JOYCE papers presents a source of culture and inspiration in the form of pivotal literary and visual works.

A Life in Letters


Anton Chekhov

Published Date



Penguin Classics



"Either write to me every day or divorce me; there's nothing in between."

About this book

In this collection of letters written by Chekhov between 1876 and 1904, we learn what it meant to be a physician in Russia; like how sometimes it involved post-mortems on cows if no vets were on hand. Chekhov writes of his daily life of fishing, gardening, and travelling, following his travels to Continental Europe and Asia. He married the actress Olga Knipper in 1901, a mere three years before he lost his battle in fighting tuberculosis in 1904. The couple short time together was spent mostly apart as he explored health-enhancing locations whilst she remained in Moscow to continue her performances. Throughout this time they continued their correspondence with Chekhov writing: "Either write to me every day or divorce me; there's nothing in between". In his letters the writer expounds on art, literature, politics, relationships, sex, other famous writers and always with his characteristic wit and extreme brevity. Chekhov proves to be as profound, humorous and and pleasant in his letters as he is in his stories and plays.

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