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Chekhov and the Poetics of Memory

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Daria A. Kirjanov

Memory is one of the most pervasive and complex motifs in Anton Chekhov’s prose. This book clearly demonstrates that memory is not only a dominant theme, but, more significantly, a structuring principle that shapes the poetic, temporal, and spatial composition of several of Chekhov’s stories from 1887 to 1904, including some of his best known works, such as «The Bishop,» «The Lady with a Lapdog,» «The House with a Mezzanine,» and «The Black Monk». Chekhov and the Poetics of Memory examines various modes of memory – nostalgic, regenerative, commemorative – and traces their expression in the language of the journey, prayer, and artistic inspiration, shedding light on the centrality of the themes of spiritual growth and moral action in Chekhov’s work. In considering the larger theoretical and cultural context of memory, this study breaks new ground in showing the impact on Chekhov’s work of the Eastern Orthodox religious tradition, as well as Henri Bergson and other modernist notions of time and memory.