In Which I Find a Folio Society Set of the Collected Stories of Chekhov

This Folio Society set of The Collected Stories of Chekhov matches my lamp from Target!

This Folio Society boxed set of The Collected Stories of Chekhov matches my lamp from Target!

Paperbacks are perfect for reading in the horizontal position.  I love my Penguins, Picadors, and Nancy Pearl Book Lust Rediscoveries.

Commenters at this blog, however, recently mentioned that used editions of the Folio Society books are available at eBay.

I do not frequent eBay.  I was once outbid for a mid-twentieth-century blond wood dining room table I wanted for a desk. But  many eBay dealers do sell for a set price. And so I browsed and bought this gorgeous Folio Society set of Chekhov’s The Collected Stories.  The four books are very slightly oversized, but perfectly manageable for reading in “my nest.”

Published in 2010 to celebrate the 150th birthday of Chekhov, the books are beautifully bound and illustrated by Laura Carlin.

Illustration by Laura Karlin

Illustration by Laura Carlin

The translation is by Ronald Hingley, who translated nine volumes of Chekhov’s plays and six volumes of his stories for Oxford University Press.  I have tried the Constance Garnett, and hope Hingley will finally illuminate Chekhov for me.

In the introduction, James Lasdun explores the alluring brevity of Chekhov by comparing him to three epic novelists of the 19th century and early twentieth century..

The canonized writers of the past have a tendency to assume a fixed expression in their readers’ imaginations.  Dostoevsky always appears in the same aura of morbidly enthralling hysteria; Proust in the same velvety atmosphere of hyper-attuned sensory receptiveness.  To think of Tolstoy is to conjure, at once, the note of impassive grandeur as of creation being set out in glittering ranks for inspection.

Anton Chekhov, whose short career was as momentous as any of these, has his own distinct tone and manner, but the impression it leaves is curiously elusive, offering reticence and hesitation in place of ‘personality, and a series of mods rather than a discernible attitude to life, even the attitude of uncertainty.

I look forward to reading The Collected Stories and will report back in a few weeks.

11 thoughts on “In Which I Find a Folio Society Set of the Collected Stories of Chekhov

  1. That is a beautiful illustration. I have a number of Folio Society books — with the exception of this new Duke’s Children, mine were all bought second hand on the Net. Several are knock-offs of Trollope Society books, but I have also hard-to-find books by others: Charles Burney’s tour of Europe (a wonderful diary), some 18th century gothic novels. Alas all mine have black-and-white illustrations. The use of color is more recent and to me the colors look just beautiful. I went to a book sale on Thursday — it used to be much bigger, but snobs at the library where it’s hold (or some kind of internecine politics) have tried to destroy the bi-yearly event and succeeded in making it smaller so there is not as much to find or enjoy. I did get a lovely copy of Wolf Hall (first edition, hard-back, sewn) so got rid of my small ugly doorstep of a popular paperback edition.

    • t’s nice to know that there’s so much online. I’m sure the Trollopes are beautiful, and he is one of my favorite writers. I’ll have to put the Trollope Society books on my wishlist.

      Too bad about the library sale. It all depends on who’s in charge. Some treasure beautiful old books; others pulp them. Great that you got Wolf Hall! You never know what you’ll find.

  2. I need just that for my Russian Folio collection (I have Chekov’s Short Stories (in a big book,not the set),Chekov’s Shooting Party,Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita,Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov,Gogol’s Short Stories,Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina,Tolstoy’s Collected Stories.)
    The current price is too high for someone like,so I’ll wait a bit more.

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