Maxim Gorky (28 March, 1868 – 18 June, 1936) was a Russian author and journalist who is known as the first novelist to express the views of the Russian worker as well as being the a founder of the Socialist realism literary method and a political activist
This is my second post about Gorky, a fascinating man.
- Born Alexei Maximovich Peshkov in Nizhny Novgorod, the writer became an orphan at the age of 11 and ran away from home at the age of 12.
- He traveled for five years throughout the Russian empire, on foot, after an attempted suicide in 1887, when he was 19 years old. As he traveled he worked in various jobs, which later influenced his writing.
- He began using the name “Gorky” in 1892. The name means “bitter” and the writer was determined to speak the bitter truth.
- The teachings of the important Jewish religious leader Hillel the Elder deeply influenced Gorky: “In my early youth I read…the words of…Hillel, if I remember rightly: ‘If thou art not for thyself, who will be for thee? But if thou art for thyself alone, wherefore art thou’?”
- Gorky publicly opposed the Tsarist regime and was arrested many times. He made many friends in the opposition including Lenin.
- When Gorky was elected as an honorary Academician of Literature, Tsar Nicholas II ordered the election annulled.
- In 1906 Gorky went on a fund raising trip, on behalf of the Bolsheviks, to the United States. During the trip he wrote his novel The Mother when visiting the Adirondack Mountains. Gorky also created a scandal because he was traveling with actress Maria Andreyeva, his lover, instead of his wife. Despite feeling contempt for the bourgeois soul, Gorky came to admire the American spirit.
- Gorky was exiled twice to Italy.
- Stalin himself invited Gorky to come back to Russia in 1932. The famous author’s return from Fascist Italy was a major propaganda victory.
- A book about the White Sea-Baltic Canal, edited by Gorky in 1933, was brought up as an example of “successful rehabilitation of the former enemies of proletariat”.
Zohar – Man of la Book