one of the big ones, and no one is around to talk about it. Richard II and Winter's Tale were good, but c'mon it's Henry IV!

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Is it a really sad story? I am seeing it as a personal journey into a dark land where Marlow will be altered forever. It's quite mysterious and that keeps ones interest.
    Sad? It's definitely not happy, but I wouldn't say it's sad either. At least, it isn't sad in that tearful sort of way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I think it is to get sympathy from the narrator.
    That might be a better way of looking at the line. It could be meant more for the narrator than the reader. The reader already knows they're alone. The narrator probably does too, but the mother could just be playing it up for sympathy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    how many Chekhov short stories are there exactly?
    Hundreds. I've never taken a complete survey of his works, and every time I look at an anthology I see a story that I never saw before. If I had to guess I would say that there's about two-hundred and fifty. That's a steep hill to climb--and one that probably isn't worth the effort. I would just stick to the good stories, and leave the others behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I got one of Chekhov, one of Poe, one of Tolstoy - all collections of their shorter works. I am into short stories presently, so this worked out well. I got all three for about $16. but they all are the thicker editions - $7.95 each.
    Those books are a great deal. Keep them on the shelf, though. The covers are a little flimsy and tend to peal away if they're just left on the table. My copy of Vanity Fair looks like an old onion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I thought we were done. I enjoyed this discussion, even though I was not writing comments all the time; I was however, reading all the fine comments Quark and Dark Muse wrote. So, I was here; just behind the scenes many times, something like the moderators, I suppose. Thanks for a fun discussion everyone. I loved this story. To me it's memorable.
    Thanks, Janine. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and discussion.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
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    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

  7. #1042
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quark View Post
    It probably is more than eight years from #1 to #3, but as we've been saying there's really no way to tell how much longer than eight years it's been. I think Chekhov leaves the time unspecified because it makes the visits blur together more. If we knew when each took place, then each scene would stand out as its own point in the time line. By leaving it unspecified, Chekhov places all the events in a distant past which runs together in the reader's mind. Or, maybe Chekhov just didn't think it was important.
    Only about 8 years? I pictured more time than that had elapsed, for some reason. Oh, now I get what your are saying...at least 8 yrs. I agree with that. Yes, it does create more of a blur and it makes one wonder, too. That Chekhov was a pretty smart guy, wasn't he?

    I'm just surprised you stay in touch. How many people can say that about their former English teachers?
    Oh, she lives in my town and taught up until about 10 years ago. I had contact with her, when my son was in school; see, we went to the same high school. It was kind of strange though, him having some of the same teachers, I had in the past. We once worked the same place too, but at different time periods; same thing there - a few stranglers were still working there and he worked with these ladies. Again, sort of strange. My English/History teacher, Louisa, is really a lovely person. She is very active in our town and in the Historic Society; everyone likes her. I like her a lot, but she does seem to me now to have a very limited world view of literature; it may be due to her religious convictions; but I'm not sure. I also worked with her on two groups in high school - the school newspaper staff and the yearbook staff, so we got friendly then. In recent years, I got friendly with her through other pursuits, such as antique collecting, local history, etc. I guess she's in her mid 70's now, so it's cool to be friends. The age gap closes up at my age.

    Good idea. I did that when I first started the discussion, but I've been lazy and haven't done much since then.
    Quark, you lazy bum, you! hahaha....yes, one must work hard to recruit these Chekhov lovers. They are there somewhere, I am sure.

