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    The Bishop

    by Anton Chekhov

    Book Description

    "The Bishop and Other Stories" collects seven of the later works of Russia's master of short fiction, Anton Chekhov. The title story, first published in 1902, is considered one of Chekhov's "last testaments." As much about the passing of an era as the passing of a man, Bishop Pyotr's story illuminates life, family and faith in a time of change, when old candles are giving way to new electric lights. Born in 1860, Chekhov was the son of a merchant, and the grandson of a serf, who had managed to save enough money to buy his family's freedom by the time Chekhov's father was a teen. Despite their father's reportedly horrible temper and religious fanaticism, Chekhov and his five siblings were also talented and accomplished. Chekhov was a physician as well as an author -- although his medical career ended after the tragic deaths of the sisters and mother of one of his close friends from typhus. Never entirely comfortable with his fame or literary lionization, Chekhov's modesty and self-mocking humor became legendary. His lifelong desire was to be a "free artist." Of his fellow Russians, about whom he wrote with such insight, he identified "skeptics, mystics, psychopaths, Jesuits, philosophers, liberals, and conservatives," and also, "people of another order, people of great feats of sacrifice, belief, and a clear, deliberate goal." All of these will be found in Chekhov's work, translated by his near-contemporary Constance Garnett, whose gifted and careful work initially introduced the great novels and stories of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Turgenev to the world of English-speaking readers.

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