Carol APOLLONIO. Scenic Storytelling in Chekhov’s “Grasshopper”

Carol APOLLONIO. Scenic Storytelling in Chekhov’s “Grasshopper”The 1892 story “Poprygun’ia”, most commonly known in English as “The Grasshopper,” is one of the most autobiographical of Chekhov’s works.1 In spite of the author’s protestations to the contrary, the reading public and Chekhov’s own friends recognized the prototypes of its characters in the painter Isaak Levitan and the artistic dilettante and salon hostess Sofia Kuvshinnikova, as well as in a number of other members of their circle. The details of Kuvshinnikova’s marriage, her activities in the art world, and her affair with the painter figure prominently in the story. The story’s publication led to a scandal in Moscow’s literary and artistic world and a public and painful rift between the author and those of his acquaintance who identified themselves as caricatured protagonists. This episode has been addressed in every biographical study, and the evidence does not need to be reproduced here. But the story’s origins make it an excellent potential source for insights about the creative process, both in general and in the particular case of Chekhov. >>

Carol Apollonio

Carol Apollonio is Associate Professor of the Practice of Russian at Duke University. Author of numerous articles on nineteenth-century Russian literature and of the book "Dostoevsky's Secrets: Reading Against the Grain" (2009), she is also a translator of Russian and Japanese literature and has worked as a conference interpreter of Russian. Her current projects include a translation of German Sadulaev's 2008 novel "The Maya Pill" ("Tabletka") and a study of the history of translation of Russian classics into English.

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