The great proletarian writer Maxim Gorky

The great proletarian writer Maxim Gorky
The great proletarian writer Maxim Gorky

- Storm! The storm is coming soon!

It is the brave Petrel soaring proudly between the lightning over the angry roaring sea; then the prophet of victory shouts:

- Let the storm break out stronger!

M. Gorky. Song of the Petrel.

On June 18, 1938, 80 years ago, the great writer Maxim Gorky passed away. The great Russian and then Soviet writer Maxim Gorky really had a very difficult and difficult fate.

Maxim Gorky (real name - Alexey Maksimovich Peshkov) was born (16) on March 28, 1868 in Nizhny Novgorod in the family of Maksim Savvatievich Peshkov with Varvara Vasilievna Kashirina. According to the official biography, his father was a cabinet-maker (according to another version, the manager of the Astrakhan office of the shipping company I. S. The marriage did not last long, and soon the father died of cholera. Alexey Peshkov fell ill with cholera at the age of 3, his father managed to get out of him, but at the same time he became infected and did not survive. The boy hardly remembered his father, but the stories of his relatives about him left a deep mark - even the pseudonym "Maxim Gorky", according to old Nizhny Novgorod residents, was taken in memory of his father. Mother did not want to return to her father and remarried, but soon died of consumption. Thus, at an early age, little Alexei became an orphan and was raised by his grandfather and grandmother.

Maxim's grandmother - Akulina Ivanovna replaced the boy's parents. Alexei spent his childhood in the house of his grandfather Kashirin in Nizhny Novgorod. Vasily Vasilyevich went bankrupt by the end of his life, but taught his grandson. For the most part, Alexei read church books and got acquainted with the biographies of the saints. Already at the age of eleven, he became acquainted with the cruel realities of working life, since he was completely alone. Alexei worked as an assistant on a steamer, in a shop, as a baker, learned to paint icons, etc. Gorky never received a complete education, although he studied at a local vocational school. Already during this period, Aleksey Maksimovich became interested in literature, and wrote his first works.

From 1878 his life began "in people". He lived in a slum, among tramps; while wandering, he was interrupted by the day-to-day. In 1884, Gorky entered the university in Kazan, but he was not enrolled. However, at the age of sixteen, Maxim turned out to be a rather strong personality. He stayed in Kazan and started working. Here he first became acquainted with Marxism. The life and work of Maxim Gorky, subsequently, were permeated with the ideas of Marx and Engels, he surrounded the image of the proletarian and the revolution with an aura of romance. The young writer zealously joined in propaganda and already in 1888 was arrested for his connection with the revolutionary underground. The young writer was under strict police surveillance. While working at a railway station, he wrote several short stories as well as poetry. Gorky was able to avoid imprisonment by traveling around the country. Don, Ukraine, Bessarabia, Crimea, then the North Caucasus and, finally, Tiflis - this is the travel route of the writer. He worked hard and conducted propaganda among his colleagues, as well as peasants. These years of Maxim Gorky's life were marked by the first works "Makar Chudra" and "Girl and Death".

In 1892, Aleksey Maksimovich, after long wanderings, returned to Nizhny Novgorod. “Makar Chudra” is published in a local newspaper, after which a number of his feuilletons and reviews are published. His original pseudonym was the strange name Yehudiel Chlamis. Maxim Gorky himself recalled him more than once in his biography and interviews. His Essays and Stories soon turned an almost unknown provincial writer into a popular revolutionary author. The authorities' attention to the person of Alexei Maksimovich has grown significantly. During this period, the works "The Old Woman Izergil" and "Chelkash" - 1895, "Malva", "The Orlov's Spouses" and others - 1897 saw the light, and in 1898 a collection of his works was published.

This period will be the heyday of his talent. In 1899, the famous "Song of the Falcon" and "Thomas Gordeev" appeared. In 1901, The Song of the Petrel was published. After the publication of "Song of the Petrel": "Storm! The storm is coming soon! It is the brave Petrel soaring proudly between the lightning over the angry roaring sea; then the prophet of victory shouts: - Let the storm break out stronger!..”. He also wrote a proclamation calling for a fight against autocracy. After that, the writer was exiled from Nizhny Novgorod to Arzamas.

Since 1901, he turned to drama. During this period, Maxim Gorky is characterized as an active revolutionary, a supporter of Marxism. His speech after the bloody events of January 9, 1905 was the reason for his arrest and imprisonment in the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Gorky was at the peak of his popularity at that time. Famous artists, including representatives of the creative and scientific world from Germany, France, England and Italy, spoke in his defense. And he was released. Gorky took a direct part in the revolutionary struggle of 1905. In November 1905 he joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In connection with the threat of reprisals, he was forced to leave for America. For the first time abroad, the writer did not stay long.

