Sunday, April 08, 2012

Dramatic Tension

On 11 September 1888, Anton Chekhov wrote to his publisher and friend A. S. Survorin about the tension between his medical and literary work:

[...] You advise me not to hunt after two hares, and not to think of medical work. I do not know why one should not hunt two hares even in the literal sense [...] I feel more confident and more satisfied with myself when I reflect that I have two professions and not one. Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress. When I get tired of one I spend the night with the other. Though it's disorderly, it's not so dull, and besides neither of them loses anything from my infidelity. If I did not have my medical work I doubt if I could have given my leisure and my spare thoughts to literature. There is no discipline in me.

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