The Shooting Party (Chekhov novel)

The Shooting Party (Russian: Драма на охоте, romanizedDrama na okhote; lit. English: Drama During a Hunt)[2] is an 1884 novel by Anton Chekhov. It is his longest narrative work,[3] and only full-length novel.[4] Framed as a manuscript given to a publisher, it tells the story of an estate forester's daughter in a provincial Russian village, who is stabbed to death in the woods during a hunting party, and the efforts to uncover her killer.

The Shooting Party
The Shooting Party (Chekhov novel).png
Cover art of 1926 English-language publication
AuthorAnton Chekhov
LanguageRussian
GenreNovel
Publisher
Pages
244 (1926 Stanley Paul)[1]
  • 199 (2004 Penguin)

PlotEdit

As the narrator informs, "The Shooting Party" is the name of a manuscript that an unknown author begs a Moscow publisher to read and publish. The narrator agrees at least to read it, and the author says that he will return in three months for the verdict.

Within this manuscript—which makes up the bulk of the book—the narrator is the local magistrate in a rural area. His friend and drinking partner, Count Alexei, lives on a nearby estate with his hard-working bailiff, Urbenin, and Nikolai Efimych, a retailer who has gone insane. Nikolai's daughter Olga also lives on the estate, and is in the midst of a love triangle with the magistrate and Urbenin.

After marrying Urbenin, however, Olga has an illicit affair with Count Alexei, yet still proclaims her love of the magistrate. During a hunting party in the woods near the estate, Olga wanders off by herself and disappears; she is later found stabbed to death. The initial suspicion falls on Urbenin, who appears with blood on his hands after finding her body. However, a one-eyed peasant comes forward who may be able to implicate a different killer; however, he is murdered in jail before making the profession.

The manuscript concludes with Urbenin's conviction of Olga's murder, and he is sent to Siberia for a sentence of nineteen years of hard labor. A postscript written by the publisher identifies the real killer as the unknown author of the manuscript.

Publication historyEdit

The Shooting Party was originally published in Russia in serial form in a total of thirty-two segments.[5] It was later published in its entirety in an English translation (completed by A.E. Chamot) by London publisher Stanley Paul in 1926.[5]

In 2004, the novel was republished by Penguin Books with a new translation by Ronald Wilks.[6]

ReceptionEdit

An assessment published by New York University's Literature Arts & Medicine Database notes: "The Shooting Party is neither a great novel nor a great mystery story. However, its merits go far beyond the usual attribution of juvenilia by a great writer. First, the story itself is ingenious. In its innovative structure, the book prefigures Agatha Christie's most famous novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd written 45 years later. Christie's novel caused a sensation with its narrator-as-murderer plot device."[5]

British crime writer Julian Symons proclaimed the novel a "landmark in the history of the crime story."[7]

AdaptationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Shooting Party". Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Chekhov, Anton; Karlinsky, Simon (1973). Anton Chekhov's Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary. Northwestern University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-810-11460-9.
  3. ^ Loehlin, James N. (2010). The Cambridge Introduction to Chekhov. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-139-49352-9. Chekhov mixed longer and shorter pieces together throughout his career – his one full-length novel, The Shooting Party, appeared in 1884 – but in general his stories grew fewer and longer.
  4. ^ "The Shooting Party". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Coulehan, Jack (April 26, 2006). "The Shooting Party". Literature Arts & Medicine Database. New York University. Retrieved November 13, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Chekhov, Anton (2004). The Shooting Party. Translated by Wilks, Ronald. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-140-44898-6.
  7. ^ Gottlieb, Vera; Allain, Paul, eds. (2000). The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. Cambridge University Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-521-58917-8.
  8. ^ "Summer Storm (1944)".
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "A Hunting Accident". The Portland Mercury. Portland, Ore. Retrieved November 12, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Canby, Vincent (September 11, 1981). "CHEKHOV'S 'SHOOTING PARTY,' RUSSIAN STYLE". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit