"The short stories of Chekhov are an inexhaustible treasure of humanity and wisdom," wrote Elizabeth Hardwick. "The whole of Russian life lies within them." Some six hundred tales bear Chekhov's name, not a few of which are the famous "long short stories" written during roughly the last decade of his brief life. This volume gives us eleven of these, in eminent translations by Constance Garnett and chosen by Shelby Foote. Perhaps the most autobiographical is "Three Years," which offers a portrayal of mercantile greed and exploitation that was new to Russian literature. "The Duel" is the story of Ivan Layevsky, a self-styled "St. Petersburg Hamlet," who, filled with Tolstoyan ideas of a noble life of toil on the land, escapes (with another man's wife) to the Caucasus. The ensuing philosophical confrontations among the major characters clearly resemble those inUncle Vanya. And in the masterly "Ward No. 6," a doctor, disgusted by the stupidity and misery of the world of normal men, forms such a close relationship with an interesting lunatic that society declares the doctor a lunatic too and incarcerates him. The story is devastatingly symbolic of the corruption and hopelessness in Russia toward the end of the autocracy. Also included are "The Black Monk," "An Anonymous Story," "A Woman's Kingdom," "The Wife," "In the Ravine," "Peasants," "The Murder," and "My Life." "Chekhov is not only a great writer but, even rarer, a liberating one," said Susan Sontag. Shelby Foote has provided an Introduction for this edition.