Books: If We Only Knew!

CHEKHOV (669 pp.)—Ernest J. Simmons—Atlantic-Little, Brown ($10).

He saw men small and vulnerably human. In an era where others were con cerned with the conflict of good v. evil, Anton Chekhov saw mainly the conflict of simplicity v. pretension, and found the consequences depressing. In his writing, he refused to pass explicit judgment, and observing life, he found no meaning but only a mystery. In flamboyant 19th century Russia, choked with morality tales, nourished on progressive theories of history, lashed with messianic messages, Chekhov, who lived from 1860 to 1904, was ahead of his literary time, a lonely, gentle, restrained man who...

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