Anton Chekhov's travels … the ‘greatest work of journalism of the 19th century’

Passport details Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, playwright, one of the greatest short-story writers in history and once-in-a-lifetime adventurer to Russia’s remote far east. Claim to fameDespite being best-known in the west as the author of plays in which members of the Russian gentry sit around waiting for the samovar to boil, Chekhov clearly had an intrepid streak. Distinguishing marksDapper, dandyish, a qualified doctor and proud of his work ethic, Chekhov comes across as charismatic and deeply likable. Although, when you think about the alternatives (domineering Tolstoy, gambling addict Dostoevsky and Gogol, with his messianic theoriesabout Russia), that’s faint praise.