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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chekhov: A Bibliographic Research Guide: Chekhov's Life & Times

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

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov aka A. Chekhonte: Back Pages


A. P. Chekhov : ėntsiklopediia. Moskva : Prosveshchenie, 2011.  UIUC Call Number: Q. 891.73 C41DK156.  Location: International and Area Studies Library, Russian Reference.  See: UIUC record.  

One of the most challenging aspects of conducting general and specialized research is the starting point. Where and how do I find the authoritative information for a specific topic or biographical information on literary or historical figures?  Anticipating this research need, bibliographers have compiled encyclopedic sources for general and specialized topics. 

In the great tradition of Russian and Soviet encyclopedias, this work captures the literary world of A. P. Chekhov and entices the reader with an all-inclusive tour of his earthly life. This encyclopedia attempts to give the reader a comprehensive view of A. P. Chekhov: bibliographical information in the form of detailed chronicles, entries for individual and collected works, letters, Chekhov in various cultural spheres, memoirs, relationships with contemporaries, and Chekhov in world culture. With 13 subject categories and 23 sub themes, this encyclopedia is a true gold mine.  In addition to textual content, this encyclopedia is loaded with illustrations, rare photographs of Chekhov and company, screen shots of manuscripts, name, and a works index.  Moreover,  Entsiklopedicheskiǐ slovar’ Brokgauza i Efrona [Available Online], Entsiklopedicheskiǐ slovar’ Granat, Kratkaia literaturnaia entsiklopediia, and Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, also have excellent entries for A. P. Chekhov and Chekhov studies,   These extensive entries contain citations for bibliographies, collected works, literary criticisms, and most importantly, contemporary views.  .


Life is a seminar: A. P. Chekhov, cover to cover.

Aleksandrov, B. I. A.P. Chekhov: seminariĭ.  Posobie dlia studentov.  Moskva: “Prosveshchenie,” 1964.  UIUC Call Number:  891.73 C41DAL21964.  Location: Russian Reference[Copy 2], International and Area Studies Library; Main Stacks (Copy 1).  See: UIUC Record.  This is title is also available via Фундаментальная электронная библиотека «Русская литература и фольклор».  See: UIUC record.   Access

Before indexing and full-text databases, "print databases" aka bibliographies ruled the day.  Depending on the research topic and period of interest, they are still omnipotent and  stand ready to assist researchers.    A print bibliography's structure and intent is very much like a database, researchers can move from one end of the bibliography to other via indexes, entry numbers, table of contents, and subject categories. 

Published in 1964, this seminar on A. P. Chekhov is intended for seasoned scholars and students alike.  Divided into six parts and with 150 pages of citations and bibliographic data for researchers,  this bibliography is a research companion of the first order.   For example, section three ["Osnovnaia bibliografiia sochineniǐ A. P. Chekhova i literatury o ego zhizni i tvorchestve"] contains various editions of collected works and an extensive list of biographical materials and memoirs of contemporaries [see below].  This bibliography is a perfect tool kit for writing a research paper on Chekhov and his times. 

Antosha Chekhonte: worldwide

Need reliable information on literary figures and their literary expressions?  Try the Literature Resource Center, a comprehensive online literature database, which covers "all genres and all time periods and all parts of the world"[Publisher's claim]. It is the mothership for critical essays, biographies, work and topic overviews, full-text works, literary movements, and provides indepth information on authors.  The Literature Resource Center's compilers have consulted encyclopedias, biograpphical dictionaries, and literary criticism bibliogrpahies.

Chekhov in the 1920s


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The proliferation of academic portals, digital libraries, and journal depositories continues to reduce the distance between a researcher and the information being sought.  As a literature portal, Sovetskaia Literatura (teksty, bibliografiia, issledovaniia) has carved out a unique web presence for researching Russian literature in the 1920s.  As of 2013, it is the only portal focusing on the 1920s.  Visitors to this portal should examine the annotated list of journals published during the 1920s (~41 journals), the table of contents and full citations for articles from ~41 journals, a guide to pseudonyms and authors from the 1920s, and the latest addition to this portal, the table of contents from collected works and continuing series published in the 1920s.  Chekhov scholars can browse through journal issues, examine the author, and article title indexes.  A sample search yielded these entries on Chekhov: 



Chekhoviana in B Major / B is for Bibliography

Masanov, I. Chekhoviana: sistematicheskiǐ ukazatel' literatury o Chekhove i ego tvorchestve. Vypusk 1.  Moskva: Gosudarstvennaia Tsentral'naia Knizhnaia Palata RSFSR, 1929.  Location: International and Area Studies Library.  UIUC Call Number: 891.73 C41AM391963 v. 1.  See: UIUC Record

