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Anton Chekhov: Genius Architect of the Modern Short Story

Saturday, March 23 at 9:30am to 12:00pm

Baker Downtown Center
975 High Street, Eugene, OR 97401

Although known mostly as a great playwright, Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) is also routinely and correctly described as the inventor of the modern short story. Why? Perhaps his stories revealed a familiar modern life, one often felt to be godless, random, and absurd. By abandoning the clichéd beginning-middle-and-end plot, by refusing to judge his characters, by forsaking a climax or a neat narrative resolution, Chekhov made his stories appear almost unbearably lifelike.

Of course, there existed talented earlier writers like Maupassant, Turgenev, Gogol, Poe, Hawthorne, Irving, and others; however, none of these could be called “modern.” We will see how Chekhov’s literary principles birthed that particular adjective– “modern”–for the short story.

Expect at-home questions, small group discussion, and lecture. For comparison purposes, other stories will be distributed.

Required Text and Edition: Anton Chekhov's Short Stories (Norton Critical Editions, 1st Edition,1979)

Target Audience

General Public



General Community: $135 / OLLI Members: $95


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