On this day, 119 years ago, the most important playwright and short story writer of Russia, whose quotes remain unchanged over time, passed away
On July 15, 1904 the most important and well-known playwright of Russia, and not only, Anton Chekhov, passed away.
Born on January 17, 1860 in the southern Russian town of Taganrog, two fields had won him from an early age, medicine and writing.
His first contact with letters took place in parochial Greek school of Tanganyika, while from the sixth grade onwards, his family’s poor financial situation forced him to contribute financially to his parents by giving private lessons.
In his studies he was very good, he graduated from medicine with ease and actively practiced the medical profession. From an early age, however, he had discovered another passion of his. Already in high school he had started writing short stories and humorous scenes. He published all these in well-known magazines of his time and they were successful, together with him.
When he discovered that writing was an important part of his life, he became more involved, publishing two short story booksThe Tales of Melpomeni (1884) and Fancy Stories (1885).
He never stopped practicing medicine, his second great passion. In fact, in 1891, upon his return to Russia after a trip to Europe, he began to deal with cholera and ways to combat it. His great medical contribution never took him away from his writing work.
His first plays and the course of his health
He could harmoniously combine the fight against diseases with the creation of successful plays. Specifically, he said: “Medicine is my beloved wife and writing is my mistress. When I get tired of one, I spend the night with the other.”
In 1896, his play The Seagull was staged in Petropolis, but without receiving a warm welcome from the public. That will also be the year that he will face the first serious manifestation of tuberculosis, which subsequently led to his death.
In 1896, with money he managed to collect from fundraisers, charities and performances, he builds a school in Talez. A new, worse attack of his illness forces him in 1897 to go to the Riviera of Southern France, while at the same time in the Russian countryside he begins to play his play Uncle Vanias.
His health does not seem to be stabilizing and tuberculosis continues to plague him. In 1904, a few months before he succumbed to his illness, he presented his last, and very beloved in Russia, play The Cherry Orchard at the Art Theater, while all his other plays were endlessly accepted by the public and successful.
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