30 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Lady With The Dog

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1899

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Literary Context: Russian Realism

“The Lady with the Dog” is one of Chekhov’s most frequently anthologized short stories and, arguably, one of the greatest short stories written. It was originally published in the December 1899 issue of the magazine Russkaya Mysl, or Russian Thought, and featured a brief subtitle: “A Story.” Bookending one of the most prolific periods in Russian literature—the 19th century—Chekhov’s story and his legacy stand alongside other giants of Russia’s literary world.

Among its European and American counterparts, Russian literary realism similarly strove to represent places, experiences, and characters with utmost accuracy. Among his older contemporaries, including Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, Chekhov is an expert of realist fiction who is most known for his short stories and plays. Like his fellow writers, Chekhov is fascinated with human experience in all its dimensions. He seems less interested, though, in capturing it in writing on a large scale. Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878), and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Idiot (1868-1869), raise profound questions about the meaning of human existence, the significance of morality, and the formation of individual and society.