Books: Dr. Chekhov's Philanderer

THAT WORTHLESS FELLOW PLATONOV— Anton Chekhov; translated by John Gournos—Button ($2.50).

Anton Chekhov, prince of Russian short-story writers, prince of Russian playwrights, wrote one play that has waited until now to be translated into English. Without the lucid depths, the sparkling shallows, of his masterpiece The Cherry Orchard, That Worthless Fellow Platonov obviously wells up from the same source. No one but a Russian, no Russian but warmhearted, skeptical Anton Chekhov, could have written it.

The scene is laid in a Russian provincial village. Anna Petrovna, a General's widow, who is frightfully...

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