Essays Stories Gorky

Essays Stories Gorky-63
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian.

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From the age of 10 Gorky was virtually on his own, and he worked at a great variety of occupations, among them shopkeeper's errand boy, dishwasher on a Volga steamer, and apprentice to an icon maker.

At a very tender age he saw a great deal of the brutal, seamy side of life and stored up impressions and details for the earthy and starkly realistic stories, novels, plays, and memoirs which he later wrote.

Maxim Gorky, whose real name was Aleksei Maximovich Peshkov, was born on March 16, 1868, in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod, which in 1932 was renamed Gorky in his honor.

His father, a cabinetmaker, died when Gorky was 4 years old, and the boy was raised in harsh circumstances by his maternal grandparents, the proprietors of a dye works.

Gorky portrayed the bitterness of the oppressed and exploited people of Russia and demonstrated a proud defiance against organized, respectable society.

He often found strong elements of humanity and individual dignity in even the most brutalized and demoralized of these "down-and-outers." His sympathy for the underdog made him known as a powerful spokesman for the illiterate masses--their sufferings and their dreams of a better life.

After his father, a paperhanger and upholsterer, died of cholera, five-year-old Gorky was taken to live with his grandfather, a polecat-faced tyrant who would regularly beat him unconscious, and with his grandmother, a tender mountain of a woman and a wonderful storyteller, who would kneel beside their bed (with Gorky inside it pretending to be asleep) and give God her views on the day's happenings, down to the last fascinating details.

She was, in fact, Gorky's closest friend and the epic heroine of a book swarming with characters and with the sensations of a curious and often frightened little boy.

Foma Gordeyev (1899) established Gorky as a major novelist.

It is the story of a well-intentioned but weak man who feels disgust, boredom, and guilt as the inheritor of a profitable family business.


Comments Essays Stories Gorky

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