Context


Uncle Vanya was written in 1860 by Anton Chekhov, a doctor. A playwright in his spare time, Chekhov actually grew up in a country estate similar to the one described in this play. Vanya was based on an earlier play called The Wood Demon that he revised after its initial failure.

Chekhov was recovering from ill health when he wrote his final four (and most successful) plays: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. With these powerful works he helped develop what is now referred to as “nastroenie”-- which in English we might refer to as “mood” or “atmosphere.”

Chekhov is remembered today as a great writer of dialogue, and his comi-tragic plays have influenced a number of famous playwrights including George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller, and Clifford Odets, among many others. Uncle Vanya received its Moscow premiere in 1899 under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski.

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