It must be said that Gorky, like other prominent creative figures, had not only an active social life, but also a stormy personal life. He was married to Yekaterina Volozhina, he had concubines and mistresses, as well as many relatives and adopted children. So, Gorky left the family, and the famous Moscow actress Maria Andreeva became his common-law wife.

In emigration, the writer writes various satirical pamphlets about the "bourgeois" culture of France and the United States ("My Interviews", "In America"). Returning to Russia in the fall, writes the play "Enemies", creates the novel "Mother". Having barely returned to his homeland, Alexei Maksimovich again travels abroad. By the 1910s, the name of Gorky became one of the most popular in the Russian Empire, and then in Europe, his work caused a huge critical literature: for 1900-1904. 91 books about Gorky were published; from 1896 to 1904, the critical literature about him amounted to more than 1860 titles. The performances of his plays on the stage of the Moscow Art Theater were an exceptional success and were accompanied by anti-government performances by the public.

The great proletarian writer Maxim Gorky
The great proletarian writer Maxim Gorky

Until 1913, he lives in Italy due to health problems. The mother's illness was passed on to her son, he suffered from consumption. Gorky returned to his homeland, taking advantage of the amnesty. From the first days of the First World War, he took an anti-militarist, internationalist position. Maxim Gorky greeted the February revolution of 1917 with enthusiasm, seeing in it the victory of democracy, of the rebellious people. His apartment in Petrograd in February-March 1917 resembled a "headquarters" where various political and public figures, writers, writers, artists, actors, workers gathered. Gorky initiated a number of social and cultural undertakings, paid great attention to the protection of cultural monuments and, in general, showed great activity. He wrote a number of articles, indignant at the massive export of art treasures from Russia for the "American millions", protested against the robbery of the country.

For society to fulfill the task of spiritual revival and moral cleansing of the country, Maxim Gorky believed, it was necessary first of all to unite "the intellectual forces of the old experienced intelligentsia with the forces of the young workers 'and peasants' intelligentsia." And for this it is necessary to "rise above politics" and direct all efforts to "immediate intense cultural work", involving the workers and peasants in it. Culture, he believed, must be instilled in a people who have been brought up in slavery for centuries, to give the proletariat, the broad masses systematic knowledge, a clear understanding of their world-historical mission, their rights and responsibilities, and teach democracy. One of the most important scientific and educational undertakings of Gorky these days was the creation of the "Free Association for the Development and Distribution of Positive Sciences."

According to the great writer, “there is no future without democracy”, “a strong person is a reasonable person”, and therefore it is necessary to “arm yourself with accurate knowledge”, “instill respect for reason, develop love for it, feel its universal power”. Gorky noted: “The source of our misfortunes is our illiteracy. To live well, you need to work well, to stand firmly on your feet, you need to work hard, learn to love work."

Gorky's literary and social work was most active at that time in the newspaper Novaya Zhizn, which he founded. It was published in Petrograd since April 18 under the editorship of Gorky, its co-editors were V. A. Bazarov, V. A. Desnitsky, N. N. Sukhanov, A. N. Tikhonov. The newspaper actively opposed the continuation of Russia in the imperialist war (World War I), for the unification of all revolutionary and democratic forces to retain the social and political gains of the February Revolution, the development of culture, education, science, in order to follow the path of further implementation of socialist transformations in Russia under the leadership of Social Democratic Party. In addition to the new cycle of "Russian Fairy Tales", stories, essays, Maxim Gorky published over 80 articles in the newspaper (58 of them in the "Untimely Thoughts" series). Journalism in Novaya Zhizn made up two complementary books of the writer - Revolution and Culture. Articles for 1917 " and “Untimely Thoughts. Notes on the Revolution and Culture”.

