By Kirin Narayan

ISBN-10: 0226568180

ISBN-13: 9780226568188

Anton Chekhov is respected as a boldly leading edge playwright and brief tale writer—but he wrote greater than simply performs and tales. In Alive within the Writing—an fascinating hybrid of writing advisor, biography, and literary analysis—anthropologist and novelist Kirin Narayan introduces readers to a few different aspects of Chekhov: his pithy, witty observations at the writing procedure, his lifestyles as a author via bills via his associates, kinfolk, and enthusiasts, and his enterprise into nonfiction via his booklet Sakhalin Island. through heavily getting to the folk who lived below the appalling stipulations of the Russian penal colony on Sakhalin, Chekhov confirmed how empirical info mixed with a literary aptitude can carry readers nose to nose with far away, various lives, enlarging a feeling of human accountability.

Highlighting this stability of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to convey new strength to the writing of ethnography and inventive nonfiction alike. Weaving jointly decisions from writing by means of and approximately him with examples from different gifted ethnographers and memoirists, she bargains sensible workouts and suggestion on subject matters similar to tale, idea, position, individual, voice, and self. a brand new and vigorous exploration of ethnography, Alive within the Writing indicates how the genre’s attentive, sustained reference to the lives of others can develop into a strong device for any writer.


“[Kirin Narayan] has written a short and incredible publication approximately what it ability to be an ethnographer, and the way to do it responsibly, and better.”
(James wooden the recent Yorker)

“I used to be skeptical approximately even if the writings of a nineteenth-century Russian playwright and storyteller, inspiring as they could be, may well supply a lot information within the extra prosaic activity of crafting educational texts. however. . . . i made a decision to learn on besides. i'm happy I did. Chekhov, no less than in Kirin Narayan’s deft fingers, proved to be an incredibly reliable resource of recommendation for the ethnographic writer.”
(James Staples magazine of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

“Narayan’s brief e-book can simply be learn as a guide, and a few (especially people with much less event to guarantee them that the doldrums do finally cross) will locate it worthy for accurately that objective. however it is far greater than that. Narayan’s pleasure at assembly Chekhov around the literature-ethnography divide and the wealthy array of lovely ethnographic writing jointly forcefully remind us that ethnographic writing is rarely easily a descriptive workout. As I learn throughout the ebook, i used to be again and again struck by way of the experience of familiarity either with the dilemmas confronted through Narayan’s selected authors and with the exuberant outbursts with which they leaped around the constraints of a scholarly self-discipline to recapture the insights of fieldwork. If a doctoral scholar will locate useful suggestions and encouragement the following, for a professional ethnographic author the comfort is available in the belief that there's corporation in these probably lonely moments while one struggles to render into understandable prose the robust presence in all fieldwork of the inchoate, the imponderable, and—what is typically the results of moral issues for the security of one’s informants—the unsayable.”
(Michael Herzfeld American Anthropologist)

“Alive within the Writing is a gem of a e-book. Insightful and vigorous to learn, it truly is of use to either starting and professional ethnographers, in addition to to somebody who desires to enhance his or her writing approximately social lifestyles. . . . encouraged by way of her personal paintings as an anthropologist and folklorist, Narayan attracts on Chekhov’s lifestyles and his ethnographic paintings, Sakhalin Island, in addition to the works of different ethnographers, to supply an creative, enticing, and hugely precious sequence of routines and suggestion to make ethnographic writing come alive.”
(Elizabeth positive magazine of Folklore Research)

“Chekhov’s designated skill to be a scientist and an artist, a physician and a author, to regularly be found in his writings as an observer and narrator, unfailingly compassionate, yet by no means overbearing, makes Chekhov a job version to which we will all aspire. After analyzing Narayan’s e-book, it's your decision to expire and skim Chekhov ahead of you take a seat to do any of your individual writing. i don't imagine Narayan may locate this frightening in any respect. probably it's even what she intends. i've got consistently heard it stated that you just write in addition to what you learn. Bravo to Narayan for reminding us of this important fact. She has sincerely discovered deeply from her muse. Her writing flickers with all of the glittering characteristics of Chekhov’s work—brevity, precision, audacity, and the will to inform issues as they're, and to take action with love, humor, and abiding interest for what makes humans such eternally fascinating creatures.”
(Ruth Behar present Anthropology)