    That's funny. I guess I'll have to restrain my urge to chastise. I think I know which one you're referring to, though. Was it the one with the secretary? Oh, what was that called? I would go back and find the discussion, but it's probably one-thousand posts back by now. I remember the back and forth between the characters being amusing. It was a bit of a satire, after all. The characters were supposed to represent the modern, soulless lifestyle that Lawrence loathed so. I got a chuckle out of that story. I think you're right about L's use of humor, though. It's really a supporting character and never really the center of attention. He slips in a joke ever now and then, but the meaning of the story does go deeper.
    That's the one! ...some individuals did not find it too humorous. I thought it was truly amusing, the way the two women went at each other. I do think Lawrence had a sense of humor, especially from comments in letters about him from his friends. They all said he was loads of fun to be around. He could be quite the comic and he could impersonate people perfectly, have everyone rolling on the floor with laughter. He was quite 'multi-talented', something like me! *shy smile of innocence*

    Right to say it's a 'supporting character' in that story, not central but none the less it is meant to be humorous in some ways.

    I know. We finally get to do one of the big ones, and no one is around to talk about it. Richard II and Winter's Tale were good, but c'mon it's Henry IV!
    Tell me about it. Finally, we get to my beloved Henry and *in tears now* - they all ran off! I love the Henry histories the very best. Henry V is still my favorite though; God knows when we can get to that one....maybe sometime next century....

    Sad? It's definitely not happy, but I wouldn't say it's sad either. At least, it isn't sad in that tearful sort of way.
    I think it's sad so far and I am half way through; well, the title feels sad right there for me. It's very interesting - the writing. When I am done reading it, I will have to give you my full impression.

    That might be a better way of looking at the line. It could be meant more for the narrator than the reader. The reader already knows they're alone. The narrator probably does too, but the mother could just be playing it up for sympathy.
    I think that's what it is intended for. It's for the narrator's benefit and ultimate sympathy.

    Hundreds. I've never taken a complete survey of his works, and every time I look at an anthology I see a story that I never saw before. If I had to guess I would say that there's about two-hundred and fifty. That's a steep hill to climb--and one that probably isn't worth the effort. I would just stick to the good stories, and leave the others behind.
    Well, Chekhov didn't write novels, is that correct? I would imagine that is why he outnumbers Lawrence in short stories. He just wrote plays and short stories, right? That is a lot of short stories though....lots of separate ideas.

    Those books are a great deal. Keep them on the shelf, though. The covers are a little flimsy and tend to peal away if they're just left on the table. My copy of Vanity Fair looks like an old onion.
    They peal away? I never had a book peal away before, Quark. Where do you live in a hothouse or an aquarium? Hummm..mine presently are under the AC unit. I better move them or they might curl up. I do have all my Lawrence short story books now falling appart. They didn't peal away - the spines gave out and the pages fell out completely. I will have to rubberband them together or put them into a small box. You know how hard it is to replace those. They really need one book with all his stories in it, not the three paperbacks.

