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Maksim Gorky (1868-1936) - born on March 16 (New Style March 28) 1868 - pseudonym Gorky means "bitter", originally Aleksei Maximovich Peshkov


Russian short story writer, novelist, autobiographer and essayist, whose life was deeply interwoven with the tumultuous revolutionary period of his own country. Gorky ended his long career as the preeminent spokesman for culture under the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin. Gorky formulated the central principles of Socialist Realism, which became doctrine in Soviet literature. The rough, socially conscious naturalism of Gorky was described by Chekhov as "a destroyer bound to destroy everything that deserved destruction."

"The long files of dock labourers carrying on their backs hundreds of tons of grain to fill the iron bellies of the ships in order that they themselves might earn a few pounds of this grain to fill their own stomachs, looked so droll that they brought tears to one's eyes. The contrast between these tattered, perspiring men, benumbed with weariness, turmoil and heat, and the mighty machines glistening in the sun, the machines which these men had made, and which, after all is said and done, were set in motion not by steam, but by the blood and sinew of those who had created them – this contrast constituted an entire poem of cruel irony." (from 'Chelkash', 1895, translated by J. Fineberg)

Aleksei Peshkov (Maksim Gorky, also written Maksim Gor'kii) was born in Nizhnii Novgorod, the son of a journeyman upholster. Later the ancient city was named 'Gorky' in his honour, and in Moscow one of the leading thoroughfares was named Gorky Street. Gorky lost his parents at an early age – his father died of cholera and his mother died of tuberculosis. The scene of his mother, wailing and mourning over her dead husband, opens his book of memoir, My Childhood: "All her clothes were torn. Her hair, which was usually neatly combined into place like a large gray hat, was scattered over her bare shoulders, and hung over her face, and some of it, in the form of a large plait, dangled about, touching Father's sleeping face. For all the time I'd been standing in that room, not once did she so much as look at me, but just went on combing Father's hair, choking with tears and howling continually."

Orphaned at the age of 11, he experienced the deprivations of a poverty. The most important person in Gorky's life in those years was his grandmother, whose fondness for literature and compassion for the downtrodden influenced him deeply. Otherwise his relationships to his family members were strained, even violent. Gorky stabbed his stepfather, who regularly beat him. Gorky received little education but he was endowed with an astonishing memory. He left home at the age of 12, and followed from one profession to another. On a Volga steamer, he learned to read. In 1883 he was a worker in a biscuit factory, then a porter, baker's boy, fruit seller, railway employee, clerk to an advocate, and in 1891 an operative in a salt mill. Later Gorky used later material from his wandering years in his books. In 1884 he failed to enter Kazan University, and in the late 1880s he was arrested for revolutionary activities. At the age of 19 he attempted suicide but survived when the bullet missed his heart.

After travels through Ukraine, the Caucasus, and the Crimea Tiflis (late Tbilisi), Gorky published his first literary work, 'Makar Chudra' (1892), a short story. 'Chelkash,' the story of a harbour thief, gained an immediate success. He started to write for newspapers, and his first book, the 3-volume Sketches and Stories (1898-1899), established his reputation as a writer. Gorky wrote with sympathy and optimism about the gypsies, hobos, and down-and-outs. He also started to analyze more deeply the plight of these people in a broad, social context. In these early stories Gorky skillfully mixed romantic exoticism and realism. Occasionally he glorified the rebels among his outcasts of Russian society. In his early writing career Gorky became friends with Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, and Vladimir Lenin. Encouraged by Chekhov, he composed his most famous play, The Lower Depths (1902), which took much of the material from his stories of outcasts, but did not have any single predominant figure. It was performed at the Moscow Art Theater under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavsky. The Lower Depths enjoyed a huge success, and was soon played in Western Europe and the United States.

Gorky was literary editor of Zhizn from 1899 and editor of Znanie publishing house in St. Petersburg from 1900. Foma Gordeyev (1899), his first novel, dealt with the new merchat class in Russia. The short story Dvadsat' shest' i odna (1899, Twenty-Six Men and a Girl) was about lost illusions, a theme which Gorky explored in a number of subsequent tales. "There were twenty-six of us – twenty-six living machines locked in a damp basement where, from dawn to dusk, we kneaded dough for making into biscuits and pretzels. The window of our basement looked out onto a ditch dug in front of them and lined with brick that was green from damp; the windows were covered outside in fine wire netting and sunlight could not reach us through the flour-covered panes. Our boss had put the wire netting there so we could not give hand-outs of his bread to beggars or those comrades of ours who were without work and starving." (from 'Twenty-Six Men and a Girl', 1899) The joy in the lives of the bakers is the 16-year old Tania, who works in the same building. A handsome ex-soldier, one of the master bakers, boasts of his success with women. He is challenged to seduce Tania. When Tania succumbs, she is mocked by the men, who have lost the only bright spot in the darkness. Tania curses them and walks away, and is never again seen in the basement.

