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Francine Prose's Bookcase

Francine Prose (born April 1, 1947) is an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center.

Photo by: David Shankbone

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Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the highly acclaimed translators of War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, and Anna Karenina, which was an Oprah Book Club pick and million-copy bestseller, bring their unmatched talents to The Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, a collection of thirty of Chekhov’s best tales from the major periods of his creative life.

Considered the greatest short story writer, Anton Chekhov changed the genre itself with his spare, impressionistic depictions of Russian life and the human condition. From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as “The Huntsman” and the tour de force “A Boring Story,” to his best-known stories such as “The Lady with the Little Dog” and his own personal favorite, “The Student,” Chekhov’s short fiction possesses the transcendent power of art to awe and change the reader. This monumental edition, expertly translated, is especially faithful to the meaning of Chekhov’s prose and the unique rhythms of his writing, giving readers an authentic sense of his style and a true understanding of his greatness.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Collection of stories by the Russian short story writer and playwright. Many of his short stories are considered the apotheosis of the form while his playwriting career, though brief, had a great impact on dramatic literature and performance. His major plays are frequently revived in modern productions.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

IT was said that a new person had appeared on the sea-front: a lady with a little dog. Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, who had by then been a fortnight at Yalta, and so was fairly at home there, had begun to take an interest in new arrivals. Sitting in Verney's pavilion, he saw, walking on the sea-front, a fair-haired young lady of medium height, wearing a beret; a white Pomeranian dog was running behind her. And afterwards he met her in the public gardens and in the square several times a day. She was walking alone, always wearing the same beret, and always with the same white dog; no one knew who she was, and every one called her simply "the lady with the dog."

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Anton Chekhov, who is often credited with inventing the modern short story, wrote many volumes worth of short stories during his lifetime and is considered by many as one of the greatest short story writers of all time. This collection includes twenty-three examples of Chekhov's extraordinary storytelling gift. The following tales can be found in this volume: The Cook's Wedding, The Witch, A Dead Body, Easter Eve, On the Road, The Dependents, Grisha, The Kiss, Typhus, The Pipe, The Princess, Neighbours, The Grasshopper, In Exile, Ward No. 6, Rothschild's Fiddle, The Student, The Darling, A Doctor's Visit, Gooseberries, The Lady with the Dog, In the Ravine, and The Bishop.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

First published in 1891, this morality tale pits a scientist, a government worker, his mistress, a deacon, and a physician against one another in a verbal battle of wits and ethics that explodes into a violent contest: the duel. When Laevsky, a lazy youth who works for the government, tires of his dependent mistress, Nadyezhda Fyodorovna, Von Koren, the scientist, delivers a scathing critique of Loevsky’s egotism, forcing the young man to examine his soul. The Duel is a tale of human weakness, the possibility of forgiveness, and a man’s ultimate ability to change his ways. It is classic Chekhov, revealing the multifaceted essence of human nature.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare’s finesse to Oscar Wilde’s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim’s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the highly acclaimed translators of War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, and Anna Karenina, which was an Oprah Book Club pick and million-copy bestseller, bring their unmatched talents to The Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, a collection of thirty of Chekhov’s best tales from the major periods of his creative life.

Considered the greatest short story writer, Anton Chekhov changed the genre itself with his spare, impressionistic depictions of Russian life and the human condition. From characteristically brief, evocative early pieces such as “The Huntsman” and the tour de force “A Boring Story,” to his best-known stories such as “The Lady with the Little Dog” and his own personal favorite, “The Student,” Chekhov’s short fiction possesses the transcendent power of art to awe and change the reader. This monumental edition, expertly translated, is especially faithful to the meaning of Chekhov’s prose and the unique rhythms of his writing, giving readers an authentic sense of his style and a true understanding of his greatness.

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Found via: Favobooks

Absolutely wonderful."—Francine Prose

Written in France toward the end of his career, these stories are Anton Chekhov's only attempt at the linked collection. "A Man in a Shell" is a grotesque Gogolian comedy; "Gooseberries," a narrator's impassioned response; and "About Love," a poignant story of failed relationships. Translated by the impeccable David Helwig and fabulously illustrated by Seth, About Love is essential for any Chekhov enthusiast.

David Helwig is the author of twenty volumes of fiction and fourteen volumes of poetry, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and former poet laureate of Prince Edward Island.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

The letters of Anton Chekhov, like those of Flaubert, are astonishing in their immense range and in their literary quality. Beginning in 1885, when he was twenty-five, and ending with his death less than twenty years later, the correspondence testifies to an extraordinary career. Chekhov was not only a writer but a critic, a doctor, a traveler, a devoted lover and brother. He brings his passions and his immense talent to every subject. As witty and observant as his great plays and stories, Chekhov's letters exemplify his artistry and humanity.

In 1890, though already suffering from tuberculosis, he traveled to the prison colonies of Siberia and Sakhalin Island. His descriptions of that arduous journey are sharp, humorous, vividly detailed. Sympathy and a quick dramatic eye characterize his portraits of the people of the Russian countryside.

Chekhov speaks with eloquence and determination in his defense of Emile Zola during the Dreyfus affair (a stand which cost him one of his closest friendships), in his vigorous criticisms of the various productions of his plays -- especially the famous stagings by Konstantin Stanislavski --and in all his dealings with the other writers and critics of the Russian literary and theatrical world. In these letters this public and private man reveals his compassion and vulnerability as he records the vicissitudes of his family life, his love for the actress Olga Knipper (whom he eventually married), and the tragic breakdown of his health.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

A love story told in the form of an auction catalog.

Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person -- their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

In Leanne Shapton's marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren't real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple's personal effects -- the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks) -- the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple's accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate.

In an earlier work, Was She Pretty?, Shapton, a talented artist and illustrator, subtly explored the seemingly simple yet powerfully complicated nature of sexual jealousy. In Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris―a very different yet equally original book―she invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a master of the short story. The son of a former serf in southern Russia, he attended Moscow University to study medicine, writing short stories for periodicals in order to support his family. What began as a necessity became a legitimate career in 1886 when he was asked to write in St. Petersburg for the Novoye Vremya (New Times), owned by millionaire magnate Alexey Suvorin. Chekhov began paying more attention to his writing, revising and developing his own principles and conceptions of truth, for a time coming under the influence of Leo Tolstoy. As a result of his widespread popularity, Chekhov amassed a vast collection of short stories displaying an early use of stream-of-consciousness writing, as well as his powerful ideas concerning the individual, the tedium of life, and the beauty nature and humanity. This edition contains many stories, including "Ward No. 6," "The Looking-Glass," "The Beggar," "Darkness," "An Avenger," "A Happy Man," and "A Troublesome Visitor."

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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