Notable Quotes
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Flies purify the air, and plays -- the morals.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to A.P. Chekhov, April 11, 1889

In all the universe nothing remains permanent and unchanged but the spirit.


Try to be original in your play and as clever as possible; but don't be afraid to show yourself foolish; we must have freedom of thinking, and only he is an imancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to A.P. Chekhov, April 11, 1889

One usually dislikes a play while writing it, but afterward it grows on one. Let others judge and make decisions.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to Maxim Gorky, September 24, 1900

It's curious that we can't possibly tell what exactly will be considered great and important, and what will seem paltry and ridiculous. Did not the discoveries of Copernicus or Columbus, let us say, seem useless and ridiculous at first, while the nonsensical writings of some wiseacre seemed true?

ANTON CHEKHOV, The Three Sisters

When one sees one of the romantic creatures before him he imagines he is looking at some holy being, so wonderful that its one breath could dissolve him in a sea of a thousand charms and delights; but if one looks into the soul -- it's nothing but a common crocodile.


Brevity is the sister of talent.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to A.P. Chekhov, April 11, 1889

Wherever there is degeneration and apathy, there also is sexual perversion, cold depravity, miscarriage, premature old age, grumbling youth, there is a decline in the arts, indifference to science, and injustice in all its forms.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to A.S. Suvorin, Dec. 27, 1889

We need new forms of expression. We need new forms, and if we can't have them we had better have nothing.


Write only of what is important and eternal.


I thought famous people were proud, unapproachable, that they despised the crowd, and by their fame and the glory of their name, as it were, revenged themselves on the vulgar herd for putting rank and wealth above everything. But here they cry and fish, play cards, laugh and get cross like everyone else!


There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you’re angry, laugh when something is funny, and answer when you’re asked.

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to A.P. Chekhov, Oct. 13, 1888

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now, he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined, and the land grows poorer and uglier.


All I wanted was to say honestly to people: "Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!" The important thing is that people should realize that, for when they do, they will most certainly create another and better life for themselves. I will not live to see it, but I know that it will be quite different, quite unlike our present life. And so long as this different life does not exist, I shall go on saying to people again and again: "Please, understand that your life is bad and dreary!"

ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to Alexander Tikhonov

There'll be a scandal, the tongues of the whole district will buzz with gossip, but it's better to go through a scandal, isn't it, than to destroy yourself for your whole life.


There are a great many opinions in this world, and a good half of them are professed by people who have never been in trouble.


The snow has not yet left the earth, but spring is already asking to enter your heart.

ANTON CHEKHOV, The Exclamation Mark

Time will pass, and we shall go away for ever, and we shall be forgotten, our faces will be forgotten, our voices, and how many there were of us; but our sufferings will pass into joy for those who will live after us, happiness and peace will be established upon earth, and they will remember kindly and bless those who have lived before.

ANTON CHEKHOV, The Three Sisters

Anton Chekhov - a biography.

Anton Chekhov - a biography.

Anton Chekhov Monologues - a collection of monologues from his plays.

Anton Chekhov Monologues - more monologues by Chekhov.

The Cherry Orchard - synopsis of Chekhov's most famous play.


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