Chekhov: satire and alcohol Chekhov: satire and alcohol

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Chekhov: Russia, humor, alcohol

This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)

Usually this column is devoted to prominent artists and deboshires. Their image is about art and about a bottle of strong alcohol. It is ok for Dovlatov, Hemingway, Bukowski and Yerofeev. But there is one Russian writer whose image does not fit with drinking hard. And this is Chekhov. 

Chekhov: satire and alcohol

Just remember colorful descriptions of alcohol and drunkards by Chekhov in his works! Do you think it is possible to describe all the beauty and tragedy of being drunk if you do not drink and do not love alcohol?

There is even a scientific research “Chekhov and alcohol” (alas in Russian). The author makes detailed exploration of Chekhov’s writings. He divides them into alcohol and non-alcohol, also he counts amount of alcohol being drunk there. The first place surely takes vodka. 

The author brings some vivid quotations from Chekhov’s diaries as well. Just for example: 

“I do not drink, but still the wine has been finished. The wine is so good, that Nikolai and Ivan must bring at least per one bottle in their suitcases (me too). Wine is a lucky strike here. If there is anything better than an after-dinner glass of wine at a terraсe? Please, explain them. Wine is marvelous… I took it at Miasnitskaya street… at Georgian wine shop. Guiliay knows this shop. The wine is marked as “Akhmet” or “Makhmet”, white wine…”


Chekhov’s secret is plain. In his books he suspends himself from his heroes. Most of his stories are full of satire. He finds human vices and shows them in bright lights. This is the way the reader can enjoy all the “beauties” of human soul. 

A short story “Joy” depicts this topic really well. A young official rushes into his parents’ house at midnight. He is full of joy. It turns out that he caused an accident at the street being drunk. The hero tries his best to inform all his friends and relatives about it.  

In order to finish my story, let me quote Chekhov’s “Champagne”:

“Do not trust champagne… It sparkles as a diamond, it is sheer as a wood spring, sweet as a nectar; it is honored more than labor, poet’s song, woman’s caress, but… stay away from it!”

My friends! Do not trust any other alcohol too! Drink to be happy, drink in proper amounts, enjoy the taste and communication with your friends. See you soon!

This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)

Alexey Shabelskiy

Author. Journalist. Since my middle school times, I had mixed various liquids, poured them from one vessel to another and, holding my breath, waited for what would happen. My natural-scientific curiosity led me to the thorny path of a chemist. However, suddenly it turned out that it was as exciting for me, as the process of creating a text. In addition to the well-known positive aspects for which everyone comes to the bars, I am fascinated by the process of bartenders’ service. No wonder, as they are the same chemists who have beautiful glassware and an ocean of colored liquids at their disposal. It is a real pleasure for me to work with DCW magazine, as I do what I really live to do in my life.

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