In another life, Anton Chekhov would have made a great psychic. His observations of turn-of-the-century Russian society and the class rage boiling quietly under the surface feel spookily prophetic, considering his plays were written decades before the Bolshevik Revolution.
Uncle Vanya depicts the visit of an elderly professor and his glamorous, much younger second wife, Yeléna, to the rural estate that supports their urban lifestyle. Two friends, Vanya, and Astrov, the local Doctor, both fall under Yelena's spell, while bemoaning the ennui of their provincial existence. Sonya, the Professor's daughter by his first wife, who has worked with Vanya to keep the estate going, suffers from unrequited feelings for Dr. Astrov. Matters are brought to a crisis when the Professor announces his intention to sell the estate with a view to investing the proceeds to achieve a much higher income for himself and his wife.
ANTON CHEKHOV (1860–1904) was a Russian author and physician, considered to be among the greatest writers in history. His career produced numerous classics including The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, and Three Sisters. Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater. Always modest, Chekhov could hardly have imagined the extent of his posthumous reputation. Ovations for The Cherry Orchard in the year of his death showed him how high he had risen in the affection of the Russian public—by then he was second in literary celebrity only to Tolstoy. After his death, Chekhov's fame spread further. Constance Garnett's translations won him an international readership and the admiration of writers such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Katherine Mansfield.