Although Virginia Woolf’s critical writings pay special tribute to Anton Chekhov’s stories and plays, his role as preceptor in relation to her own fiction has not been fully explored. Not only does the manuscript of To the Lighthouse display clear affinities with Chekhov’s sensibility (as apprehended in Woolf’s 1925 Common Reader essay, “The Russian Point of View”), but this congruence was intensified during extensive final revisions, begun in typescript just after Woolf had viewed a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in late October 1925. Woolf’s purposeful assimilation of Chekhov’s inconclusive, disjunctive manner in her meticulously composed, autobiographically candid novel bespeaks an unapologetic openness to authorial influence, made all the more provocative by the adoption of a foreign model whose merit was then still little recognized in English literary circles.
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Merrill Turner; The Chekhovian Point of View in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Modern Language Quarterly 1 September 2013; 74 (3): 391–412. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2153509
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