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Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) the son of a grocer and serf, worked as a physician and ran an open clinic for the poor, while also writing the plays and short stories that have established him as one of the greatest figures in Russian literature. Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) is widely regarded as the preeminent American man of letters of the twentieth century. Over his long career, he wrote for Vanity Fair, helped edit The New Republic, served as chief book critic for The New Yorker, and was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. Wilson was the author of more than twenty books, includingAxel's Castle, Patriotic Gore, and a work of fiction, Memoirs of Hecate County.
No one understood as clearly and finely as Anton Chekhov the tragedy of life's trivialities, no one before him showed men with such merciless truth the terrible and shameful picture of their life in the dim chaos of bourgeois everyday existence. -- Maxim Gorky This is Chekhov with his eye on the big social picture....Longer than his earlier stories, these late works have more in common with The Sea Gull and The Cherry Orchard than with, say, The Doctor; depending on your taste, these stories may be most filling from a social observer's point of view....Subtlety isn't exactly the driving aim here. -- Washington Post Book World