The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904, Paperback Book

The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904 Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories 1896-1904 is an enchanting collection of tales which showcase Anton Chekhov at the height of his power as a writer.

This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Ronald Wilks with an introduction by Paul Debreczeny.In the final years of his life, Chekhov produced some of the stories that rank among his masterpieces, and some of the most highly-regarded works in Russian literature.

The poignant 'The Lady with the Little Dog' and 'About Love' examine the nature of love outside of marriage - its romantic idealism and the fear of disillusionment. And in stories such as 'Peasants', 'The House with the Mezzanine' and 'My Life' Chekhov paints a vivid picture of the conditions of the poor and of their powerlessness in the face of exploitation and hardship.

With the works collected here, Chekhov moved away from the realism of his earlier tales - developing a broader range of characters and subject matter, while forging the spare minimalist style that would inspire such modern short-story writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.Ronald Wilks's translation is accompanied by an introduction in which Paul Debreczeny discusses the themes that Chekhov adopted in his mature work.

This edition also includes a publishing history and notes for each story, a chronology and further reading.Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was born in Taganrog, a port on the sea of Azov.

In 1879 he travelled to Moscow, where he entered the medical faculty of the university, graduating in 1884.

During his university years, he supported his family by contributing humorous stories and sketches to magazines.

He published his first volume of stories, Motley Tales, in 1886, and a year later his second volume In the Twilight, for which he received the Pushkin Prize.

Today his plays, including Uncle Vanya, The Seagull, and The Cherry Orchard are recognised as masterpieces the world over.

If you enjoyed The Lady with the Little Dog you might like Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, also available in Penguin Classics.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780140447873

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Meticulously detailed character portraits of rural Russia these short stories provide an intimate insight into the life and loves of a peasant people. There is much tragedy and some comedy but an inexorable passage of time in an infinite Russian homeland that both changes and never changes. Chekhov's stories resonate with the things that are left out and the things that are included. These, rather than the plots, are the key to understanding their meaning. Chekhov portrays an emotional but resilient and philosophical people who labour on from one generation to the next steeped in poverty, labour and vodka. These are excellent short stories but I think I'd prefer to read one every now and then in isolation rather than plough through all of them together as I have.This edition comes with an invaluable introduction as a guide to the stories. Read this rather as an afterword as it will send you back to re-read particular stories with eyes more fully open to the genius of Chekhov's writing.

Review by

Chekhov is known as the master of the short story, and after reading these five stories, it is easy to see why. Each story is exquisitely crafted and nearly flawless. Chekhov writes with such precision, especially when describing the natural world. His words perfectly evoke the scene: a garden in flower; a riverbank; an avenue of trees; a field just before a rainstorm; the sea.Chekhov contrasts the beauty and serenity of the natural world with the inner turmoil of his characters. For Chekhov, suffering is the natural human condition. His characters are mostly depressed, or if they are happy, their happiness is due to ignorance, corruption or insanity. In stark contrast to the beautiful world they inhabit, Chekhov's characters dwell in darkness, constantly struggling against their own limitations and the limitations imposed on them by others or by society. Chekhov's characters don't fear death; instead, they seem to welcome it as an end to the struggle.In these five selections, Chekhov addresses many of the highest themes of literature: the state of the mind ("The Black Monk"); the value of art ("The House with the Mezzanine"); the unending cycle of poverty ("The Peasants"); the corrupting influence of wealth ("Gooseberries"); and the mystery of love ("The Lady with the Toy Dog"). In these stories, Chekhov asks no less than what it means to be human. He doesn't offer easy answers; often his stories end with the question unresolved. But it is impossible after reading them not to feel moved by the power of Chekhov's words.

Review by

Said to be the master of short fiction, I was pleased to sample his work. Mostly tales of romance that appeal to my adult male perspective, often a love gone wrong, myopic, misapprehending, tinged with tragedy. Some that I'll reread, some passages highlighted. Some endings felt abrupt, the tale unfinished, forcing me to re-evaluate what the story was really meant to draw my attention to.

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