Letters of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

To Madame Avilov.

MELIHOVO, March 19, 1892.

HONOURED LIDYA ALEXYEVNA,

I have read your story “On the Road.” If I were the editor of an illustrated magazine, I should publish the story with great pleasure; but here is my advice as a reader: when you depict sad or unlucky people, and want to touch the reader’s heart, try to be colder — it gives their grief as it were a background, against which it stands out in greater relief. As it is, your heroes weep and you sigh. Yes, you must be cold.

But don’t listen to me, I am a bad critic. I have not the faculty of forming my critical ideas clearly. Sometimes I make a regular hash of it. . . .

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