Russian dramatist and novelist.
“MY PETITION WAS JUST A CRY IN THE DESERT. I AM NOT A FIGHTER, IT’S NOT IN MY NATURE.”
Autograph Letter Signed, A. Chekhov, two and one-half pages, octavo, February 11, [no year, but after 1897]. In Russian. To Nikolai Nikolaevich.
“Due to my sickness, I am a little delayed in expressing my thanks to you. Being busy with the interests of the Zemsky [State] Assembly, I am sure you didn’t have enough time for writing letters either. How to spend 100 rubles, donated by Mrs. Sverebtieva? I’ll write you about it at the end of March or in April, when I have better oriented myself. I think 100 rubles is enough for two. If you’re going to be here for Easter, we’ll talk about it and decide what and how.
“Now I have a big favor to ask of you. At the beginning of last year, I filed a petition with the Serpuchov Administration Office, presenting my resignation of my supervisory duties in Chirkovsky College. Without a doubt, my petition was just a cry in the desert, my application was thrown under the desk and probably forgotten; in any case, I didn’t receive an answer. Also, I have permanent, petty annoyances in the [Melikhovsky] College; the muzhiks [Russian peasants] breaking windows; Miss Anisova and her personality; piteous letters from her assistant; complete abandonment from the authorities; the reports about the national education-I am tired of all this and it wrecked my nerves. Today I’ve made a petition, stating that due to my poor health and the distance I cannot continue supervising Chirkovsky and [Melikhovsky] colleges. I cannot do it anymore! As much as possible, please, use all your influence so that my petition will be granted. Please support me at the college board meeting. I am not a fighter, it’s not in my nature, these letters that I used to get all the time were oppressing me like a nightmare. ”
After Anton Chekhov was diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis in 1897, he moved from the village of Melikhovo to Yalta where he completed his four great plays, “The Seagull,” “Uncle Vanya,” “Three Sisters,” and “The Cherry Orchard.” This letter, written after his move to Yalta, expresses some of the petty frustrations and difficulties he so expertly portrays in many of his own works.
Anton Chekhov married Olga Knipper, a star of Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theater, during this final fertile period of his life (in 1901) but within three years (in 1904) he succumbed to tuberculosis at the relatively young age of forty-four. Autograph material written by Chekhov is very rare because his letters were rarely sent out of the country and there was no tradition in Russia, as there was in the West, of saving the correspondence of famous or accomplished people.
Matted in cream and beveled gilt with a bust-length portrait photograph of Anton Chekhov. In a chocolate brown frame measuring 23 inches wide by 16 inches high.
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