“Balm for the loneliness and torment of the ethnographic author, this handbook by means of some of the most exotic bargains the consumer a private writer's workshop, without delay fascinating, healing, and functional. The author's mom, her so much astute reader, asks: ‘A lot of individuals haven't any challenge writing. the larger factor I'd wish to comprehend is, do you will have any strategies on the best way to positioned all of the diverse little bits together?’ With the aid of Anton Chekhov, her muse and obsession, Narayan does.”--George Marcus, writer of Ethnography via Thick and Thin
(George Marcus 2011-11-22)

“Narayan skillfully weaves the tale of Anton Chekhov’s stopover at to Sakhalin Island and its literary/ethnographic consequence, deftly selected excerpts from modern ethnographic writing, and her personal event as anthropologist and instructor to create an insightful and in particular priceless set of techniques, information, and routines for a person writing ethnography themselves. learn it and use it, you won’t locate whatever better.”

(Howard S. Becker, writer of Writing for Social Scientists)

"The sustained interplay with Chekhov's lifestyles, paintings, and writing practices is rare for a publication dedicated to craft, yet it's a truly efficient and stress-free through-line. the writer weaves jointly wealthy examples from anthropological texts, and those examples collaborate superbly along with her inquiry into Chekhov's artistry and with the writing workouts she offers. based of their simplicity and sensibleness, the routines invite readers to test, and so they support translate theoretical recommendations into matters that writers of all degrees share."

(Michele Morano 2011-11-22)

“With a deft contact and an not going muse (Anton Chekhov), this consummate author and reader of ethnographies has grew to become her deep appreciation of the craft and its promise right into a reward for anthropologists. Narayan bargains types of and versions for ethnographic writing that would motivate us. i'm wanting to educate the ebook, yet simply as desirous to research from it.”--Lila Abu-Lughod, writer of Writing Women’s Worlds

(Lila Abu-Lughod 2011-11-22)

“Alive within the Writing is just a satisfaction to learn. It walks its speak. it's wealthy in workouts to strengthen an ethnographic writer's abilities and astonishing in its tales of Chekhov as ethnographer. Narayan's tremendous handbook for writers (and readers) of ethnography in addition to inventive nonfiction should be a cornerstone for much-needed classes in writing culture.”--Renato Rosaldo, coauthor of tradition & Truth
(Renato Rosaldo 2011-11-22)

“Wise, lucid, loving—this guidebook of savvy illuminations will show and encourage scholars, academics, and all these misplaced and located within the writing process.”--James Clifford, writer of at the Edges of Anthropology

(James Clifford 2011-11-22)

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Extra resources for Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov

Example text

The whole night we hear the voices of our dead. I hear my husband asking for water. The killers wouldn’t even let us give water to the dying. My son cried, mother, mother—as he used to when he was little, but I could not go to him. This street is now a cremation ground for us. The living have become silent shades, while the cries of the dead float up to the sky and fall on us like weights. The street, then, had become a memorial to the dead, and the women refused to wash themselves, to clean the place, and to resume routines like cooking.

White tie. People say that both the tie and I are a good likeness, but my expression, as last year, looks as if I’d taken a great whiff of horseradish . . Writing about Chekhov, I’ve often wondered if I’ve got both the likeness and the expression right. Again and again, as I’ve tried to recall a quip, I’ve ended up mangling the word order, reminding me how, even in translation, his precision with language gleams like a doctor’s instruments. I’ve sprinkled some of Chekhov’s observations on writing through this book as they apply to nonfiction rather than fiction; for a fuller scope of his thoughts on writing, I highly recommend Piero Brunello and Lena Lenček’s compilation How to Write Like Chekhov (2008).

Abandoned roads soon lose their shape, forcing you in and out of eroded canyons and over muddy trickles where bridges once stood but which are now choked by loose soil, vines crawling on disinterred roots and trunks sliding, askew. Yet, ironically, the forest as a site of truth and beauty seems much clearer from the logging road than anywhere else, since 36 two it is the road that slices open the neat cross-section in which underbrush, canopy, and high emergents are so carefully structured. Notice how “you” becomes “me,” the reader walking with Tsing and her Dayak companions as she induces in us the physical sensation, the discomfort and strain of slogging through the heavy, hot, wet clay and swarms of mosquitoes.

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Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov by Kirin Narayan

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