This talk will follow key points in the life and writing career of Anton Chekhov, including his brief visit to Singapore and South East Asia and ending with a discussion of his play The Three Sisters. The conversation will concentrate on themes and instances of isolation in Chekhov’s own life and his work, reflecting the time we now live in under Covid-19, and how isolation has been a tragicomic mood in all his work.
The conversation will be in four phases: Chekhov’s early life leading to first successes as a writer, his momentous and gruelling trip to Sakhalin Island (a Russian island north of Japan) in the summer and autumn of 1890 to report on penal condition there in a later book (1893), his roundabout return to Russia via South East Asia and the Suez Canal. Then on to a discussion of his work in the theatre, with a focus on The Three Sisters and the latter part of his career and life. The talk will include slides by Rosamund Bartlett to illustrate the life and journey.