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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chekhov: A Bibliographic Research Guide: Chekhov Criticism

Research sources and strategies for the life and literature of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov and their impact, 1860-present, including bibliographies, databases, encyclopedias, archives, search strategies and more

The Jubilee Year

Bibliografiia literatury o A.P. Chekhove (Vypusk 1 : 1960 : iubileinyi god) / T. V. Osharova.  Izd-vo Saratovskogo universiteta, 1979.

UIUC call no. 891.73 C41a Os26

This annotated bibliography lists some 2000 works which were published in the Soviet Union during the Chekhov jubilee year 1960.  The work contains both works about Chekhov, including literary criticism and biography, as well as all types of re-editions of the author’s works.  The listing is exhaustive, containing every conceivable type of publication, including dissertations and introductions to editions of various Chekhov collections. The division of the bibliography reflects the times – it opens with the obligatory chapter on Lenin and Chekhov, including Chekhov’s imagery and expressions that have found their way into the works of the leader of the revolution.  The following chapters are split between the works in Russian, and those on the languages of other Soviet republics.  A brief separate section is devoted to reference and bibliographic works.  The work is accompanied by name, title, and subject indexes.

Best Kept Secret: INION - Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies Database

INION [Institut nauchnoǐ informatsii po obshchestvennym naukam] Rossiǐskoǐ akademii nauk. Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies

Period of coverage: 1980s - present.

INION databases are the best kept secrets in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  With more than 3.5 million citations (~100,000 citations added annually) in 140 languages for books, articles from journals and collected works, and dissertations in the Social Sciences, the collection of INION databases (~35 databases in the public view and a single search interface, which incorporates all the subject categories in the subscription view) is a boon for A. P. Chekhov researchers.  Whether directly searching in Cyrillic “База данных по литературоведению”(Literature Criticism Database) through public view or using transliteration to search the subscription view, Scholars can interact with 28 years of published materials, compiled and maintained by the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Get to know INION today. 

Access [Public view]: http://www.inion.ru/index6.php

Access [Subscription view via UIUC Online Journals and Databases]:

Russian National Bibliography Database: all in one search.

This database is part of a collection of Eastview Databases.  There are ~20 online databases in this collection]. Period of coverage: 1994 - present.

Russian National Bibliography database contains all 8 national bibliographic publications, some retrospective to 1994. This database includes: Knizhnaia letopis', Letopis' zhurnalnykh statei, Letopis' gazetnykh statei and several other National Bibliography publication on art, music and maps.  All 8 publications can be searched via a single search interface or researchers can browse and search individual publications.   Due to its scope and coverage, A. P. Chekhov scholars should add the Russian National Bibliography database to their top ten list.  

A Chekhov journal

A rich source of information on the current Chekhov research is Chekhovskii vestnik -- a periodical devoted to the new publications devoted to Chekhov, the productions of his plays, as well as conferences devoted to the author.  It also contains a running section of bibliography of works on Chekhov, which is extracted from the authoritative bibliography of INION RAN.

Here is the website of the journal, where you can view most of the issues online. http://chekhoviana.narod.ru/vestnik.htm

The periodical appears also in print format.  UIUC call number is 891.73 C41DC417

Criticism on Feb-Web

Critical works on Chekhov are a legion and may take a lot of time to sift through.  Luckily, a  good overview of truly seminal articles on the author is presented by the Feb-Web website.  Although the list, compared to the entire body of works published on Chekhov may appear brief, it is important to remember that these are indeed the foundation works, very carefully selected by top specialists of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

To get to the selected list of critical works on Chekhov, go to:

http://www.feb-web.ru/feb/chekhov/default.asp?/feb/chekhov/scena/che-sc2.html

As with the other materials contained in the Feb-Web lists, not all of the items will be available in full text format.  In some cases only a citation is available.  For a further discussion of navigation of materials found on Feb-Web please refer to the tab “Chekhov works” 

