Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To G. I. Rossolimo.

YALTA, January 21, 1900.

DEAR GRIGORY IVANOVITCH,

. . . I send you in a registered parcel what I have that seems suitable for children — two stories of the life of a dog. And I think I have nothing else of the sort. I don’t know how to write for children; I write for them once in ten years, and so-called children’s books I don’t like and don’t believe in. Children ought only to be given what is suitable also for grown-up people. Andersen, “The Frigate Pallada,” Gogol, are easily read by children and also by grown-up people. Books should not be written for children, but one ought to know how to choose from what has been written for grown-up people — that is, from real works of art. To be able to select among drugs, and to administer them in suitable doses, is more direct and consistent than trying to invent a special remedy for the patient because he is a child. Forgive the medical comparison. It’s in keeping with the moment, perhaps, as for the last four days I have been occupied with medicine, doctoring my mother and myself. Influenza no doubt. Fever and headache.

If I write anything, I will let you know in due time, but anything I write can only be published by one man — Marks! For anything published by anyone else I have to pay a fine of 5,000 roubles (per signature). . . .

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