The Masanov family is responsible for some of the most authoritative bibliographies in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  For example, Ivan Filippovich Masanov [1874-1945] gave us, Slovar’ psevdonimov russkikh pisateleǐ, uchenykh i obshchestvennykh deiatele, a four volume set for deciphering Russian pseudonyms (including A. P. Chekhov’s pseudonym: A. Chekhonte).  Ivan Filippovich also managed to publish a bibliography on Vladimirskoi gubernii.  Not to be outdone, Iurii Ivanovich Masanov published, Ukazateli soderzhaniia russkikh zhurnalov i prodolzhaiushchikhsia izdanii 1755-1970 gg, a bibliographical guide to journal and continuing series indexes.  Without Iurii Ivanovich’s contribution, A. P. Chekhov researchers would be browsing journals, one issue at a time.


In the context of this guide, the clear winner is Ivan Filippovich Masanov, for he compiled a monumental guide to Chekhov studies: Chekhoviana: sistematicheskiǐ ukazatel’ literatury o Chekhove i ego tvorchestve. Vypusk I.  This bibliography is divided into 12 subject categories and contains ~2766 entries.  The entries are organized numerically and cross referenced with other subject categories listed in the table of contents [see attachment below].  Moreover, researchers can navigate this massive guide through the master index.  Since bibliographers are always concerned about access points, Ivan Filippovich has included a helpful list of abbreviations: names, journals, works, newspapers, etc.  Condition note: the copy in IAS Russian Reference is a reproduction.   


Through their eyes: Chekhov in memoirs

Fridkes, L. M. Opisanie memuarov o Chekhove.  Moskva: "Academia," 1930.  Location: International and Area Studies Library, Russian Reference.  UIUC Call Number: 891.73 C41AF911975.  See: UIUC record

One of the reasons why the Slavic Reference Service is able to respond to research questions is due to the strength of the reference collection.  For example, take this bibliography on memoirs about A. P. Chekhov.  It contains 214 annotated entries for memoirs of family members and contemporaries.  The entries in this bibliography are organized numerically and the citations are listed alphabetically.  Most of the memoirs in this bibliography were published in serial publications (journals and newspapers) such as: Istoricheskiǐ vestnik, Novaia illiustratsiia, Peterburgskaia gazeta, Russkoe slovo, Russkie vedomosti, Novoe vremia, Solntse Rossii, Teatr i iskusstvo, and others.  Since the UIUC Library has an extensive collection of Soviet and Russian periodicals, researchers can use this bibliography to locate published memoirs about Chekhov in these periodicals and locate the relevant issue in the UIUC collection.  A rich source for researching A. P. Chekhov’s life and times is conveniently located near you.  Take the memoirs with you.  Check out the table of contents, name and thematic index [see below]. 


The Chekhov Chronicles


Where would a researcher go to find out what happened to A. P. Chekhov on October 14, 1883? Hopefully, this source: Letopis’ Zhiznii i tvorchestva A. P. Chekhova (Moskva: Khudozhestvennoǐ literatury, 1955).  On October 14, 1883, Anton Pavlovich’s friend, F. F. Popudoglo, died. 



 From 1825 to July 2, 1904 (3:00 am in the morning), researchers can track every corner of A. P. Chekhov’s life: friends, family, significant events, works, publication of articles in newspapers and journals, travels, letters, journal entries, etc.  Each entry is assigned a date and the source of information.  Meaning, scholars expand their list of biobibliographical references by incorporating the citations listed in the Chekhov chronicle.  With 821 pages of biographical entries and three indexes [Index of names, index of references, and an index of works].  This colossal guide to A. P. Chekhov's life and times ends on that tragic hour of his passing.  Discover Chekhov from cradle-to-grave. 


The Fundamental Digital Library of Russian Literature and Folklore has posted the latest additions to Letopis’ zhizni i tvorchestva A. P. Chekhova genre by the Russian Academy of Sciences (Institut mirovoǐ literatury im. A. M. Gor’kogo) for the years 1860-1888(Tom 1) and 1889-1891 (Tom 2).  Researchers can access these volumes at:


Navigation note:  Please select the plus sign next to “Летопись жизни и творчества Чехова.”  In order to view the content in Tom 1 and Tom 2, continue selecting the plus sign.  The text icon will display the page.  

Holdings note: UIUC Library has Tom 3 in print.  See: UIUC record.