When overwhelmed by bibliographic riches

Sometimes when faced with an overabundance of articles devoted to an author, as is certainly the case with Chekhov, it is a sometimes initially difficult to orient oneself and realize which critical works are of greater importance and, shall we say, carry more scholarly heft.  The Norton Edition publications usually come in handy in such cases, since they tend to include carefully selected seminal articles on a particular work or author.  In such cases of sifting through the riches of critical literature it is sometimes useful to reach for collection of articles put together by a reputable source, such as for example this Cambridge Companion to Chekhov, which is so described by its publishers: “This volume of specially commissioned essays explores the world of Anton Chekhov and the creation, performance and interpretation of his works. The Companion begins with an examination of Chekhov's life and his Russia. Later film versions and adaptations of Chekhov's works are analysed, with insights also offered on acting Chekhov, by Ian McKellen, and directing Chekhov, by Trevor Nunn and Leonid Heifetz. The volume provides essays on 'special topics' such as Chekhov as writer, Chekhov and women, and the Chekhov comedies and stories.”

Mother of all Chekhov Bibliographies

Bibliografiia rabot ob A.P. Chekhove na russkom i inostrannykh iazykakh za 1961-2005 gg.  / P.N. Dolzhenkov, V.B. Kataev.  Izd-vo Moskovskogo universiteta, 2010. 

UIUC call no 891.73 C41 AD699  (IAS Library)

This massive bibliography of some 760 pages is a veritable goldmine of information for a Chekhov scholar. This work fills in a gap in Chekhov bibliographic publications, which have been lacking since the 1960’s.  This is also the first major work that lists the critical works in languages other than Russian.  The work is divided into two parts, one for Russian-language, the other for foreign works.  Each of the parts is accompanied by a name index, as well as an index of Chekhov’s works that are mentioned within the listed works.  The bibliography lists not only works of literary criticism, but rather sets a very wide scope to include all materials related to the author, including his influence on cinema, theater, and the graphic arts.  Pieces on Chekhov museums and biographical works are also listed.  All types of resources are listed – besides printed materials (monographs, articles), it also includes items available on the Internet.The bibliography could not ask for a more prestigious group of publishers : The Chekhov Committee of the RAN, and the philology Department of the MGU. 

English only

Chekhov Bibliography: works in English by and about Anton Chekhov; American, British and Canadian Performances / Charles W. Meister.  Jefferson N.C. and London: McFarland and Company, 1985.

UIUC Call no. 891.73 C41 AM479

 

The ample subtitle sums up the contents of this classic that was some forty years in the making.  It defines its scope by the English language alone, and lists works regardless of their places of publication.  That includes articles in English which may be a part of larger piece in a different language, as well as translations into English of foreign-language books and articles.   A wide spectrum of sources is presented, including newspaper articles (mainly from the New York Times and the London Times).  Doctoral theses are also presented, and even some master’s and bachelor’s theses as well.  These, as the author points out, are very often sources of additional bibliographies. There is also a smattering of the more prominent  films and recordings.  Chekhov’s writings that have appeared in English are often accompanied by content summaries and reviews.  There is also a separate part devoted to stage productions, especially in New York and London.  A very interesting, albeit brief, part of the work is a listing of films and plays about the person of Chekhov. The navigation of the work is made easy by inclusion of work and name indexes.   Here's a sample entry:                             

More Chekhov in English

 

A bibliography of Anton Chekhov in English / Lauren G. Leighton.  Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2005.

 

This very substantial bibliography of over 550 pages builds upon the previously published ones published in separate volumes, as well as in periodicals.  Its goal is not less than producing a comprehensive listing of works on Chekhov in English.  In many cases the author corrects mistakes that have crept into the previous compilations.  The work is divided into major categories: Studies, Translations, and Reviews and Notes.  These parts in turn are meticulously divided by the focus of materials (eg. Comparative Studies: Chekhov in Russia) and by their type (eg. Letters and Diaries).   Items devoted to one particular work by Chekhov are listed separately.  Interestingly, the studies that fall into several categories are not cross listed in abbreviated form, but rather are listed multiply under the various subjects.  The author’s intent was that each subject category be a thorough and complete bibliography of a subject.  Many of the entries are annotated in quite a detailed fashion.

