Today we celebrate the 156th anniversary of the birth of the great Soviet writer Maxim Gorky

Published on March 28, 2024 by Il Grido del Popolo©️

Maxim Gorky is one of the giants of 20th century Russian literature and theater, known for his realistic depictions of how terrible it is to be poor and oppressed. Gorky himself grew up in rough times and was a lifelong spokesperson for the underclass. His political activism led to several years of exile, in spite of his popularity with Russian readers. By 1900 Gorky was a famous literary figure, thanks in part to help from Anton Chekhov. His short stories and his first novel, Foma Gordeyev (1902) gave him notoriety as well as critical success, but his outspoken opposition to the rule of Nicholas II led to his exile to the island of Capri (1907-13). After the 1917 revolution Gorky’s criticism of his friend V. I. Lenin and the Bolsheviks led to another period of what seems to be self-imposed exile, this time mostly in Italy (1921-1931). He continued to write, including plays such as The Counterfeit Coin (1926) and Yegor Bulychov (1931), and the novel The Artamov Business (1925). When Gorky returned to Russia he was greeted as a great Soviet hero and awarded just about every national honor there was.

“What ‘jazz’ means to me is the worst kind of working conditions, the worst in cultural prejudice. The term ‘jazz’ has come to mean the abuse and exploitation of black musicians.”

– Maxim Gorky