The Anton Chekhov short story About Love is getting a new visual treatment. A Canadian cartoonist who goes solely by “Seth” created an illustrated English translation of the story that was released yesterday, October 9.
About Love is three interlinking stories -- the eponymous About Love, Gooseberries and A Man in a Shell -- encapsulated in a frame story in which friends exchange stories about missed chances in their love lives. Like most Chekhov tales, the stories are about the poignant details of the lives of ordinary people. About Love was originally published in 1898, not long before health issues put an end to Chekhov's career. It was Chekhov's sole stab at interlinking stories.
Chekhov himself was no stranger to complex romantic entanglements. He married the actress Olga Knipper, but maintained a long distance relationship with her; she lived in Moscow while he lived in the country. There, he engaged in a number of sticky affairs, including one with the wife of a school teacher.
Seth, who is a Chekhov fan, said that he feels cartooning is an ideal medium for capturing everyday life. He said that he felt the action of About Love moved in the same way a comic book would, which made it a natural choice for his style of illustration. He says that his images do not replace the text of the story in any way, and are more decorative than illustrative of the story.
If Chekhov's stories teach us anything, it is that we should grasp the chances at love that life offers us. Is there someone special out there for you?