Leninka recommends

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov : rekomendatelnyi ukazatel literatury.  / E. A. Polotskaia.  Moskva: Gos. biblioteka SSSR im. V.I. Lenina, 1955. 

UIUC Call no. 891.73 C41 AM851

Before writing about the merits of this work it is important to point out that in agreement with the spirit of the Soviet era, this works bears the title of “rekomendatelnyi ukazatel”.  This should immediately alert the researcher that the compilers used discretion in selecting sources, and those which may not have met the ideological criteria of the time, would have been omitted.  As a matter of fact, the introduction to the work makes an interesting reading, since one can discover how Chekhov was just like Gorky in his revolutionary outlook and other amazing facts.

With this caveat, one can appreciate the effort of the Leninka bibliographers, who commemorated 50th anniversary of Chekhov’s passing with this extensive work. It is subdivided into several chapters covering  all aspects of Chekhoviana, from the obligatory chapter on Stalin’s view on Chekhov, to Chekhov and medical science.  The works on the author’s style, relationship with other Russian writers, his influence on Russian arts, and many others, are laid out in a format that can be very useful for a researcher attempting to focus on a particular aspect of Chekhov studies. Of importance is the inclusion of archival holdings of Chekhov-related materials. Most of the entries are accompanied by extensive annotations.  The bibliography is illustrated with several classic photos, such as the one below, showing the author with the actors in the production of his Seagull.

 

Strictly theater

A.P. Chekhov v russkoi teatralnoi kritike : kommentirovannaia, antologiia / A.P. Kuzicheva.  Moskva: Chekhovskii poligraficheskii kombinat, 1999.

UIUC call no. 891.73 C41 DK9677

This unique anthology collects in one volume a huge number of brief pieces related to critical responses to theatrical adaptations of Chekhov’s works.  The anthology was compiled over a span of several years in the manuscript division of the Russian State library.  It encompasses materials that would be otherwise extraordinarily time consuming to locate.  These include press reviews of play productions, both in the Petersburg and Moscow, and in the provinces.  The reaction to Chekhov’s plays are extracted from journals, newspapers, memoirs and letters.  The work is divided into two parts, with the first, 1887-1904, covering the period of the author’s life, and the second one, brings the coverage to 1917. The arrangement within each part is chronological. The extremely rich annotations to the entries are a great strength of the work, since they paint a vivid image of the background of each of the entries (many of which can only be viewed in archives and were never published).  The annotations illuminate the personages of the critics, reactions of Chekhov to the particular review, discussions that may have spilled over several publications, etc.  The work is accompanied by a name index, as well as index of journals and newspapers which published the reviews.

 

Masanov speaketh

Chekhoviana : sistematicheskii ukazatel literatury o Chekhove i ego tvorchestve / I.F. Masanov.  Moskva:  Gos. Tsentralnaia knizhnaia palata RSFSR. 1929  Vypusk 1.

UIUC Call no. 891.73 C41AM1963

This famous effort by the godfather of Russian bibliography is worth the attention of any serious Chekhov scholar.  As all bibliographies by Ivan Filippovich, who was a friend of the Chekhov family, this one is characterized by its completeness and accuracy.  It includes even the most minute items, such as impressions of a play spectator included in a memoir, or There are several chapters in this work, however the bulk of the bibliography is devoted to literary criticism of Chekhov’s oeuvre.  It is subdivided by articles of general criticism as well as pieces focusing on a particular play or short story.  Among the chapters we find also a section outlining the bibliographic literature on the author, as well as a chapter focusing on Chekhov’s interaction with his contemporaries.  The work is accompanied a title index and a very detailed name index. 

There are other sections of the bibliography which deal with other aspects of Chekhovian universe, besides his literary work, such as listings of museums, monuments, and even sanatoriums devoted to the writer or his memory.

