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In the final years of his life, Chekhov had reached the height of his powers as a dramatist, and also produced some of the stories that rank among his masterpieces. The poignant 'The Lady with the Little Dog' and 'About Love' examine the nature of love outside of marriage - its romantic idealism and the fear of disillusionment. And in stories such as 'Peasants', 'The House with the Mezzanine' and 'My Life' Chekhov paints a vivid picture of the conditions of the poor and of their powerlessness in the face of exploitation and hardship. With the works collected here, Chekhov moved away from the realism of his earlier tales - developing a broader range of characters and subject matter, while forging the spare minimalist style that would inspire such modern short-story writers as Hemingway and Faulkner.

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