Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To S. P. Dyagilev.

YALTA, July 12, 1903.

. . . I have been thinking over your letter for a long time, and alluring as your suggestion or offer is, yet in the end I must answer it as neither you nor I would wish.

I cannot be the editor of The World of Art, as I cannot live in Petersburg, . . . that’s the first point. And the second is that just as a picture must be painted by one artist and a speech delivered by one orator, so a magazine must be edited by one man. Of course I am not a critic, and I dare say I shouldn’t make a very good job of the reviews; but on the other hand, how could I get on in the same boat with Merezhkovsky, who definitely believes, didactically believes, while I lost my faith years ago and can only look with perplexity at any “intellectual” who does believe? I respect Merezhkovsky, and think highly of him both as a man and as a writer, but we should be pulling in opposite directions. . . .

Don’t be cross with me, dear Sergey Pavlovitch: it seems to me that if you go on editing the magazine for another five years you will come to agree with me. A magazine, like a picture or a poem, must bear the stamp of one personality and one will must be felt in it. This has been hitherto the case in the World of Art, and it was a good thing. And it must be kept up. . . .

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