Classic Word Spaces (3): Maxim Gorky
One of the writers’ houses/flats that I visited in Russia was that of Maxim Gorky, born Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (b. 1868), who would later become a significant influence upon Soviet Russian literature and socialist realism. I had not read any of Gorky’s writing before visiting his house; however, I had become familiar with his name in the other books I had read before the trip. I recall reading, for example, that Gorky had intervened on Yevgeny Zamyatin’s behalf, convincing Stalin to allow Zamyatin to leave Russia after the publication of We, which saved his life. Ronald Wilks, the translator of my edition of Gorky’s book My Childhood, writes in the introduction: “As a close friend of Stalin, he had immense influence on the progress of literature and arts in Soviet Russia and there is no doubt that he was the driving force behind the creation of a modern Soviet literature.” Gorky’s house, then, to me, was an important landmark, and I’m thankful that my wife’s family tolerated my insisting we visit the place.
June 19th, 2009 / 9:51 pm