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THE ARTIST AS LITERARY CHARACTER
IN THE WORKS OF ANTON CHEKHOV



by



Amber Jo Aulen



A thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures University of Toronto



 Copyright by Amber J. Aulen 2018


ii
ABSTRACT

The Artist as Literary Character in the Work of Anton Chekhov Doctor of Philosophy 2017 Amber Jo Aulen Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures University of Toronto
The present dissertation considers the methodology of Anton Chekhov’s literary ethics by focusing on the figure of the artist in his work. There are two general strategies he employs in depicting this figure. The first regards his engagement with typicality in characterizing the artist, and the second regards the reflexivity of the artist, which is to say the artist’s actions on the fictional plane draw attention to the author’s actions on the meta-fictional plane.
The concern with typicality vis-à-vis the artist is more prominent in his earlier stories and is the focus of the first part of the dissertation. Chapter One addresses typicality in the genre of the physiologie in France and its Russian counterpart, the fiziologicheskii
ocherk. This discussion lays the groundwork for Chapter Two, which addresses
Chekhov’s move towards the complicated type in a trio of stories showcasing artists published in short succession in February 1886 – An Actor’s Death (“Akterskaia gibel’”), Requiem (“Panikhida”), and “Anyuta” (“Aniuta”).
The reflexive quality of the figure of the artist, which we also find in the three aforementioned stories, is more prominent in Chekhov’s later stories and is the focus of the second part of the dissertation. How an artist sees is of particular importance to Chekhov. Chapter Three examines the visual artists in his mature work to determine the components of artistic vision he sets forth, namely serdechnost’, temporal and sensory specificity, and indeterminacy. Chapter Four analyzes the actress. From his early days as


iii a writer, he was attentive to the power dynamics in the theater. His sympathy towards the actress in stories such as Requiem (“Panikhida”) and A Boring Story (Skuchnaia istoriia”) is noteworthy. Yet, as Chapter Four argues, he moves beyond sympathy in The
Seagull (“Chaika”) to invest Nina, an actress, with the power of self-representation.






Chapter two convention and innovation – navigating the
Chapter three the visual artist – seeing artistically ……………………...135
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………….225
Chapter one aesthetics and the type
Zoology: the type as categorical
Physiology: the type as abstract
Physiognomy/ phrenology the type as referential
Additional notes on the physiologie: objectivity, the scientific mode
Speaking for the type
The artist as a type poverty
The artist as a type the ‘artist/writer’ as an idea
The artist as a type playing a part
The artist as a type promiscuity
Reductive tendencies of the type
Disparate interpretations
Incorrect assumptions
Chapter three
Chapter four
Cultural perceptions
Sensationalism
English translation
Additional primary sources
Secondary sources



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