"Say my name": Russian National Library - General Author/Title Scanned Card Catalog

Over the years the Russian National Library has developed helpful bibliographic tools for students and seasoned scholars alike.   In terms of literary criticism of works by A. P. Chekhov, the author/title scanned card catalog [aka Генеральный алфавитный каталог книг на русском языке (1725 - 1998)] is an invaluable research companion.  The scanned card catalog covers ~273 years of publishing history and holdings at the Russian National Library.  Using the search interface, scholars can track and verify author names [includes pseudonyms], collected works, hard to find materials (émigré publications), various editions works, publishing bodies and forms of entry, frequency, and most importantly, works about prominent personalities [see image below].   For example, if one were to search this catalog using “Чехов,” this catalog would (due to its structure) list the collected works first, followed by individual works, and then works about Chekhov.  Researchers can easily navigate this catalog through author section headings or via card entry numbers.  Генеральный алфавитный каталог книг на русском языке (1725 - 1998) at the Russian National Library is an essential tool for your research foundation.  Bookmark it for firm footing.

Chekhov seen through memoirs

Opisanie memuarov o Chekhove / L.M. Fridkes. Moskva: Academia, 1930.

UIUC call no. 891.73 C41AF911975

The title of this bibliography pretty much sums it up – it is a detailed description of mentions of Chekhov and his works in autobiographical publications.  Listed are not only full-fledged, monograph-sized memoirs. Even extremely brief newspaper entries with biographical articles mentioning Chekhov are included.  The entries are very carefully annotated, giving (where possible) information about the author of the autobiographical mention, very often decoding the writer’s pseudonym.   Also, the brief summation of the facet of Chekhov’s life and work that can be gleaned from the piece is given, as well as a list of Anton Pavlovich’s works that are mentioned by name.  The bibliography is accompanied by name and title indexes.  This little gem is a bonanza of information for a researcher trying to glean the views on the author by his contemporaries.

Made in Russia: Russian State Library's Chekhov panorama. Bibliographic Guide and criticisms galore

Access: http://www.rsl.ru/ru/s3/s331/s122/s1224693/s12246934694/

This criticism bibliography was published on the 150th anniversary of the birth of A. P. Chekhov.  The period of coverage for this bibliography is late 19th century and early 20th century.  The compilers have organized their collection of Chekhov criticism by work.  Researchers can expect full citations to literary criticisms to 29 works by A. P. Chekhov.  Each entry starts with the first publication of a work, followed by annotated literary criticisms of that work.

    

Let there be light: Letopis' zhurnal'nykh stateǐ. 1926-present

In terms of indexing sources for Soviet and Russian publications, Letopis’ zhurnal’nykh stateǐ is a sleeping giant.   Starting in 1926, this publication indexes articles [from journals, series, and continuing publications of academies, universities, and research institutes] and compiles them into ~31 subject categories.  For example: Филология, Языкознание, Литературоведение, Художественная литература, Фольклор, and Искусство.  Since Letopis’ zhurnal’nykh stateǐ’s period of coverage spans ~87 years, researchers can take full advantage of this resource by browsing the relevant subject categories.  In the absence of subject categories, the publishers have included name and periodical title indexes.  Moreover, scholars can consult the index of serials attached to Letopis’ zhurnal’nykh stateǐ as a supplement.  There are many roads to discovering the world of A. P. Chekhov aka A. Chekhonte and Letopis’ zhurnal’nykh stateǐ is one of them.

Access Options:

In print:  UIUC Call Number:

UIUC Library's Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection is one of the largest collections in North America.  In terms of print holdings for Letopis' Zhurnal'nykh Statei, scholars and UIUC patrons can expect print issues in the Main Stacks Reference for the years 1938-1955, 1976-2001, and at the Oak Street Storage Facility, scholars can request issues for the following years: 1956-1975, 2002-.  Recent issues are held at the International and Area Studies Library in the Slavic periodicals section.

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Letopis' Zhurnal'nykh Statei Online Index [1956-1975]: 

Period of coverage: 1956 to 1975.  Note: the systems administrators at Indiana University are still adding citations for 1970s.  

