The Social Significance of the Modern Drama : Part 18, Chapter 1 : Anton Tchekhof
(1869 - 1940) ~ Russian-American Mother of Anarcho-Communism : She is an Anarchist, pure and simple. She represents the idea of Anarchism as framed by Josiah Warren, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy. Yet she also understands the psychologic causes which induce a Caserio, a Vaillant, a Bresci, a Berkman, or a Czolgosz to commit deeds of violence. (From : Hippolyte Havel Bio.)
• "The individual educator imbued with honesty of purpose, the artist or writer of original ideas, the independent scientist or explorer, the non-compromising pioneers of social changes are daily pushed to the wall by men whose learning and creative ability have become decrepit with age." (From : "Minorities Versus Majorities," by Emma Goldman.)
• "Each child responds differently to his environment. Some become rebels, refusing to be dazzled by social superstitions. They are outraged by every injustice perpetrated upon them or upon others. They grow ever more sensitive to the suffering round them and the restriction registering every convention and taboo imposed upon them." (From : "Was My Life Worth Living?" by Emma Goldman, secti....)
• "The cause lies not in prostitution, but in society itself; in the system of inequality of private property and in the State and Church. In the system of legalized theft, murder and violation of the innocent women and helpless children." (From : "Anarchy and the Sex Question," by Emma Goldman, F....)
Part 18, Chapter 1
H3 ALIGN=CENTER>Emma Goldman, The Social Significance of the Modern Drama
(Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1914; The Gorham Press, Boston, U.S.A.)
WHEN Anton Tchekhof first came to the fore, no less an authority than Tolstoy said: "Russia has given birth to another Turgenev." The estimate was not overdrawn. Tchekhof was indeed a modern Turgenev. Perhaps not as universal, because Turgenev, having lived in western Europe, in close contact with conditions outside of Russia, dealt with more variegated aspects of life. But as a creative artist Tchekhof is fitted to take his place with Turgenev.
Tchekhof is preëminently the master of short stories, Within the limits of a few pages he paints the drama of human life with its manifold tragic and comic colors, in its most intimate reflex upon the characters who pass through the panorama. He has been called a pessimist. As if one could miss the sun without feeling the torture of utter darkness!
Tchekhof wrote during the gloomiest period of Russian life, at a time when the reaction had drowned the revolution in the blood of the young generation,-- when the Czar had choked the verybreath out of young Russia. The intellectuals were deprived of every outlet: all the social channels were closed to them, and they found themselves without hope or faith, not having yet learned to make common cause with the people.
Tchekhof could not escape the atmosphere which darkened the horizon of almost the whole of Russia. It was because he so intensely felt its oppressive weight that he longed for air, for light, for new and vital ideas. To awaken the same yearning and faith in others, he had to picture life as it was, in all its wretchedness and horror.
This he did in "the Seagull," while in "The Cherry Orchard" he holds out the hope of a new and brighter day.
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