By Kirin Narayan
Anton Chekhov is respected as a boldly cutting edge playwright and brief tale writer—but he wrote greater than simply performs and tales. In Alive within the Writing—an interesting 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 existence as a author via debts via his associates, relations, and fans, and his enterprise into nonfiction via his e-book 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 nose to nose with far away, diverse lives, enlarging a feeling of human accountability.
Highlighting this stability of the empirical and the literary, Narayan calls on Chekhov to deliver new power to the writing of ethnography and artistic nonfiction alike. Weaving jointly choices from writing through and approximately him with examples from different gifted ethnographers and memoirists, she deals functional routines and suggestion on subject matters reminiscent of tale, thought, position, individual, voice, and self. a brand new and energetic exploration of ethnography, Alive within the Writing indicates how the genre’s attentive, sustained reference to the lives of others can develop into a robust software for any writer.
“[Kirin Narayan] has written a quick and terrific ebook approximately what it capability to be an ethnographer, and the way to do it responsibly, and better.”
(James wooden the hot Yorker)
“I was once skeptical approximately no matter if the writings of a nineteenth-century Russian playwright and storyteller, inspiring as they may be, may possibly supply a lot tips within the extra prosaic job of crafting educational texts. however. . . . i made a decision to learn on besides. i'm completely satisfied I did. Chekhov, not less than in Kirin Narayan’s deft palms, proved to be an incredibly sturdy resource of recommendation for the ethnographic writer.”
(James Staples magazine of the Royal Anthropological Institute)
“Narayan’s brief booklet can simply be learn as a handbook, and a few (especially people with much less event to guarantee them that the doldrums do ultimately cross) will locate it beneficial for accurately that function. however it is way 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 isn't easily a descriptive workout. As I learn during the e-book, i used to be time and again struck via the experience of familiarity either with the dilemmas confronted by way 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 pupil will locate sensible tips and encouragement right here, for a pro ethnographic author the comfort is available in the conclusion that there's corporation in these likely lonely moments whilst one struggles to render into understandable prose the robust 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 full of life to learn, it really is of use to either starting and pro ethnographers, in addition to to an individual who desires to increase his or her writing approximately social existence. . . . encouraged through her personal paintings as an anthropologist and folklorist, Narayan attracts on Chekhov’s existence and his ethnographic paintings, Sakhalin Island, in addition to the works of alternative ethnographers, to supply an innovative, enticing, and hugely worthy sequence of workouts and suggestion to make ethnographic writing come alive.”
(Elizabeth high-quality magazine of Folklore Research)
“Chekhov’s detailed skill to be a scientist and an artist, a doctor and a author, to consistently 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 interpreting Narayan’s publication, you might have considered trying to expire and skim Chekhov earlier than you sit to do any of your individual writing. i don't imagine Narayan could locate this frightening in any respect. might be it's even what she intends. i've got continuously heard it acknowledged that you simply write in addition to what you learn. Bravo to Narayan for reminding us of this significant fact. She has basically realized deeply from her muse. Her writing glints with all of the glittering features of Chekhov’s work—brevity, precision, audacity, and the need to inform issues as they're, and to take action with love, humor, and abiding interest for what makes people such forever attention-grabbing creatures.”
(Ruth Behar present Anthropology)
“Balm for the loneliness and torment of the ethnographic author, this guide via probably the most amazing deals the person a private writer's workshop, straight away captivating, healing, and sensible. 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 may have any techniques on the best way to placed the entire assorted 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 consequence, deftly selected excerpts from modern ethnographic writing, and her personal adventure as anthropologist and instructor to create an insightful and particularly precious set of suggestions, assistance, and routines for somebody 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 uncommon for a publication 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 along with her inquiry into Chekhov's artistry and with the writing workouts she offers. based of their simplicity and sensibleness, the workouts invite readers to scan, they usually support translate theoretical options into issues 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 present for anthropologists. Narayan bargains types of and types for ethnographic writing that would encourage us. i'm desirous to educate the booklet, yet simply as wanting 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 pride to learn. It walks its speak. it really is wealthy in workouts to boost an ethnographic writer's skills and extraordinary in its tales of Chekhov as ethnographer. Narayan's great guide for writers (and readers) of ethnography in addition to artistic nonfiction could 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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Extra resources for Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov
Years later, in graduate school, I discovered an essay by Milton Singer, the Chicago-based anthropologist of India, that helped me place some of these responses within centuries of Western encounter with India. In his cleverly titled essay “Passage to More Than India,” Singer describes the historical underpinnings of diverse images: the opulent, marvelous India of maharajas, gold, brocades, and spices; the problem-ridden India of poverty, dis- Place 2 9 ease, caste subjugation, and oppressed women; the spiritual India of ancient texts, nonviolent resistance, gurus, meditation, and yoga.
It’s pleasant (quvia) to fish,” they say. ” With different times of year, then, people appreciate and interact with different aspects of the landscape. ▹ Describe a place by enumerating a person’s (or people’s) descriptions of what they most look forward to through the seasons. Sometimes, people’s perceptions may include animate and even deified forces in the environment. India’s rivers, for example, are mostly seen by Hindus as goddesses to be propitiated, however polluted the waters may run.
Listing these smells powerfully drives home the conditions under which 40 two prisoners were forced to live—laboring, unwashed, wearing rags, and with a poor and unvarying diet. ▹ Describe the quality of air in a place. Painful Places In a scolding letter to his older, alcoholic brother, written some years before his trip to Sakhalin Island, Chekhov noted that among the traits of decent people is that “they have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. ” He seemed to be exhorting his brother to take an imaginative leap into the sources of people’s suffering, mentioning among his examples an old couple turning gray and lying awake with worry for an alcoholic son (a perhaps not too oblique reference to their own parents).
Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov by Kirin Narayan