Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860 - 1904) was a Russian playwright and short story writer who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. The son of a grocer, he was born into a large family in Taganrog, Russia. As he studied in medical school, he supported the family by writing hundreds of stories under a pen name for local magazines. In his twenties, he shifted his focus to drama, writing plays that would signal the birth of modernism in theater: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard. Alongside his work as a doctor, he continued to write extraordinary short stories—nearly one thousand in all—until his death from tuberculosis at the age of 44.