The Wood Demon (play)

The Wood Demon
Written by Anton Chekhov
Date premiered 1889
Original language Russian

The Wood Demon (Russian: Леший, tr. Goblin, 1889) is a comedic play in four acts written by Russian author Anton Chekhov. The play was written in 1888 and debuted in December 27, 1889 at the Abramov Theater.

The play was first refused by the Alexandrinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg and the Maly Theatre of Moscow.

Eight years after this play failed, Chekhov returned to the work. He reduced the cast list by half, changed the climatic suicide into an anti-climax of a failed homicide, and published the reworked play, much more successfully, under the title Uncle Vanya.



A dominant theme in The Wood Demon is that destruction of the environment and of people's lives are closely linked together.[1]


The play was initially a collaboration between Chekhov and Alexey Suvorin. As such, it is full of biographical material collected during their time spent together in the summer of 1888.[2] The play is linked with stories already written or in the process of being written, that stemmed from Chekhov's journey in 1887 to Kharkov and Taganrog.


The failure of The Wood Demon was one of the motivations for Chekhov's journey through Siberia and why he abstained from writing a play for the next seven years.[1]


  1. 1 2 Rayfield, Donald. Understanding Chekhov: A Critical Study Of Chekhov's Prose And Drama. 1st edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Allain, P., Gotlied, V. The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. 1st edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.
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