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Ward Number Six and Other Stories

Ward Number Six and Other Stories

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In Ward Number Six, the lunatic ward of a provincial Russian hospital, Doctor Ragin discovers the only intelligent man in town, to whom he can air his theory that "Man finds peace and contentment within him, not in the world outside".
Writing towards the close of the nineteenth century, Chekhov recorded the symptoms of a society in crisis. Tolstoy's moral certainties, Dostoevsky's passion, Turgenev's civilized idealism -all these have left their mark on the world that Chekhov depicts, yet there seems little to show for it. Relations between the sexes are characterized by cynical exploitation; an elderly professor, after a lifetime of service to medicine, can find no remedy for his own atrophied sensibilities, and even an aspirant revolutionary assassin finds that he cannot deliver the fatal stroke. In these seven stories Chekhov demonstrates a compassionate but wryly unsentimental view of a society whose ills the Chekhovian protagonist can neither kill nor cure.
The text of this edition is taken from The Oxford Chekhov.