At this stage of his life, the first contradictions arose with the views of Lenin, with whom he was personally acquainted. Thus, Gorky condemned the "senseless massacre", exposed the desire of the Provisional Government to bring the war to a victorious end (in response, representatives of the bourgeois camp accused Gorky of "espionage, treason"). On the other hand, Gorky opposed the July 4 uprising, which began under the influence of socialist propaganda. Defending the social gains of the February Revolution, opposing reaction, conservative forces, bourgeois parties and the policies of the Provisional Government, Gorky's newspaper very soon entered into polemics with the Bolsheviks, who put on the agenda the issue of an armed uprising and the implementation of a socialist revolution. Gorky was convinced that Russia was not yet ready for socialist transformations, that the uprising would be drowned in a sea of blood, and the cause of revolution would be thrown back decades. He believed that before carrying out a socialist revolution, the people should "work hard in order to acquire the consciousness of their personality, their human dignity," that first they "must be calcined and cleansed from the slavery nurtured in them by the slow fire of culture." In his opinion, "the most terrible enemy of freedom and law is within us", "our cruelty and all that chaos of dark, anarchic feelings that have been brought up in our soul by the shameless oppression of the monarchy, its cynical cruelty." And with the victory of the revolution, the "process of intellectual enrichment of the country" only begins. Russia was not yet ready for social revolution. Culture, science, art were, according to Gorky, just the force that "will allow us to overcome the abominations of life and tirelessly, stubbornly strive for justice, the beauty of life, for freedom."

Therefore, the writer greeted the October Revolution coolly. A week before October, in the article "You Can't Be Silent!" he calls on the Bolsheviks to abandon their "action", fearing that "this time the events will take on an even bloodier and more pogromous character and will inflict an even heavier blow on the revolution." After October, Novaya Zhizn, headed by Gorky, continued to occupy opposition positions and became an opponent of the new government. The newspaper criticized the "costs" of the revolution, its "shadow sides", forms and methods of social transformations in the country - the cultivation of class hatred, terror, violence, "zoological anarchism" of the dark masses. At the same time, Gorky defends the lofty humanistic ideals of socialism, the ideas of democracy, universal human values, the rights and freedom of the individual, forgotten in the whirlwind of the revolution. He accuses the leaders of the Bolsheviks, Lenin and his "henchmen" of destroying freedom of the press, "adventurism", "dogmatism" and "nechaevism", "despotism", etc.

It is clear that such a position of Gorky is a sharp criticism of the authorities. Arguing with him, the Bolshevik party and official press wrote that the writer had changed from a “petrel” into a “loon,” “who cannot afford the happiness of battle,” that he appeared as a “whimpering man in the street,” that “he had lost his conscience,” that “he changed the revolution,”etc. On July 16, 1918, with Lenin's consent, the newspaper was closed (before that the publication was temporarily stopped several times).

Gorky took this criticism sharply and hard. For Gorky, socialism was not a utopia. He continued to believe in his ideas, he wrote about the "heavy pains of childbirth" of the new world, "new Russia", noting that, despite all the mistakes and crimes, "the revolution, nevertheless, has grown to its victory", and expressed confidence that the revolutionary whirlwind, which shook "to the very depths of Russia", "will heal us, make us healthier", will revive "to construction and creativity." Gorky also pays tribute to the Bolsheviks: "The best of them are excellent people, whom Russian history will be proud of in time …"; "… psychologically, the Bolsheviks have already rendered a service to the Russian people, having moved their entire mass from the dead center and aroused in the whole mass an active attitude towards reality, an attitude without which our country would perish."

Despite his special view of the revolution, Gorky continued his creative activity and presented the young Soviet state with many more patriotic works. After the attempt on Lenin's life, Gorky again became close to him and the Bolsheviks. Subsequently, Gorky, assessing his positions of 1917-1918, recognized them as erroneous, explaining this by the fact that he underestimated the organizational role of the Bolshevik party and the creative forces of the proletariat in the revolution. Gorky became one of the organizers of the literary and public. and publishing undertakings: publishing houses "World Literature", "House of Writers", "House of Arts", etc. As before, he called for the unification of the old and new intelligentsia, advocated its defense against unjustified persecution by the authorities. In December 1918 he was elected to the Petrograd Soviet, re-elected in June 1920. The writer worked in the Petrograd Commission for the Improvement of the Life of Scientists, founded on his initiative, and became its chairman. He opposed the military intervention of the Western powers, called on the advanced forces of the world to defend the revolution and help the starving.

In 1921, on Lenin's urgent recommendation, Gorky left for Italy. The public was told that he was forced to undergo medical treatment abroad. In 1928-1929 he came to the Union, and in 1931 he finally returned to Moscow and in the last years of his life received official recognition as the founder of socialist realism. In 1932, the writer's hometown, Nizhny Novgorod, was renamed Gorky on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his literary activity (the city was called Gorky until 1990).

Maxim Gorky in the last years of his life wrote his novel, and remained unfinished - "The Life of Klim Samgin."On June 18, 1936, he dies unexpectedly under strange circumstances. He was buried in the Red Square of Moscow near the Kremlin wall.

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