Cover image for The seagull
The seagull
Chekhov, Anton Pavlovich, 1860-1904.
Publication Information:
London : Eyre Methuen Ltd in association with the Royal Court Theatre, 1981.
Physical Description:
41 pages ; 21 cm.
Added Author:
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PG3456.C5 K44 Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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Great Russian playwright's tragic masterpiece portrays the inner anguish of a tormented artist who burns with unrequited love. Acclaimed as a prototype of 20th-century drama, it brilliantly reveals the universal tragedy of ruined hopes and dreams.

Author Notes

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in the provincial town of Taganrog, Ukraine, in 1860. In the mid-1880s, Chekhov became a physician, and shortly thereafter he began to write short stories.

Chekhov started writing plays a few years later, mainly short comic sketches he called vaudvilles. The first collection of his humorous writings, Motley Stories, appeared in 1886, and his first play, Ivanov, was produced in Moscow the next year. In 1896, the Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg performed his first full- length drama, The Seagull. Some of Chekhov's most successful plays include The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Chekhov brought believable but complex personalizations to his characters, while exploring the conflict between the landed gentry and the oppressed peasant classes. Chekhov voiced a need for serious, even revolutionary, action, and the social stresses he described prefigured the Communist Revolution in Russia by twenty years. He is considered one of Russia's greatest playwrights.

Chekhov contracted tuberculosis in 1884, and was certain he would die an early death. In 1901, he married Olga Knipper, an actress who had played leading roles in several of his plays. Chekhov died in 1904, spending his final years in Yalta.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Dubbed "a comedy in four acts" by Chekhov, The Sea Gull must be one of the saddest comedies in theater history--and one of the most moving. Concerned primarily with a starry-eyed young writer, his selfish, aging actress-mother, and their circle of friends, the play is filled with quiet, desperate characters who are disillusioned, unloved, and utterly trapped in hopeless, petty provincial lives. This new translation by Nicholas Saunders and Frank Dwyer is no funnier than others available, but it is considerably livelier and more literate; just reading it is a joy. In it, Chekhov's dialogue sparkles, and his characters leap off the page. Even that always awkward symbol, the dead sea gull that appears in the first and last acts, seems less so in this elegant version. This Sea Gull, first performed at the San Jose Repertory Theater (California) in the spring of 1994, makes a great alternative to all those dusty, academic renderings that make Chekhov seem fit only for college survey courses. ~--Jack Helbig