Famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky – a realist, who became an idealist?

Meeting with Underprivileged People

Gorky lost his parents early. He was brought up by his grandmother. At a young age a failed admission to the University, a broken heart and poverty – in 1887 Gorky tried to commit suicide.

Gorky survived and soon he went to wander around Russia. Which did “on foot and without money” mean at the time? This meant getting acquainted with the lowest layers of society in Russia. This meeting, as well as a difficult childhood will always remain crucial in the world perception of Gorky.

Formulating a Problem

1900 Yasnaya Polyana Gorky Tolstoy.jpg

M. Gorky and L. Tolstoy / Yasnaya Polyana (1900) / Photo by S. Tolstaya

During and after his travels Gorky wrote works that depict harsh realities of disadvantaged people.

Over the decade, Maxim Gorky created such works as “MakarChudra”, “Chelkash”, “StarukhaIzergyl”, “Former people”, “Spouses Orlov”, “Malva”, “Konovalov,” “FomaGordeev,” “Song of the Falcon,” “Three”, “Song of the Stormy Petrel “, as a harbinger of the revolution:

“- Storm! Soon storm will break! “

In 1901, Maxim Gorky wrote his play “Philistines”. The most famous play of the period is “The Lower Depths”, describing the inhabitants of a doss-house. The play withstood several thousand performances; it was staged in many theaters of Russia (the first direction – K. Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko – 1902), Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the USA and many other countries.

Solution Found

Starting in 1902 Gorky found a way out for the tragedy of the oppressed classes in Russia in revolution, and he began cooperating with the Marxists, and financed their activities from his literary royalties. Still, Gorky was part of the school of thought that sought common ground between Christianity and Marxism.

Something interesting happened – a young, 33-year-old writer was elected an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, but his membership was immediately canceled by the Russian Government for Gorky relations with Marxists.

In 1905, Gorky was already an active member of the First Russian Revolution.

International Recognition

After the revolution, Gorky left for a trip to Scandinavia and the USA. And everywherehis performance was a triumph. But suddenly the American friends find that a woman traveling with Gorky is not his wife. An explosion of puritanical ostracism was not understood by Gorky-revolutionary, which got reflected in his collection of stories “The City of the Yellow Devil.”

Almost until the beginning of World War I Gorky lived on Capri in Italy, where he was extremely popular for his active participation in the rescue work after the terrible earthquake of Messina. By the way, the crews of ships of the Baltic Fleet of Russia that participated in educational training and where stationed in a port close to Messina, were the first to arrive to help the unfortunate inhabitants of Messina.

Gorky managed to accomplish a lot for literature, but not enough. He was yet to create his autobiographical works and save the culture.

To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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