“In the Cart” (Yarmolinsy Translation)
From the book by George Saunders, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
Note: I taught Russian literature in a university for thirty years. Naturally, I was intrigued when the short-story writer George Saunders published a book detailing how he teaches Russian stories in his creative writing classes at Syracuse University. Among those stories are two by Anton Chekhov that I once taught (“The Darling” and “Gooseberries”) and one by Nikolai Gogol (“The Nose”).
I decided that before looking at the Saunders commentary I would publish my own critical remarks on each story. The result would be an interesting contrast: material as presented by a teacher of Russian literature versus material as presented by a teacher of creative writing. The first story treated by Saunders is Anton Chekhov’s “In the Cart.” I have already posted my critical analysis of that story on my blog, “U.R. Bowie on Russian Literature” and on Dactyl Review. What follows below is my commentary on how George Saunders approaches the story.