    Thanks, Janine. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and discussion.
    Thank you, Quark for your great introduction and keeping with this discussion group. Only thing is, did you notice the woman is sewing by an open window with sunlight pouring in? I had to laugh since this story was so 'sunless'; but still, I do love those two photos you posted in the intro, so don't change them! It was a good discussion this time. I look forward to many more stories and good discussions in the future.
    Last edited by Janine; 06-30-2009 at 11:08 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  8. #1043
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    That's the one! ...some individuals did not find it too humorous. I thought it was truly amusing, the way the two women went at each other.
    Let me know when you pick another story. If you start the discussion before August I should be able to post some thoughts on the story before next semester starts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    He was quite 'multi-talented', something like me! *shy smile of innocence*
    Oh, of course. In fact, you probably have him outdone with visual media. Meanwhile, it takes all my focus to do just one thing right. If I could master one art form, I think I would stop there and consider myself accomplished. Yet maybe that isn't what makes people explore different forms. Usually it seems like--well, exploration. It isn't so much about mastery, as it is finding something new, interesting, and possibly challenging. Like I say, though, I feel challenged enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Tell me about it. Finally, we get to my beloved Henry and *in tears now* - they all ran off! I love the Henry histories the very best. Henry V is still my favorite though; God knows when we can get to that one....maybe sometime next century....
    I would be more than willing to start that discussion, but I don't know of anyone besides the two of us who would participate. Virgil appears to be a little overwhelmed right now. Jozanny stepped into the Richard II discussion briefly, but was rather non-committal about Henry IV. I'm sure some people voted for the play, but that doesn't mean they will post anything. We make a good team, but saving that thread might be beyond even our super powers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Well, Chekhov didn't write novels, is that correct? I would imagine that is why he outnumbers Lawrence in short stories. He just wrote plays and short stories, right? That is a lot of short stories though....lots of separate ideas.
    Right, there are no Chekhov novels. He wrote some novella-length stories--some went longer than one-hundred pages--but nothing that we would consider a full-fledged novel. I think the novel and Chekhov is actually a rather interesting topic, not because Chekhov wrote so many novels or had so many opinions on the novel, but because he said so little about it. The novel was "the" art form of the nineteenth century, and intuitively you would assume that Chekhov would have been pushed to write one. Yet he hardly mentions it. This leads to a lot of speculation. Did he not appreciate the novel as much as most readers? Did he look down on the novel? Was he intimidated by it? Chekhov's silence on the topic is odd. Some critics believe that his reputation suffered because of it. Many readers evaluate an author on the basis of their largest contribution to literature. When a writer composes a lot of smaller works they tend to get overlooked for authors who created one, giant novel. Take Melville and Hawthorne, as an example. Two 19th C American writers who are each well-regarded. By the strength of Moby Dick, however, Melville often looms larger than Hawthorne. Similarly, the big novels of Russian Literature like Crime and Punishment or Anna Karenina push Chekhov's short stories into the background. I think it's silly to define an author by just their best work, but that's often what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    They peal away? I never had a book peal away before
    Well it's not an old wife's tale I'm relating. The covers actually do peal. The material they make those B&N covers out of is so thin, and cardboard-like, that it bends really easily.
    Last edited by Quark; 07-02-2009 at 10:35 AM.
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  9. #1044
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quark View Post
    Let me know when you pick another story. If you start the discussion before August I should be able to post some thoughts on the story before next semester starts.
    Well, maybe midmonth. I don't usually like to start midmonth though. I haven't thought much about it. It seems Litnet is slow with summer lazyiness. I admit to being so myself. I have been trying to catch up on other things and also we are planning some upgrades to our house. I know this will be disruptive. I feel like I am in limbo right now. I don't know when that will be sprung on us or how long it will take. I need a new bathroom, that's a lot of work, even though it's just a small bathroom. So we will see what happens in the next few weeks, ok? I could start one but not sure I could keep up personally with it. If we have the turnout like last time that may be ok. I can lead from a distance for once.

    Oh, of course. In fact, you probably have him outdone with visual media. Meanwhile, it takes all my focus to do just one thing right. If I could master one art form, I think I would stop there and consider myself accomplished. Yet maybe that isn't what makes people explore different forms. Usually it seems like--well, exploration. It isn't so much about mastery, as it is finding something new, interesting, and possibly challenging. Like I say, though, I feel challenged enough.
    Quark, I didn't know you were so artistic minded. Do you do any visual artwork. Maybe you stuff is good. It all takes practice and persistence, even with natural talent. I laugh when I read Lawrence's letters; he often complained about having to do anything creative. I guess even genius' get burned out now and then. I can't recall now who I was talking about being multi-talented. Was it Chekhov or Lawrence. They both were. Look at Chekhov, afterall he was also a doctor. Quite an accomplishment for a young man back then to be a doctor and an author.

    I would be more than willing to start that discussion, but I don't know of anyone besides the two of us who would participate. Virgil appears to be a little overwhelmed right now. Jozanny stepped into the Richard II discussion briefly, but was rather non-committal about Henry IV. I'm sure some people voted for the play, but that doesn't mean they will post anything. We make a good team, but saving that thread might be beyond even our super powers.
    Yeah, agreed. I would hold off a bit on Henry IV. I am sure it will be complicated. All the histories are. We need a bunch of participants on the Henry plays.

