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Download Uncle Vanya epub

by Anton Chekhov

This collection chronicles the fiction and non fiction classics by the greatest writers the world has ever known. The inclusion of both popular as well as overlooked pieces is pivotal to providing a broad and representative collection of classic works.
Download Uncle Vanya epub
ISBN: 1461030595
ISBN13: 978-1461030591
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Classics
Author: Anton Chekhov
Language: English
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 27, 2011)
Pages: 48 pages
ePUB size: 1783 kb
FB2 size: 1760 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 784
Other Formats: txt mbr mbr rtf

Anthon Chekhov is widely regarded as one of the masters of Russian literature. His life was relatively short, dying from tuberculous at the age of 44. His life spanned a period of Russian history that can be described as post-serf, pre-automobile, from 1860 to 1904. I saw The Cherry Orchard produced a couple decades ago and recently read the play. I just finished Cédric Gras’ excellent L'hiver aux trousses (Essais - Documents) (French Edition) concerning his travels in the Russian Far East. Gras made a few references to Chekhov in his book, and I decided to add Sakhalin Island (Alma Classics) to the to-read list. Gras also referred to the “Uncle Vanya” like aspects of one person he met in his travels; I had no idea what he meant, and decided to remedy that forthwith.

“Uncle Vanya” was first published in 1897, and performed in 1899. Like “The Cherry Orchard,” the setting is a country estate in rural Russia. The emancipated serfs/peasants are in the deep background. There are six to eight principal characters: the estate owner with the various relationships and hangers-on. Professor Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov (ah, don’t you love those Russian names, in all their glory?), who is bordering on his dotage, is re-married, to 27-year old Helena. Ivan Voitski, who is “Uncle Vanya,” was the Professor’s brother-in-law via his first marriage. Sonia is the Professor’s daughter from that first marriage. And Michael Astroff is a country doctor, tending ailments physical as well as mental, including some of his own. A good mixture of “star-crossed” individuals, that Chekhov handles with Balzac-like precision.

As one might suspect, the young wife is “up for grabs,” the center of attention for most of the males. Sonia, who is “plain,” and knows it, would love to be the center of at least one man’s attention – alas. And there is considerable conflict between Uncle Vanya and the Professor, with the former describing the later as: “for twenty-five years he has been reading and writing things that clever men have long known and stupid ones are not interested in; for twenty-five years he has been making imaginary mountains our of molehills.”

Chekhov demonstrates a strong ecological streak, and love of the natural world, long before the first “Earth Day.” Consider the remarks of Doctor Astroff: “Oh, I don’t object, of course, to cutting wood from necessity, but why destroy the forests? The woods of Russia are trembling under the blows of the axe. Millions of trees have perished. The homes of wild animals and birds have been desolated; the rivers are shrinking and many beautiful landscapes are gone forever. And why? Because men are too lazy and stupid to stoop down and pick up their fuel from the ground.” And this is written at the end of the 19th century!

Dr. Astroff also chimes in on the eternal questions of male-female relationships: “A woman can only become a man’s friend after having first been his acquaintance and then his beloved – then she becomes his friend.” Overall, the play is morose and gloomy, with Uncle Vanya saying it might be a fine day for a suicide. The climactic scene, and one that it is important to recall if one is to be “au courant” in literature, is the failed homicide attempt made by Uncle Vanya. In fact, his gun is a reference point. The attempt is the closing of the third act. The fourth act is a “long good-bye” that I felt added very little to the play, and thus, overall, believe it rates 4-stars.
Oddly enough, I came to read this vis-a-vis Murakami's "1Q84", a very complex, contemporary book set in 1984. Murakami included choice quotes from Chekhov throughout his story and I couldn't help but wonder about the source material. Also, after reading the 1,000 or so pages of "1Q84", I wanted something short. Very short. This fit the bill.

Overall, a quick read about a time and place I'm largely unfamiliar (Tsarist Russia, on a rural estate), occupied by individuals who all are unhappy for one reason or another. They never become happy. They simply remain miserable in their own idleness. Everyone loves someone they can't have, and life offers them far from enough.

All in all, and it's uncomfortable to say it, nothing happens. Sounds like a winner, right?

It is. The fast paced dialogue and emotional weight moves the story at a brisk pace. To be sure, Chekhov has a way with words (of course, assuming the Russian translation has been done well. I have no reason to think otherwise). There's a tangible feel to the place; the setting is immersive. And did I say it was short? It's wonderfully short.

It's also free. Translated by the community, the Kindle edition is absent any noticeable errors. It is highly well-done for a public domain book. Congrats, community.
But Tsarist Russia, of course! It was really a crushing loss to literature to lose him so young. Although 44 wasn't necessarily 'young' back then, not like to day. but you get my point I think.

And Vanya is such an exquisitely common, yet unavoidable masterpiece of stage drama -- seemingly wrenched from the jaws and bowels of every day existence, the way things can be turned on their head and life being not as we know it-- indeed, not ever the same as it once was and seemed destined to be for 'All time.' ... well, this is life itself, and what can you do?

Really, death is the answer at the end of all our tales,. isn't it?
If you're looking for a copy of this book for a class or other study, I would recommend this copy. It works well on Kindle and I think it is still free on that device or app, and is of good quality.
A must read! SO funny!
For quality of their books and speed of delivery, they can't be beat.
A great play by the master. Eloquent speeches by miserable people caught up in their sad and superficial lives. The estate is not where the retired professor and his wife want to be. Like Shakespeare's plays, every one is in love with someone they can't have.
I had read this book forty some years ago. I realize I was probably too young to really understand Uncle Vanya himself. It reminded me why I loved Chekov. He perfectly depicted the way his people lived in that time, you can almost feel the sadness and the hopelessness. It is very enlightening to realize that he was so concerned about the future of his country, his people and the land and how he could look into the future and see how it could be damaged by what was being done or not done to the land, the forests, the people. No wonder this play is so popular with theatre lovers.