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In 1882, a twenty-two-year-old Anton Chekhov and his brother chose a dozen of Chekhov’s short stories and arranged them for publication. Collected under the title A Prank, these stories were to include illustrations by Chekhov’s brother, but the book was blocked by the censors and never published. The twelve stories in A Prank, exhibiting a wide range of genres and moods, are the very best of young Chekhov: his sense of style and language; his characteristic humor; his powers of observation; his wild inventiveness; his openness to experimentation; his empathy without sentimentality. They represent what Chekhov himself considered his most accomplished of the many stories (more than fifty) he wrote from 1880 to 1882, when he began publishing and quickly established himself as a rising literary star.