Literature's great dramatist and short story writer, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) was born on this day in the port town of Taganrog, in southern Russia. He grew up working in his father's grocery store.
He once said, "Man is what he believes."
Attending medical school on a scholarship, Chekhov began writing to support his family and continued writing while practicing medicine. He eventually gave up medicine to write full-time, structuring a new style where major plot events take place off-stage.
"Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be," he said.
His stories explored characters more than plot, capturing intense emotions with almost clinical objectivity. His narrative voice, a study in calm realism, was electrifying. "Don't tell me the moon is shining," he said. "Show me the glint of light on broken glass."
His plays--including Ivano (1887), The Seagull (1899), Uncle Vanya (1899), The Three Sisters (1901), and The Cherry Orchard (1904)--celebrated life and love in his homeland.
He said, "An artist observes, selects, guesses, and synthesizes."
A compassionate and generous humanitarian, Chekhov organized famine relief and treated hundreds of poor patients during the cholera epidemic. His own life was ended early from tuberculosis.
"If our life has a meaning, an aim, it has nothing to do with our personal happiness, but something wiser and greater," he said.
More Anton CHEKHOV Quotations
Sparkle with burning light.