Maxim Gorky is a prose writer, publicist and playwright, one of the most popular writers in Russia of his time, an active participant in the process of reorganizing the cultural life of the USSR in the first post-revolutionary decades. His work, determined by the interaction of the traditions of realism, the elements of neo-romanticism and the Marxist worldview, was erected by Soviet ideologists as a model of socialist realism. At the same time, Gorky himself was “crowned” for the role of an ancestor of Soviet literature.
Life of Maxim Gorky in dates and facts
March 28, 1868 – was born in Nizhny Novgorod in the family carpenter. In three years the future writer lost his father, in ten years he remained without a mother; his childhood passed in the house of an autocratic grandfather. Having studied for only two years, he had to go to “people” because of a heavy need, that is, to earn a living as an apprentice or apprentice, mastering the most simple and low-paid professions. However, through chaotic self-education and thanks to a phenomenal memory, Gorky acquired wide knowledge in various fields.
In 1884, in the hope of entering the university, he arrived in Kazan, where, without becoming a student, he continued self-education mainly in populist and Marxist circles.
The end of 1880 – the beginning of the 1890’s. – spent in wandering around tsarist Russia, among other places visiting Ukraine, the Crimea, the Caucasus. Then the writer began to speak in print with his stories.
Since 1889, several times he was arrested for revolutionary propaganda among the workers.
1892 – in the Tiflis newspaper “Kavkaz” he published the story “Makar Chudra”, signing him with the pseudonym “Maxim Gorky”. Then came a series of his neo-romantic and realistic works, which drew the public’s attention to the talented “writer of the people.”
1898 – a two-volume collection of Essays and Stories was published, which brought the author all-Russian fame. Soon his name became famous in Western Europe.
1899 – Gorky visited St. Petersburg and Moscow, where he met with prominent representatives of the creative intelligentsia and became close to the revolutionary circles. In the coming years, he actively helped with money received from the successful sale of publications, fighters against the autocratic regime, in particular, hiring lawyers for arrested participants of protest actions and investing considerable amounts in the publication of the Lenin newspaper Vperyod.
1901 – while under arrest in the Nizhny Novgorod prison, wrote “The Song of the Stormy Petrel”, which spread rapidly across the country and was perceived as a poetic call for revolution.
1902 – the play “At the bottom” was written. In the same year Gorky was elected an honorary academician in the category of elegant literature, but under the pressure of Tsar Nicholas II this decision was annulled. As a sign of protest, the writers AP Chekhov and VG Korolenko renounced the title of honorary academician awarded to them.
January 9, 1905 – participated in a peaceful demonstration of workers, which was cruelly shot and caused the rise of... the revolutionary movement in Russia. After the massacre of the demonstrators, the writer published a message calling on “all Russian citizens to an immediate, stubborn struggle against the autocracy”, joined the Social-Democratic Party and joined the supply of weapons to workers who were fighting street battles in Moscow. For his revolutionary activities, he was accused of a state crime and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul prison.
1906 – visited the United States in order to raise funds for the underground struggle of the Bolsheviks. During this trip, Gorky wrote a propaganda novel “Mother”, later recognized as the first work of socialist realism, and the play “Enemies”, banned for staging on the Russian stage because of the protest in her against the existing system. Fearing arrest in Russia, Gorky, after traveling to America, settled in Italy, on the island of Capri. There he created a series of “Tales of Italy”, and also started the series of stories “Russian Tales” and “In Russia.”
1913 – after falling under the amnesty in connection with the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs’ house, the writer returned to Russia. In the same year, he began work on the story “Childhood”, which laid the foundation for an autobiographical trilogy, which also included the novels “In People” and “My Universities”.
1917 – despite many years of participation in the Social-Democratic movement, sharply negatively perceived the very socialist revolution and the events that followed, which prompted him to actually interrupt membership in the party. Critical reflections on the bloody drama that swept the country after the Bolshevik coup, Gorky shared in the publicistic articles that compiled the cycle “Untimely thoughts.” These articles, like the friction in personal relations with Lenin, intensified the writer’s political differences with the new power. Nevertheless, in the post-revolutionary years Gorky devoted a great deal of effort to improving the cultural life of the country and helping writers who were threatened with physical violence or starvation. Among his merits belongs, in particular, the organization of the publishing house “World Literature”,
1921 – not seeing for themselves the opportunity to continue living and working in Russia, went to emigration. Gorky spent the first years of voluntary emigration at the resorts of Germany and Czechoslovakia, then again settled in Italy, in Sorrento. Here they created the novel “The Artamonovs’ Case”, and also wrote a significant part of the novel-epic “The Life of Klim Samgin.”
1931 – returned to his homeland in the status of the leading writer of Soviet literature and launched a wide public activity: Gorky was the founder of new journals and book series, the founder of the Literary Institute in Moscow, engaged in the professional preparation of future writers, one of the founders of the Writers’ Union, headed in 1934. In his journalistic articles and essays fully solidarizes with the “official” ideological point of view on the processes of building a “new society” in the country, supporting the poly tic of Stalin.
June 18, 1936 – died under mysterious circumstances on the eve of mass repression.