What Do I Read Next?
Chekhov's thoughts as he was writing this play, and the considerations that came up while it was in production, are discussed in his letters. Long out of print, there is a new edition of Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary available from Northwestern University Press. There is also much about The Three Sisters in Dear Writer, Dear Actress: The Love Letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper, translated by Jean Benedetti.
The actors who presented this play during Chekhov's time for the Moscow Art Theatre were under the direction of the legendary director Constantin Stanislavsky. Readers can find out more about the acting method these performers followed in Stanislavsky's three books, An Actor Prepares, Building a Character and Creating a Role. All three are available in reprint editions from Theatre Arts Books.
In addition to his fame as a playwright, Chekhov is considered one of the greatest writers of short stories ever. His stories are collected in Anton Chekhov's Short Stories, published by W. W. Norton Company.
One of Chekhov's closest friends and confidants was the Russian writer Maxim Gorky, who was more popular than Chekhov at the turn of the century. His best-known play is The Lower Depths, first performed in 1902 and available in a Yale University Press collection, The Lower Depths and Other Plays.
The Three Sisters was Chekhov's second-to-last play, and, according to some critics, was surpassed only by his last play, The Cherry Orchard.
Comparisons have been made between this play and Hedda Gabler, by Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen's play, first produced in 1890, concerns a strong-willed newlywed aristocrat who takes her frustrations and disappointments out on those around her.
"Errend," a short story by American author Raymond Carver captures the feel of Chekhov's writing while presenting a fictionalized version of the playwright's last hours before death. It is available in Carver's collection Where I'm Calling From, published in 1988.