Monday, 12 April 2010

take it from chekhov, nature doesn't weep

In his article on the American novelist and short story writer John Cheever, Edmund White makes a number of illuminating references to Chekhov.

White decribes Chekhov as an ecologist avant la lettre (see our Chekhov as proto-environmentalist) and goes on to quote a letter Chekhov wrote to the young Maxim Gorky in which Chekhov takes issue with Gorky's descriptions of nature. Chekhov characterises Gorky's anthropomophic approach as:

The sea breathes, the sky looks on, the steppe basks in the sun, nature whispers, speaks, weeps, and so on.

Chekhov explains to the younger writer:

In descriptions of nature, vibrancy and expressivity are best produced by simple techniques, for example: using simple phrases such as 'the sun set', 'it got dark', 'it started to rain', and so on.

1 comment:

  1. too right, daffodils finally out in Eire, simply titled it 'cloud flowers', enjoy, C