Literary Kingdom of Chekhov

What is the Kingdom of Chekhov?


It is no coincidence that the romantics believed natural elements of the world were connected to a higher truth, and Anton Chekhov is noted by A.P. Chudakov as “the first literary figure to include in the ethical sphere man’s aptitude to nature.”   The romantics believed nature to be a conductor of sacred values.  Within nature man is allowed to explore his mystical attributes that are only present on holy occasions.  The sick especially find comfort in the presence of nature, and many people find spiritual healing.

Chekhov never stayed in one place for long, though often alone, he was constantly moving and exploring different areas of the world.  On these journeys, Chekhov became obsessed with meteorological charts and began to compare and contrast the vegetation, harvest, and temperaments of people in different regions.

Once in the Cherepovetsky district, Chekhov mentioned, “On a clear day, I saw a white wall of fog moving in from the sea; it was the color of milk and gave the impression of a white curtain hanging from the sky.”  References to heaven only occurred in existence with revelations regarding nature.   Chekhov is also noted as the very first environmentalist, and talked about global warming before Al Gore was even a thought.

While Chekhov tried to steer clear of preaching, he simply cannot help himself when it comes to taking care of mother earth.  In romanticism, nature in linked with the feminine aspect, and Chekhov related to that connection as well.  He said, “My talents I got from my father, but my mother gave me my soul.”  In nature, Chekhov found his soul, and so he used Astrov in Uncle Vanya to express his opinion loud and clear, “And so he destroys everything and never thinks about tomorrow…Now almost everything has been destroyed, but nothing at all has been created in its place.” This was a warning to future generations who did not understand the sanctity of the earth and their surroundings.

Again, Chekhov brings up nature through the protagonist in one of his earliest short stories, Svirel, “The sun, the sky, the woods, the rivers, the creatures-it was all created, adapted, mutually adjusted.  Everything was put in order and knows its place.”  Chekhov appreciated the truer things in life, and though nature is fluctuating every second, the fact that it was always there almost certainly gave comfort to a man who felt his life was fleeting.

Romanticism focused on divine individuals in a realm of dehumanization, and Chekhov differentiated “divine,” characters from everyone else based on their actions towards nature.  Lencek says, “He was prescient of our contemporary commitment to environmental responsibility by promoting the preservation of nature as the touchstone of the moral potential of man.”

Chekhov is obviously a romanticist in the way he expands on the inviolability of nature.  Besides his apparent fondness for the outdoors, his romanticist tendencies are prolonged in regards to the divinity of nature, Chekhov strays from simplistic writing and becomes a poet, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  Poetry is a rare breed of writing, and most writers are familiar with the concept, that poetry comes when nothing else can.  As Chekhov became more ill and more involved with his medical career, he developed a love affair with nature thus incepting a moral code in all people who dared venture in the Kingdom of Chekhov.