On the Internet, one often comes across, in different versions, Chekhov's statement that a person who does not answer a letter is like a person who rejects a hand extended to him for a handshake.

Maybe someone has read all of Chekhov's letters and can suggest the source of the statement. Or is this statement a fabrication?

  • Can you point to an example of one of the Internet quotations? May 16, 2023 at 9:55
  • 1
    @ClaraDiazSanchez I've seen similar quotes in Russian: "Не ответить на письмо — это все равно что не подать руки, когда вам протягивают руку". Translated into English, it will sound like this: "Not answering a letter is like not shaking hands when someone extends their hand to you."
    – ollazarev
    May 17, 2023 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Mentioned in Korney Chukovsky's diary entry for Jan. 23, 1910:

Вас. Ив. Немирович-Данченко был у меня сегодня и рассказывал между прочим про Чехова; он встретился с Чеховым в Ницце: Чехов отвечал на все письма, какие только он получал.

– Почему? – спросил Василий Иванович.
– А видите ли, был у нас учитель в Таганроге, которого я очень любил, и однажды я протянул ему руку, а он (не заметил) и не ответил на рукопожатье. И мне так больно было.

Vas. Iv. Nemirovich-Danchenko visited me today and told me, among other things, about Chekhov; he met Chekhov in Nice: Chekhov answered all the letters he received.

– Why? Vasily Ivanovich asked.

– But you see, we had a teacher in Taganrog, whom I loved very much, and one day I extended my hand to him, and he didn't notice and didn't respond to the handshake. And it hurt so much.

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