Maxim Gorky

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Aleksey Maximovich Peshkov (Russian: Алексе́й Макси́мович Пешков[1]; 28 March [O.S. 16 March] 1868 – 18 June 1936), better known as Maxim Gorky (Russian: Макси́м Го́рький, IPA: [mɐˈksʲim ˈɡorʲkʲɪj]), was a Russian/Soviet author, a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist.[2]

From 1906 to 1913 and from 1921 to 1929 he lived abroad, mostly in Capri, Italy; after his return to the Soviet Union he accepted the cultural policies of the time.



Gorky was born in Nizhny Novgorod and became an orphan at the age of ten. In 1880, at the age of twelve, he ran away from home in an effort to find his grandmother. Gorky was brought up by his grandmother, an excellent storyteller.[2] Her death deeply affected him, and after an attempt at suicide in December 1887, he travelled on foot across the Russian Empire for five years, changing jobs and accumulating impressions used later in his writing.[2]

As a journalist working in provincial newspapers, he wrote under the pseudonym Иегудиил Хламида (Jehudiel Khlamida— suggestive of "cloak-and-dagger" by the similarity to the Greek chlamys, "cloak").[3] He began using the pseudonym Gorky (literally "bitter") in 1892, while working in Tiflis newspaper Кавказ (The Caucasus).[4] The name reflected his simmering anger about life in Russia and a determination to speak the bitter truth. Gorky's first book Очерки и рассказы (Essays and Stories) in 1898 enjoyed a sensational success and his career as a writer began. Gorky wrote incessantly, viewing literature less as an aesthetic practice (though he worked hard on style and form) than as a moral and political act that could change the world. He described the lives of people in the lowest strata and on the margins of society, revealing their hardships, humiliations, and brutalization, but also their inward spark of humanity.[2]

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