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Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860 - 15 July 1904) was a Russian physician, playwright and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress." Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater.