Release:2018, Vol. 4. №1
About the authors:Pierre Marillaud, Dr. of Linguistics, Associate Researcher, University Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (France); firstname.lastname@example.org
This article studies A. Chekhov’s creative works and the view of life, using his literary works, as well as his personal correspondence with the family. 2016 saw the publishing of the book “Anton Tchekhov, Vivre de mes rêves, lettres d’une vie” in France; another one followed in 2017, and contained A. Camus’s correspondence with M. Casares. That allows the comparison of the two absurdist writers, who often seemed indifferent and cold, while their letters, addressed to their family members, reveal other aspects of their personality, such as sensitivity and generosity.
This work examines Chekhov’s views on the family, society, and politics. For Chekhov, the family was one of the main values in his life, which, however, did not prevent him from showing weaknesses and even cruel customs of the Russian family, contemporary at his day. In his stories and plays, Chekhov acts as an objective observer of life of Russian society, thus showing the history of Russian aristocracy on the verge of collapse in his play “The Cherry Orchard”. The world of educated and refined aristocrats no longer harmonizes with civil society based on inequality, serfdom, and exploitation. It is replaced by the society, in which the bourgeoisie rules, as it was in France in 1789.
Re-creating the life of different social strata in Russia in the nineteenth century, Chekhov by no means expressed his political position, unlike Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Chekhov’s world is strange, eclectic, polymorphic, incoherent and devoid of meaning. At the same time, the moments of beauty and happiness appear from time to time on a dark background of absurdity, as in the book “Sakhalin Island”, for example. Chekhov is convinced that no political or religious machine shall replace either evolution of each individual, or movement towards the future world built on the principles of the Enlightenment and humanism.