The contemporary short-story is unimaginable without Anton Chekhov. He stripped the story of many of the features that had seemed essential to nineteenth-century readers: plot, narrative tension, and denouement. Terms such as "slices of life" and "sketches" are used to highlight the fact that often very little happens in Chekhov's short stories. What is left unsaid reveals as much or more than what is said. The result is a sparse and atmospheric work that has less in common with that other major fictional form--the novel--than it does with the lyric poem. The creation of this new literary form enables Chekhov to express some of the most penetrating psychological insights in modern literature and to share with readers a gentle and compassionate view of humanity.