The Vast Humanity of Anton Chekhov


67 points | by lermontov 10 days ago


  • neonate 9 days ago
  • dang 9 days ago

    ‘Chekhov Becomes Chekhov’ Review: The Great Listener - - Dec 2022 (5 comments)

    No writer understood loneliness better than Chekhov - - Oct 2020 (33 comments)

    How Chekhov invented the modern short story - - Sept 2020 (44 comments)

    Love in the Time of Numbness; Or, Doctor Chekhov, Writer - - April 2017 (4 comments)

    Chekhov: “Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions” - - March 2017 (209 comments)

    The Notebooks of Anton Chekhov - - March 2016 (1 comment)

    "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov - - April 2010 (16 comments)

    (you can look up the gun separately)

  • lykahb 9 days ago
    The "vast humanity" of the Russian literature is a part of their imperial myth. The Russians like claiming that they have the greatest culture, literature, or a "unique Russian soul". This myth justifies their military expansion and erasing the culture and language of the conquered nations.

    That "vast humanity" of their culture has never got in the way of the Russians from committing atrocities. Interestingly, the Russians still claim that they never invaded other states - they only liberate them. They never acknowledged the sins of the past.

    Chekhov was less of a nationalist than Dostoyevsky or many others. However, giving spotlight to any figure from the Russian culture means giving support to their soft power. It also shifts the attention away from their war crimes. A modern Russian does not read Chekhov. He watches propaganda and cheers for the strikes on the civilian targets in Ukraine.

    • jevgeni 8 days ago
      Very well put! Thank you.
  • lordleft 9 days ago
    I will never stop marveling at the way Chekhov can turn an inner life inside out in one to three pages. One of the jewels of Russian literature.

    One of the most surprising things about Chekhov is how his writing is some ways beyond ideology, politics or convictions —- he tries to present people as they are, and he implies that people behave according to incentives and drives instead of their purported beliefs.

  • isaacfrond 9 days ago
    Why does Chekhov make it to HN frontpage so often?
    • iso1631 9 days ago
      And you never see Sulu!
  • uncletaco 9 days ago
    I'm always a little surprised to see The New Republic chugging along
  • azubinski 9 days ago
    Considering what russia is doing and how propaganda works, it’s not so interesting why there are so many Chekhov and Dostoevsky on a forum for "hackers". It's interesting that there is so little about ballet here :)
    • 082349872349872 9 days ago
      ХН: первый в космосе; последний в балете ))

      "HN is the first in space but last at the ballet"

      [Edit: come to think of it, the ballet claque is an early example of astroturfing; these days it's been automated by the laugh track]

    • dang 9 days ago
      Please don't take HN threads into nationalistic flamewar. It's not what this site is for, and destroys what it is for.

      We detached this subthread from

      • jevgeni 8 days ago
        This is misguided neutrality, I think. At some point even HN would need to pick a side.
    • nindalf 9 days ago

      Is it possible that Chekhov and Dostoevsky were just really good writers? That maybe we liked them long before Putin started Putin-ing?

      But no, everyone else apart from you is an easily led sheep and Putin or whoever else is the shepherd.

      • somethingreen 9 days ago
        The argument is not that everyone who likes old russian writers is a shill. It's that people bringing them up at current time can't read the room at least, give in to their own imperialist tendencies probably and it only goes worse from there.
      • jevgeni 9 days ago
        How many really good writers not from colonialist regimes are there? How often do they make to the front page of HN?
        • fancybouncy 9 days ago
          writers not from colonialist regimes don't make it to HN because most of us never heard of them at school, which focuses on western writers. are you aware that most wealthy countries are or have been colonialist regimes? this includes much of Europe, North America, Japan and China.
          • jevgeni 9 days ago

            P.S. Also Russia, which is not really Europe.

            • konart 9 days ago
              Russia is (or at least was, during Grand Duchy of Moscow times) a part of Eastern Europe.

              Now, its eastern\southern\northen parts\colonies - are not (except for the north and south -west of course)

        • slothtrop 9 days ago
          Writers of old usually came from aristocracy. So, few.
  • myth_drannon 9 days ago
    • dang 9 days ago
      Please don't do this here.

      We detached this subthread from

    • azubinski 9 days ago
      Does he do it on the HN forum?
      • myth_drannon 9 days ago
        His audience are HN users. HN users are influenced by his and the guest's ideas and then promote them on HN.
    • kombine 9 days ago
      • somethingreen 9 days ago
        At the start of the big war Fridman went on podcasts as an expert on the conflict and all he did was re-translate russian talking points. He's way worse than hypocrite.

        To be fair, he's not alone, a good half of IDW - group supposedly too intelligent and principled for mainstream media - turned out to be neither intelligent, nor principled, when those qualities got tested by real world events instead of social network drama.

        • kombine 9 days ago
          Tbh, I never understood the whole hype about IDW. Sam Harris is the only one worth respecting there, whereas Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro are both absolutely disgusting.
          • somethingreen 9 days ago
            I found most of them did have at least one interesting take or a perspective. Listening to people able to talk on serious topic for hours going deep into nuance was refreshing. And then there was Eric Weinstein, who could do that on seemingly endless array of topics and would casually drop gold after gold, before he got stuck on his DISC thing. But after "Ukraine is being brutalized. It is also corrupt." he is dead to me, of course.
      • myth_drannon 9 days ago
        But that's his persona. He never really goes full on, always tries to maintain neutrality. In his interview with that rapper who was saying vile things he just kept talking about love.
        • kombine 9 days ago
          Exactly, and maintaining neutrality in the face of absolute evil is immoral. Such neutrality justifies an equivalence between the aggressor and the victim and provides the evil with an advantage, because, suddenly, instead of punishment it will have to be dealt with in a civilised manner.
      • dang 9 days ago
        Please don't take HN threads into nationalistic flamewar. It's not what this site is for, and destroys what it is for.
        • kombine 9 days ago
          There is nothing nationalistic in my comment above.
          • dang 8 days ago
            I see your point, but I'm using the word loosely to refer to internet flamewars about nations. One could also mention the site guideline about ideological battle. Either way, this kind of flamewar comment isn't what we're looking for here, not least because it tends to evoke worse than others (although it didn't do so in this particular case).