Smith, Virginia Llewellyn “The Ending of the Story.” Anton Chekhov and the Lady with the
Dog (1973): 221–22. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Web 3 April 2013.
Smith begins this piece of literary criticism by observing that the situation in Anton Chekov’s The Lady with the Dog is trite. Consequently the value of this work is in the intricate balance between poetry and prose, in characterization and in the inherent ordinary themes. Smith asserts that in The Lady with the Dog Chekov does not force opinions on the readers but rather leaves them to make personal conclusions on the questions posed. Chekov style requires the reader to be engrossed in the story, be intellectually responsive and even emotional. To appreciate this story one must find the equilibrium between over-romanticizing and banality as has been done in the last scene of The Lady with the Dog. In this section, Smith observes, Chekov creates pathos through the marriage between Anna and Gurov and which in a way reflects Chekov’s own romantic experience of finding love late in life. In spite of Checkov’s philosophy of trifling love he comes out as a believer in the existence of ideal love.
This is a very captivating and informative piece of literary criticism. Smith reveals depth of appreciation and understanding in the themes and writing style of Chekov. Smith manages to effectively link the theme of romanticism in The Lady with the Dog to the author’s personal life in order to convince the reader of the inherent link between a writer’s experience and the works of literature that author produces. After having read The Lady with the Dog one will agree with Smith that one can lose the meaning of Chekov’s work due to the banality of the story thus necessitating a profound appreciation of the writer’s intricate balance between prose and poetry. However, Smith confuses the reader at the end of the article because it is not clear whether Chekov was for love or against love in read The Lady with the Dog in the context of other works by the same author.
Styan, J. L. "Pirandellian Theatre Games: Spectator as Victim," Modernism in European Drama:
Ibsen, Strindberg, Pirandello, Beckett, Essays from Modern Drama (2007): 181–90.
Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Web 3 April 2013.
This is a literary criticism article by Styan that discusses Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello. Styan asserts that Pirandello was both a philosopher and a pragmatic joker. Pirandello gave room for directors of his play to incorporate their own ideas in stage productions. Styan cites the production of Six Characters in Search of an Author by Georges Pitoëff in 1923 in which the actors mingled with the audience while dressed in their ordinary clothes which was against the norm. The actors later entered the stage in a cage and imbued in green. The decorated dramatist’s works were replete with farcical contradictions as he made tragedy appear ordinary. Incidentally, in Six Characters in Search of an Author, Styan asserts, Pirandello attempted to create a distinction between the actor and the character, used the customary prompter and prolonged the appalling ending of Six Characters in the 1925 revision. This play was subjected to criticism because the characters appeared to overshadow the actors and the dramatized situation threatened to surpass reality thus making the final scene appear chaotic.
Styan criticism is fairly credible. For example, the reader is taken through a plausible explanation from the works of the dramatist of the character and creative traits of Pirandello. The liberties that the playwright accorded himself in writing and also extended to stage directors in production were responsible for the unorthodox portrayals that are associated with Pirandello. The author of this article also delves briefly into some scenes in the play to illustrate the arguments discussed. Although I largely agree with Styan, I feel that in attempting to be farcical and humorous, Pirandello managed to shock and disgust part of the audience with these unconventional works and their dramatization.