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Chekhov – the Necessity of Redeeming the Past

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chekhov_1898_by_osip_braz

??? ?????? ??? ???. ????? ?????? ? ?????????, ???? ?? ??? ????? ???????? ????. [?????.] ?????????, ???: ??? ???, ?????? ? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???????????, ????????? ?????? ??????, ? ??????? ? ?????? ????? ? ????, ? ??????? ??????, ? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ???????????? ????????, ??????? ?? ?? ??????? ???????. . . ??????? ?????? ?????? — ???? ??? ?????????? ???? ???, ?????? ?????? ? ?????? ???????, ??? ??? ???? ????, ??, ???? ??? ?? ?????????, ??? ?? ?????? ? ????, ?? ????? ????, ?? ???? ??? ?????, ??????? ?? ?? ???????? ?????? ????????… ?? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ??? ?? ??????, ? ??? ??? ??? ????? ??????, ??? ????????????? ????????? ? ????????, ?? ?????? ?????????????, ???????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?????. ???? ??? ????, ????? ?????? ???? ? ?????????, ???? ??????? ???????? ???? ???????, ????????? ? ???, ? ???????? ??? ????? ?????? ??????????, ?????? ???????????, ??????????? ??????.

All Russia is our orchard. The land is great and beautiful, there are many marvellous places in it. [Pause.] Think, Anya, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, and all your ancestors were serf-owners, they owned living souls; and now, doesn’t something human look at you from every cherry in the orchard, every leaf and every stalk? Don’t you hear voices . . . ? Oh, it’s awful, your orchard is terrible; and when in the evening or at night you walk through the orchard, then the old bark on the trees sheds a dim light and the old cherry-trees seem to be dreaming of all that was a hundred, two hundred years ago, and are oppressed by their heavy visions. Still, at any rate, we’ve left those two hundred years behind us. So far we’ve gained nothing at all–we don’t yet know what the past is to be to us–we only philosophize, we complain that we are dull, or we drink vodka. For it’s so clear that in order to begin to live in the present we must first redeem the past, and that can only be done by suffering, by strenuous, uninterrupted labor.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, ????ë??? ??? (The Cherry Orchard), act ii (1904)(Trofimov)

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