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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 357 • Chekhov and his Legacy: Prose, Plays, Performance -W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42795 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

"Everything on the stage should be just as complicated, and just as simple, as it is in life. People can be having dinner, just having dinner, and at the same time, their happiness is being secured, or their lives are being destroyed." --Chekhov

This course explores the work and influence of one of the most important modern authors, Anton Chekhov. Through his depictions of the ordinary lives of turn-of-the-century Russians, Chekhov revolutionized both drama and prose fiction for the century after his death in 1904.

As a prose writer Chekhov helped create the modern short story, influencing generations of subsequent authors, from modernists like Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf to more recent writers like Raymond Carver, William Trevor and Alice Munro. As a playwright, he created a new kind of realism on the stage, where the apparently trivial events of everyday life accreted into poetic dramas of shattering intensity. Through his collaboration with the director and theorist Constantin Stanislavsky, he had an enduring effect on twentieth-century acting, while his dramatic techniques influenced such writers as George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller. His legacy may be seen in the work of contemporary film and theatre artists such as Woody Allen and David Mamet.

Grading Policy

25% Attendance and seminar participation
15% Shorter paper (5-7 pages)
10% Performance project
10% Oral presentation
10% Exploratory essay for research paper (5 pages)
30% Research paper (20 pages)


Note: All course materials will be read in translation, and we will focus on Chekhov's influence in the English-speaking world.)
The Complete Plays of Anton Chekhov, trans. Laurence Senelick
Anton Chekhovs Short Stories (Norton Critical Edition)
Anton Chekhov: The Complete Short Novels, trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky
Constantin Stanislavsky, excerpts from An Actor Prepares and My Life in Art
Course packet of selected stories and plays by authors influenced by Chekhov

About the Professor
James Loehlin is a Plan II Graduate of UT Austin, with a Master's from Oxford and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He is Director of the Shakespeare at Winedale program in the English Department. He has written histories of Henry V and Romeo and Juliet in performance and is currently working on a book on Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.


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