Reading Chekhov | Granta

  • Published: 07/06/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847085368
  • 129x20mm
  • 224 pages

Reading Chekhov

Janet Malcolm

In Reading Chekhov Janet Malcolm takes on three roles: literary critic, biographer and journalist. Her close readings of Chekhov’s stories and plays are interwoven with episodes from his life and framed by an account of a recent journey she made to St Petersburg. Malcolm demonstrates how the shadow of death that hovered over most of Chekhov’s literary career – he became consumptive in his twenties and died in his forties – is almost everywhere reflected in the work. She writes of his childhood, his relationship with his family, his marriage, his travels, his early success, his exile to Yalta – always with an eye to connecting them to his themes and characters.

She is like no other critic I have ever read: limpid, revelatory and startlingly attentive to every nuance

Financial Times

Malcolm writes wonderfully well. Her character sketches are superb. Malcolm's own talents are such that even on an off day she can't write a boring sentence

John Lancaster, Daily Telegraph

Affectionate and insightful... Her writing is exuberant... Malcolm can be captivating whatever her subject

Simon Hammond, Observer

The Author

Janet Malcolm (1934-2021) is widely considered to be one of America’s most notable literary journalists. She was born in Prague and was educated at the University of Michigan. She was a staff writer for the New Yorker and the author of several critically acclaimed books, including In the Freud Archives, The Journalist and the Murderer, Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey and The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes all published by Granta. She won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award in Biography for Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice (Yale University Press) in 2008. Her final book Still Pictures is forthcoming in 2023.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

Janet Malcolm on

Essays & Memoir | Granta 160


Janet Malcolm

‘The Czech word skromnost means “modesty”, but it also carries a mild sense of forelock-tugging humbleness, of knowing one’s place.’

An excerpt from Janet Malcolm’s final book.

Art & Photography | Granta 126

The Emily Dickinson Series

Janet Malcolm

The Emily Dickinson Series is a collection of collages by Janet Malcolm that appear in Granta 126: do you remember.