In the Author’s Shoes?

“Not one but a modern, no one perhaps a Russian, would have felt the interest of the stiuation which Checkhov has made into the short story which he calls ‘Gusev”.

Woolf, Virginia. “Modern Fiction.” In The Common Reader, 149. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1925.

In this sentence, Woolf describes the way in which Checkhov’s writing is so specific to the Russian experience, that only a Russian would fully understand it. It brings up the question of whether the reader should place himself in the writers shoes in order to fully understand the purpose of the author’s work?