    Right, there are no Chekhov novels. He wrote some novella-length stories--some went longer than one-hundred pages--but nothing that we would consider a full-fledged novel. I think the novel and Chekhov is actually a rather interesting topic, not because Chekhov wrote so many novels or had so many opinions on the novel, but because he said so little about it. The novel was "the" art form of the nineteenth century, and intuitively you would assume that Chekhov would have been pushed to write one. Yet he hardly mentions it. This leads to a lot of speculation. Did he not appreciate the novel as much as most readers? Did he look down on the novel? Was he intimidated by it? Chekhov's silence on the topic is odd. Some critics believe that his reputation suffered because of it. Many readers evaluate an author on the basis of their largest contribution to literature. When a writer composes a lot of smaller works they tend to get overlooked for authors who created one, giant novel. Take Melville and Hawthorne, as an example. Two 19th C American writers who are each well-regarded. By the strength of Moby Dick, however, Melville often looms larger than Hawthorne. Similarly, the big novels of Russian Literature like Crime and Punishment or Anna Karenina push Chekhov's short stories into the background. I think it's silly to define an author by just their best work, but that's often what happens.
    Interesting, I wonder about now. I can see how it would cause his work to not be taken as seriously at first. That's sort of a pity, since his stories are so fine. I do think one associates Chekhov with plays such as "The Cherry Orchard." So he was a playwrite and short story author and not a novelist. I could care less. Seems people had a narrow view of what marked an author and his importance. It's still expression in some form. Truly he was an artist!

    Well it's not an old wife's tale I'm relating. The covers actually do peal. The material they make those B&N covers out of is so thin, and cardboard-like, that it bends really easily.
    Maybe just sitting around the don't peal. I haven't read the new ones yet; I am usually so careful with my books; like I never bend the covers way back. I do however, have so many they are now sitting in piles, which I am not happy about. I need to read them! I am almost finished Heart of Darkness. I liked it very much. Now I will start a new book. One down and many to go!
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  10. #1045
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Yeah, agreed. I would hold off a bit on Henry IV.
    The cat might be out of the bag on that one. It was none of my doing. Well, it was kind of my doing. I sent around some messages about maybe starting up the discussion to see if there was any interest. I got mixed reactions: Virgil is busy of course, but some others thought they might post. I was mulling over whether to go ahead with the discussion when mayneverhave decided to start it himself. He wrote a good introduction, actually. It gave a pretty good overview with a couple of interesting observations. I don't know whether there will be much of a follow up, but I'll go ahead and give it a chance. After all, it's probably my only opportunity to discuss the play. If we wait much longer, I won't have time to fit it in. Don't feel obligated to post, though. If you have time for it, great, but I'm not even sure whether the conversation going to take off yet. This summer has been a lazy one for LitNet, and I doubt that's suddenly going to change.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

  11. #1046
    spiritus ubi vult spirat weltanschauung's Avatar
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    ive read most part of the discussion about the trousseau. i'll probably posst something eventually too.

  12. #1047
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weltanschauung View Post
    ive read most part of the discussion about the trousseau. i'll probably posst something eventually too.
    I guess this is a little tardy. Sorry about that weltanschauung. I took some time off LitNet and I didn't notice anyone posted anything. I'm glad you like the story or the discussion enough to read the posts. I'd be around to talk about the story if you're still interested, but I know it's been outrageously long since you last posted.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

  13. #1048
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Hi Quark, Dark Muse, weltanschuung, if any of you just happen to be around. I've been missing the Chekhov discussion. I hope we can discuss another story when you get a break from school, Quark. I was checking out some Youtube videos and came across these readings of three short stories. These are from the Kenneth Branagh narrated set In the Ravine. Thought that others here would enjoy listening to these three - all on the more humorous side:

    A Story Without A Title ~ Anton Chekhov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozIPjVOCJVY

    The Orator ~ Anton Chekhov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgGIkR-37j0