Access: http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/letopis/search.jsp?lang=en

This online searchable database was launched by the Digital Library Program at Indiana University and it is available to researchers regardless of institutional affiliation.  Instead of browsing each issue or annual indexes, researchers can search this database and view hundreds of citations via the main search, which contains ~31 subject categories and 19 years of published materials in a single location.  Researchers can also place additional search limits by selecting the year of publication or setting year(s) range, and the appropriate subject category.  This database only supports searches in Cyrillic.  Moreover, the database administrators have included a virtual Cyrillic keyboard. A sample citation:

 

Юзовский, Ю. Традиции русской драмы. Опыт характеристики. (Островский, Чехов). Театр, 1956, № 2, с. 125-136.

 

 

Семеновский, О. Критик-большевик на страницах бессарабской газеты. [О статье В. В. Воровского «А. П. Чехов и русская интеллигенция», опублик. в газ. «Бессарабское обозрение», 1910, янв.] Днестр, 1958, № 3, с. 120-123.

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Letopis' Zhurnal'nykh Statei Online via Eastview Russian National Bibliography Database [Online]

Period of Coverage: 1994-present

Access:

Chekhov express: Social Sciences and Humanities Journals Database [Full-text]

Access: http://tinyurl.com/a6k3ndg

Note: Please click on the "Go" icon to view the Social Sciences and Humanities Journals database.  To view individual titles, please click on the database title. 

The Social Sciences and Humanities Journals database contains ~approximately 82 journal titles and provides full-text access to peer-reviewed articles.  Scholars can search this database as a whole or browse by selecting individual journal titles.   One of the journals included in this database is Чеховиана.  This journal is an academy publication and contains: “… a collection of research papers devoted to various aspects of life and work of Anton Chekhov…Detailed analysis of his style of writing, what his subjects, characters and techniques have in common with the work of other Russian and foreign authors. His biography and the people he met are given a considerable space.”  Researchers can view the latest issues for Chekhoviana for the years 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2011.  This journal is published annually.  In addition to Chekhoviana, scholars might be interested in the following titles:

Russkaia literature

Voprosy literatury

Oktiabr'

Neva

Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie

Znamia

Zvezda

MLA International Bibliography

Period of Coverage: 1920s - Present.

The Modern Language International Bibliography is a full-text/indexing service database, which includes journal articles, book reviews, and dissertations abstracts from approximately 4, 400 journals and series, and bibliographic data from 1 000 book publishers.  In terms of subject matter, this database covers literature, language and linguistics, literary theory and criticism, folklore, dramatic arts, rhetoric and composition, etc.  As of 2013, this database contains well over 2.3 million citations and includes ~60 journal titles from JSTOR’s collection of full-text journals (Literature and Language).  In addition to the full-text and indexing service, MLA International Bibliography includes a directory of noted authors’ names, a thesaurus for deciphering MLA’s subject headings and terms [~11, 000 subject names and terms], and a helpful list of journal abbreviations and acronyms for ~3, 500 titles.  More importantly for A. P. Chekhov scholars, the period of coverage for this database starts in the 1920’s.  In terms of researching Chekhov, his works, and literary criticisms, researchers cannot pass up this multilingual- international research companion, conveniently located and available 24/7 on or off compass.

Early critical works

 

http://www.imli.ru/chekhov/

This site is sponsored by the ultra-prestigious Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences).  It presents in full text version carefully selected works on Chekhov’s oeuvre from the years 1904-1917.  The articles are listed in chronological order and present a unique opportunity for to view the beginnings of the evolution the world of Chekhovian criticism and interpretation.

Журнальный зал: rest stop for researchers

Access: http://magazines.russ.ru/

Zhurnal’nyi zal was founded in 1995-1996.  It is a not-for-profit journals depository, which includes literary and humanities journals published in the Russian Federation and abroad.  Researchers can view the table of contents and in most in cases, access to full-text articles from ~37 literary and humanities journals.  After selecting a journal title [see left navigation bar], scholars can use the calendar as a navigation tool to view individual issues and relevant articles.  Zhurnal’nyi zal supports an integrated search box for accessing listed journals and articles.   A. P. Chekhov scholars should rest here and browse this collection with some good coffee or tea.  Pull over and enjoy this rest area.