In light of the historical circumstances surrounding Anton Chekhov's early writing career and his own statements about the importance of medicine to it, there is surprisingly little scholarship on how medicine shaped his prose. What ideas was he introduced to in medical school and how did he apply them? Which of these drew his attention as he strove to articulate a new artistic vision? How did Chekhov draw on his experience with medicine to experiment with new themes and forms in his literary writing? This article addresses these questions by focusing on the aspects of medicine that had the most discernable influence on Chekhov as he developed his literary writing: hygiene, clinical medicine, and psychiatry. It argues that Chekhov engaged with core issues of medicine not only as a medical student who wrote case histories of his patients, but also as a groundbreaking writer. As he transcodes insights from the clinic into his prose, he creates a new conception of details that disclose relationships between settings and characters and an environmental psychology emerges across his medical writing and fiction. His stories envision relationships between physical and mental life with such originality that he becomes a new literary force not long after completing his medical education.
The link to Matthew's article is here:
November 30, 2021