Review by Choice Review
Gottlieb and Allain gathered 16 international authorities to provide a scholarly collection of essays on Chekhov and his theater, a work that surpasses in scope the series volumes on Ibsen (ed. by James McFarlane, CH, Oct'94) and Beckett (ed. by John Pilling, CH, Nov'94). Eloquent essays provide details of Chekhov's life, epoch, and the Stanislavsky/Nemirovich-Danehenko productions of his plays at the Moscow Art Theatre. The most novel insights are from Donald Rayfield, Cynthia Marsh, and Gottlieb, who (respectively) bring forth thematic and formal confluences between Chekhov's plays and short stories; explore the treatment of women heroines; and favor the playwright's comedic rather than tragic intentions (using Chekhov's letters as support, Gottlieb insists on the preponderance of the Tartufian hero, even though the public's reception of the playwright rarely confirms her Bakhtinian considerations). In a section titled "Chekhov in Production," Edward Braun unveils the fate of Platonov (published posthumously in 1923), and Laurence Senelick examines a production of Three Sisters, challenging the director's creative ambition "to orchestrate a fugue of moods and genre-pieces" out of the various components of Chekhovian mis-en-scene. A glossary of theater personages adds to Senelick's essay. A must for upper-division undergraduates and serious scholars, this companion is absolutely indispensable for those staging or adapting Chekhov's plays. D. Z. Hutchins Buena Vista University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.