Essay by Corinne Bancroft '10 and Peter Rabinowitz Published
December 16, 2010
“A Slice of Watermelon: The Rhetoric of Digression in Chekhov’s ‘The Lady with the Dog,’” by Corinne Bancroft ’10 and Professor of Comparative Literature Peter J. Rabinowitz, has been published in Digressions in European Literature: From Cervantes to Sebald, edited by Alexis Gromann and Caragh Wells and published by Palgrave/Macmillan.
Writing on digression in Chekhov’s fiction was, in a sense, going against the grain; while Chekhov’s plays are known for their digressive quality, his short stories are routinely praised for their directness. But in taking up the challenge, Bancroft and Rabinowitz not only offered interpretive insights into “The Lady with the Dog,” but also contributed to the identification and understanding of an undertheorized rhetorical device which—taking their inspiration from astronomy, in particular the 19th-century discovery of Neptune—they called “perturbative digression.”