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Duel (version 2)

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By: (1860-1904)

Known for his plays and short stories, Anton Chekhov also wrote a series of novellas, astonishing for their psychological complexity and compelling human portraiture. In The Duel, the wastrel and libertine Laevsky absconds to the Caucasus with another man's wife, Nadyezhda Fyodorovna. While there, he forms several acquaintanceships with a colorful array of characters: Von Koren the zoologist, Samoylenko the doctor, and Pobyedov the giddy deacon. Before long, both Laevsky and his mistress succeed in offending local society by their dissolute lifestyles, leading to the inevitable insult, challenge, and duel. Duels having been exploited as plot twists throughout the writings of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoyevsky (all ironically alluded to by the author), the challenge for Chekhov is to make it work one more time in 1891, at a time when duelling had nearly died out in both society and literature. The result is a richly layered, utterly original, philosophically and psychologically ambiguous story of human love and friendship. (

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E text prepared by James Rusk

THE DUEL AND OTHER STORIES

by

ANTON TCHEKHOV

Translated by Constance Garnett

CONTENTS

THE DUEL EXCELLENT PEOPLE MIRE NEIGHBOURS AT HOME EXPENSIVE LESSONS THE PRINCESS THE CHEMIST'S WIFE

THE DUEL

I

It was eight o'clock in the morning the time when the officers, the local officials, and the visitors usually took their morning dip in the sea after the hot, stifling night, and then went into the pavilion to drink tea or coffee. Ivan Andreitch Laevsky, a thin, fair young man of twenty eight, wearing the cap of a clerk in the Ministry of Finance and with slippers on his feet, coming down to bathe, found a number of acquaintances on the beach, and among them his friend Samoylenko, the army doctor.

With his big cropped head, short neck, his red face, his big nose, his shaggy black eyebrows and grey whiskers, his stout puffy figure and his hoarse military bass, this Samoylenko made on every newcomer the unpleasant impression of a gruff bully; but two or three days after making his acquaintance, one began to think his face extraordinarily good natured, kind, and even handsome... Continue reading book >>


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