Maxim Gorky is the literary name of the famous writer Alexei Maksimovich Peshkov. He was born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1868. In origin Gorky by no means belonged to those scum of society, the singer of which he appeared in literature. The apologist of the Bosnia came out of a completely bourgeois environment. His father, who had died before his death, was beaten into the managers of a large steamboat office; grandfather on the part of the mother, Kashirin, was a rich dyer.
At the age of seven, Gorky remained an orphan, and his grandfather began to be ruined, and for the abandoned, almost unknowing boy, the epic wanderings and hardships ensued, which prompted him to choose such a symbolic pseudonym. The first story of the future singer of the revolution, the falcon and the petrel of the rebellious years of the struggle with the tsarist regime, strongly gave romanticism and poorly digested Nietzscheanism. Gorky’s contemporary A. Bogdanovich wrote: “From the majority of Gorky’s
essays, the steppes and seas breathe this free breath, there is a cheerful mood, something independent and proud, than they differ sharply from the essays of other authors concerning the same world of poverty and rejection” .
A special group is the theatrical plays of Gorky. Dramatic talent in the immediate sense – the ability to tie a dramatic knot, and then untie it, concentrate the viewer’s attention on one point and generally give something integral – Gorky does not. He gives a series of individual paintings, individual characteristics and brilliant, cutting into the memory of aphorisms and bright words. In the literary and artistic hierarchy of the plays of the first period of Gorky’s activity, the “Summer Residents” and “Children of the Sun” are rather weak. In content, all this is an extremely brutal attack on the intelligentsia for lack of depth and sincerity and, at best, for baselessness.
Serious literary interest is presented only by Gorky’s first play, “Mieshes”, and, undoubtedly, a major place in the Russian drama
is “At the bottom.” Interestingly, the “burghers” developed the disintegration of the old philistine-merchant life and the tragedy of discord between the old and young generations. The author welcomes the appearance in the arena of life of a healthy working intelligentsia that believes in its strength and ability to organize its life according to its own ideal. Representatives of this tree are not deprived, however, of a certain dose of complacency and thus fall into the philistine class of a new generation.
Gorky’s play “At the bottom” is closely connected with the types of “former people”, brilliantly developed in a beautiful story, and entitled: “Former people.” In front of us again is a doss house, again imaginary tramps, vividly and figuratively philosophizing about the meaning of life. The heroes of the play are mostly people who can not be ranked as a sentimental breed of “humiliated and insulted”. They do not crave compassion at all, they are the principal enemies of the existing order; work is despised, it is not believed in its goodness. But in addition to the will, the whole being is permeated by longing for something positive, at least in the form of some beautiful ghost.
The central figure of the play is a kind of righteous man, a wanderer of Luke, who creates a whole harmonious theory of exalting deception. In the person of Luke, individualism is brought to its extreme: “Everything exists insofar as I am involved here.” Is there a God? “If you believe, there is, you do not believe in it, no, in what you believe, it is.” Is truth necessary even in the sense of simple certainty? If she destroys a pleasant illusion – be she damned. Prostitute Natasha, reading the tabloid novels, with a passion tells her companions in the doss house that she was once in love with a student of “Gastosh”, who from hopeless love for her shot himself. But Luke loves him, but Luke says to her kindly: “I believe you, your truth, not theirs.” If you believe, you had real love, it means she was! “There,” The dying wife of a shoemaker, that heaven awaits her and that “death is like a mother to small children.” Spivshiysya Actor lives a dream of a wonderful sanatorium with marble floors. And this concentration of the whole world in the consciousness of the individual gets its central expression in the famous cynical Satin’s famous saying: “Man – this sounds proudly!”
A vivid consciousness of personality is the keynote that passes through Gorky’s entire literary activity. But it is equally important for the characterization of the writer and the fact that the consciousness of the individual is intimately connected in it with the desire for an ideal. Through the words of the Actor from the “Bottom,” he eagerly repeats: “Glory to the madman, which cast a golden dream to mankind.” And in general, the best part of his literary activity Gorky enters the history of culture as a man who sings a mighty song to the “madness of the brave.”
Gorky closely joined the party work of the Russian Social Democracy, taking an active part in almost all the undertakings of the party. It would be very careless to attribute the writer’s famous fame to the immediate properties of his talent. In our time of intensified communication, even between the remotest points of the globe, every phenomenon that, for one reason or another, managed to attract attention, acquires fame, which could not have been talked about before. To every light source is placed a huge reflector, to each source of sound – a giant shout. Undoubtedly, the element of fashion, multiplied by the increasing power of the new inter-regional and international exchange, played a leading role in the successes that Gorky achieved. Nevertheless, the most success is deserved by him quite legitimately. It is due primarily to the fact that Gorky had a bright, truly artistic talent that the most evil haters of the writer are hesitant to deny. The main properties of his talent: remarkable observation and coloring, infecting the reader with the freshness of perception, the high development of the sense of nature, the primordial accuracy of the aphorism.