Title of the article:



Viktor S. Zaitsev

Information about the author/authors

Viktor S. Zaitsev — Researcher, Vladimir Dahl Russian State Literary Museum, Trubnikovsky per., 17/1, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0790-2635
E-mail: vik.zaytsev2014@yandex.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 64


pp. 186–198


November 09, 2020

Approved after reviewing

February 17, 2021

Date of publication

June 28, 2022



Index UDK


Index BBK



The works of Anton Chekhov have been established in the Russian cultural canon and perceived as its integral part. At the same time, if we look at the history of the beginning of Chekhov’s texts in canonical corpus (starting with the October Revolution) we get a contradictory picture. In 1920–1930s writer's works, although marked by the presence of anti-Chekhov tendencies in literary criticism, were popular among mass readership. Surveys among library workers and soldiers of the Red Army attest to that fact. Since 1960, when anti-Chekhovism was over, we can see the opposite trend: a gradual decline of A. P. Chekhov's works popularity among readership. Chekhov's status of the classical writer remained unswerving until the 1990–2000s, however, the gap between “reverence” and “reading” was widened, resulting in periodical absence of his name in surveys on favorite and prominent Russian writers at the beginning of the 20th century. This referred to the street interviews among random respondents. That's why in January-April 2018 the author conducted a survey among the targeted audience — visitors of the A. P. Chekhov House-Museum in Moscow. Respondents were asked to name their favorite Chekhov works, quotes, and tell if they had Chekhov's books in their home libraries. Moreover, the author asked respondents when they were rereading the texts of the writer. Results of the survey showed an uneven acquaintance with Chekhov’s works with the prevalence of negative trends among museum's visitors: respondents read the writer’s works irregularly even if they have Chekhov`s books at home. They were not able to remember when and which texts of Chekhov they were rereading. All respondents had the greatest difficulties answering the question about favorite quotes of Chekhov's works. These facts combined with research from the early 2000s, sustain a conclusion about the nominal nature of presence of A. P. Chekhov in the list of “canonized” authors, and his actual “decanonization” that occurred at the turn of the 21st century.


cultural canon, Anton Chekhov, sociology of literature, mass reading, decanonization.


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