    Hush ! ~ Anton Chekhov

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rlom2UBJxJU
    Last edited by Janine; 11-07-2009 at 11:55 PM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  14. #1049
    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Hi Quark, Dark Muse, weltanschuung, if any of you just happen to be around. I've been missing the Chekhov discussion. I hope we can discuss another story when you get a break from school, Quark.
    Yeah, I'd like to get back into it as well, but I'd prefer to let someone else run things so that I don't get roped into doing too much work. Of course, I always say that, and then I realize that no one is really up for the slight effort it takes to keep a discussion going. Then, I end up running the thread. Something like that might happen soon. There isn't much going on in the other threads, so I will probably open up a new one. I was thinking about making it a Thomas Hardy thread, since I've read a few of his works recently. I wouldn't mind doing a discussion on some of the novels. They're short, too, so I think I could rope some people into it. Under the Greenwood Tree is less than two-hundred pages, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I was checking out some Youtube videos and came across these readings of three short stories.
    Good catch. I'll have to download those onto a CD, so I have something to listen to in the car.
    "Par instants je suis le Pauvre Navire
    [...] Par instants je meurs la mort du Pecheur
    [...] O mais! par instants"

    --"Birds in the Night" by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Join the discussion here: http://www.online-literature.com/for...5&goto=newpost

  15. #1050
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quark View Post
    Yeah, I'd like to get back into it as well, but I'd prefer to let someone else run things so that I don't get roped into doing too much work. Of course, I always say that, and then I realize that no one is really up for the slight effort it takes to keep a discussion going. Then, I end up running the thread. Something like that might happen soon. There isn't much going on in the other threads, so I will probably open up a new one. I was thinking about making it a Thomas Hardy thread, since I've read a few of his works recently. I wouldn't mind doing a discussion on some of the novels. They're short, too, so I think I could rope some people into it. Under the Greenwood Tree is less than two-hundred pages, I think.
    Hey, Quark, glad to see you back or at least making a guest appearance ....I miss discussing stuff with you. I would love to continue with Chekhov but if you can't do it, I will understand. The L thread is on 'temporary' stagnation, too. I should post something in the thread just to keep it from getting buried...we still have more stories to discuss in the L thread, you know...L was a prolithic author. I know what you mean about giving up the role of directing the thread. If you give it up completely, Quark, it will fall into obscurity...why don't you just put it on hold for a bit longer and we can pick up later on; even if we change formats and discuss a play. I just purchased a boxed set from Amazon of the Chekhov plays on film. The price went way down and I jumped at the oportunity. I own an Ibsen set something like this from the BBC and I love it. Ghost is the best one. Have you every read it?

    As far as Hardy is concerned - I love Hardy!!! I have read nearly all his novels. I was big into Hardy about 5 years back; I even joined a Hardy site but then dropped out...wasn't a forum but an email list. I also own most of the adaptations...my favorites are the BBC, the Masterpiece Theater productions and A&E. I would definitely be up to disgussing "Under the Greenwood Tree". I love the story and I own the adaptation which is terrific and captures the book and characters perfectly. It's a short book, too and I own it. I own all my Hardy books I read. What other Hardy works have you read so far? My friend from Japan has studied Hardy extensively. I also read some biography of the author; a very interesting man indeed.

    Good catch. I'll have to download those onto a CD, so I have something to listen to in the car.
    You can download the videos, if you have the right program. I recently got the abreivated form of Real Player SP. I am thinking of buying the full program...it's pretty cheap really and you can burn the videos.

    As far as these are concerned though; these are the stories and narration I believe I send to you back a few years ago on CD's. Kenneth Branagh narrates them....Hey, Quark, you losing your memory...

    Right now I am trying to get ready for Christmas. Debating whether to put up a small tree. I bought my grand-daughter gifts and that is all I need to buy. "Under the Greenwood Tree" IS a Christmas story; or at least, it begins at Christmas and like other Hardy works, goes through all 4 seasons. It's a lovely and fun story. I love it!
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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