By Kirin Narayan
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 consultant, 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 technique, his lifestyles as a author via debts via his neighbors, relatives, and fanatics, and his enterprise into nonfiction via his publication Sakhalin Island. via heavily getting to the folks who lived lower than the appalling stipulations of the Russian penal colony on Sakhalin, Chekhov confirmed how empirical information mixed with a literary aptitude can convey readers head to head with far-off, assorted lives, enlarging a feeling of human accountability.
Highlighting this stability of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to carry new power to the writing of ethnography and artistic nonfiction alike. Weaving jointly choices from writing through and approximately him with examples from different proficient ethnographers and memoirists, she deals sensible routines and recommendation on issues resembling tale, concept, position, individual, voice, and self. a brand new and full of life exploration of ethnography, Alive within the Writing exhibits how the genre’s attentive, sustained reference to the lives of others can turn into a robust instrument for any writer.
“[Kirin Narayan] has written a quick and magnificent publication approximately what it ability to be an ethnographer, and the way to do it responsibly, and better.”
(James wooden the recent Yorker)
“I was once skeptical approximately no matter if the writings of a nineteenth-century Russian playwright and storyteller, inspiring as they could be, may well supply a lot advice within the extra prosaic activity of crafting educational texts. however. . . . i made a decision to learn on besides. i'm comfortable I did. Chekhov, a minimum of in Kirin Narayan’s deft arms, proved to be an incredibly strong 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 move) will locate it important for accurately that objective. however it is way greater than that. Narayan’s pleasure at assembly Chekhov around the literature-ethnography divide and the wealthy array of gorgeous ethnographic writing jointly forcefully remind us that ethnographic writing is rarely easily a descriptive workout. As I learn in the course of the booklet, i used to be many times struck via the feel of familiarity either with the dilemmas confronted by means of 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 sensible advice and encouragement the following, for a pro ethnographic author the comfort is available in the conclusion that there's corporation in these probably lonely moments while one struggles to render into understandable prose the strong presence in all fieldwork of the inchoate, the imponderable, and—what is usually the results of moral issues for the safety of one’s informants—the unsayable.”
(Michael Herzfeld American Anthropologist)
“Alive within the Writing is a gem of a e-book. Insightful and energetic to learn, it really is of use to either starting and professional ethnographers, in addition to to somebody who desires to enhance his or her writing approximately social existence. . . . encouraged via 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 alternative ethnographers, to supply an innovative, attractive, and hugely worthy sequence of workouts and suggestion to make ethnographic writing come alive.”
(Elizabeth tremendous magazine of Folklore Research)
“Chekhov’s precise skill to be a scientist and an artist, a physician and a author, to constantly be found in his writings as an observer and narrator, unfailingly compassionate, yet by no means overbearing, makes Chekhov a task version to which we will be able to all aspire. After analyzing Narayan’s e-book, it's your decision to expire and skim Chekhov earlier than you take a seat to do any of your personal writing. i don't imagine Narayan could locate this scary in any respect. possibly it truly is even what she intends. i've got continuously heard it stated that you simply write in addition to what you learn. Bravo to Narayan for reminding us of this important fact. She has truly discovered deeply from her muse. Her writing flickers with the entire glittering features 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 people such without end fascinating creatures.”
(Ruth Behar present Anthropology)
“Balm for the loneliness and torment of the ethnographic author, this guide by means of some of the most wonderful bargains the person a private writer's workshop, instantaneously captivating, healing, and functional. The author's mom, her such a lot astute reader, asks: ‘A lot of individuals haven't any challenge writing. the larger factor I'd wish to be aware of is, do you have got any options on how one can positioned all of the varied little bits together?’ With assistance from 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 end result, deftly selected excerpts from modern ethnographic writing, and her personal adventure as anthropologist and instructor to create an insightful and certainly valuable set of strategies, information, and routines for someone 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 existence, paintings, and writing practices is rare for a ebook dedicated to craft, yet it's a truly effective and relaxing through-line. the writer weaves jointly wealthy examples from anthropological texts, and those examples collaborate superbly together with her inquiry into Chekhov's artistry and with the writing routines she offers. stylish of their simplicity and sensibleness, the routines invite readers to scan, they usually aid translate theoretical ideas 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 became her deep appreciation of the craft and its promise right into a present for anthropologists. Narayan bargains versions of and versions for ethnographic writing that might encourage us. i'm desirous to train the booklet, 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 really is wealthy in workouts to increase an ethnographic writer's abilities and marvelous in its tales of Chekhov as ethnographer. Narayan's significant guide for writers (and readers) of ethnography in addition to inventive nonfiction might 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 educate 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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Additional resources for Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov
One of these women described her perceptions of the place: They have asked us to clean up our houses and go in and settle down. How can we settle down here? Do you see the heaps of ashes? Do you see the blood? Here, put your hand inside this heap and you will see the melted skulls. They would not even let us have the dead bodies. We begged them: you have killed our men. Let us have their bodies at least—let us mourn them properly. The whole night we hear the voices of our dead. I hear my husband asking for water.
Here is Chekhov entering a cell in the Alexandrovsk Hard Labour Prison in Sakhalin. Outside, he noted how neat the prison yard was, and, on first entering the cell, he perceived it as “spacious”: The windows were open and there was a good deal of light. The walls were unpainted, splintered and dark, with oakum in between the logs; the only things that were white were the tiled dutch stoves. The floor was of wood, unpainted and completely bare. Right the way down the middle of the cell stretched one continuous bed-board, with a slope on both sides, so that the convicts could sleep in two rows, with the heads of one row turned up towards the heads of the other.
India’s rivers, for example, are mostly seen by Hindus as goddesses to be propitiated, however polluted the waters may run. ” Her book Do Glaciers Listen? shows how Athapaskan and Tlingit stories about glaciers emphasize their humanlike characteristics: They respond to humans and especially to smells when meat is fried nearby. They are also quick to hear and to take offence when humans demonstrate cockiness by making jokes at their expense. ” Glaciers in these accounts are thought to sometimes show their own fierce agency as they observe and interact with humans.