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A selection of ten stories written when Chekhov had reached his maturity as a short storywriter, between 1887 and 1902. They show him as a master of compression and a probing analyst, unmasking the mediocrity, lack of ideals, and spiritual and physical inertia of his generation. In these grim pictures of peasant life, and telling portraits of men and women enmeshed in trivialities, in the finely observed, suffocating atmosphere of provincial towns with their pompous officials, frustrated, self-seeking wives, spineless ...

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