Known as a writer with a mission, Gorky was put under close watch in his hometown. He became involved in a secret printing press and was temporarily exiled to Arzamas, central Russia in 1902. In the same year he was elected to the Russian Academy, but election was declared invalid by the government and several members of the Academy resigned in protest. Because of his political activism, Gorky was constantly in trouble with the tsarists authorities. He joined the Social Democratic party's left wing, headed by Lenin.

To raise money to Russian revolutionaries, Gorky went to the United States in 1906. However, he was compelled to leave his hotel, not because of his political opinions, but because he traveled with Mlle. Andreieva, with whom he was not legally married. At that time, he had not obtained divorce from his first wife, Ekaterina Pavlovna, with whom he had two children. The American author Mark Twain expressed his support to Gorky at a dinner party, saying, "My sympathies are with the Russian revolution, of course." In his reply, Gorky spoke of the importance of financial assistance to the revolution, that was not over. While staying on Staten Island at the home of John Martin, a rich Fabian socialist, he learned that his five-year-old daughter had died in Russia.

During his ill-fated mission to raise funds for the Bolshevik cause, Gorky wrote in the Adirondack Mountains greater part of his classic novel, The Mother, which came out in 1906-1907. The novel was first published in English and later translated into Russian. Its heroine, Pelageia Nilovna, adopts the cause of socialism in a religious spirit after her son's arrest as a political activist. Pelageia's husband is a drunkard and her only consolation is her religious faith. Pelageia's husband dies, and her son Pavel changes from a thug to socialist role model and starts to bring his revolutionary friends to the house. Pavel is arrested on May day for carrying a forbidden banner. While continuing to believe in Christ's words, she joins revolutionaries, and is betrayed by a police spy. Gorky based her character on a real person, Anna Zalomova, who had travelled the country distributing revolutionary pamphlets after her son had been arrested during a demonstration. The novel, considered the pioneer of socialist realism, was later dramatized by Bertolt Brecht. Vsevolod Pudovkin's film from 1926 largely contributed to the popularity of the novel.

After helping the main organizer of a worker's march to escape from Russia, Gorky found himself once again in jail. He also had to leave Russia, going to Finland and then to Germany. In 1906 Gorky settled in Capri, where he stayed until 1913 when the Russian Duma passed an amnesty act to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. With Anatoly Lunacharsky and Alexander Bogdanov, a prominent Bolshevik philosopher, he founded in Capri a "Party school" which was to train "permanent cadres of Party leaders from working class". Gorky lectured in the history of Russian literature. Lenin strongly opposed the school and established his own in Paris. At that time Gorky was more close to Bogdanov, who advocated the revision Marxism along the lines of a "religion of socialism," than Lenin, who ridiculed Bogdanov's theories.

Lenin visited his villa in 1908, he fished there and played chess, becoming childishly angry when he lost a game to Bogdanov. Gorky was disgusted by Lenin's smug Marxism and after reading only a few pages from his book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism he threw it on the wall. In the controversial novel The Confession (1908), which rapidly fell after the Revolution into relative obscurity, Gorky coined the term "God-building," by which he combined religion with Marxism.

In 1913 Gorky returned to Russia, and helped to found the first Workers' and Peasants' University, the Petrograd Theater, and the World Literature Publishing House. The first part of his acclaimed autobiographical trilogy, My Childhood (1913-14), was followed by In the World (1916), and My Universities (1922), which was written in a different style. In these works the author looked through the observant eyes of Alyosha Peshkov his development and life in a Volga River town. When the war broke out, Gorky ridiculed the enthusiastic atmosphere and broke off all relations with his adopted son, Zinovy Peshkov, who joined the army.

First the author also rejected Lenin's hard-line policy, defending the Petrograd intelligentsia. "Lenin's power arrests and imprisons everyone who does not share his ideas, as the Romanovs' power used to do," he wrote in November of 1917. After Russian revolution Gorky enjoyed protected status, although in 1918 his protests against Bolsheviks dictatorial methods were silenced by Lenin's order. Gorky's memoir of Lev Tolstoy (1919) painted nearly a merciless portrait of the great writer.

When Anna Akhmatova's former husband Nikolai Gumilyov was arrested in 1921, Gorky rushed to Moscow to ask Lenin for a pardon for his old friend. However, Gumilyov had been shot without trial.

Dissatisfaction with the communist regime and its treatment of intellectuals lead to his voluntary exile during the 1920s. Lenin had also recommended, that recommended that he would feel better abroad. "To an old man any place that's warm is homeland," Gorky once wrote. He spent three years at various German and Czech spas, and was editor of Dialogue in Berlin (1923-25).

On Capri in the 1920s Gorky wrote his best novel, The Artamov Business (1925), dealing with three generations of a pre-revolutionary merchant family. Gorky's essay 'V.I.Lenin' was written immediately after Lenin's death. The author expressed his great admiration for the Revolution leader and gave a lively account of their discussions in Paris and Capri. "You're an enigma," he once said to me with a chuckle. "You seem to be a good realist in literature, but a romantic where people are concerned. You think everybody is a victim of history, don't you? We know history and we say to the sacrificial victims; 'overthrow the altars, shatter the temples, and drive the gods out!' Yet you would like to convince me that a militant party of the working class is obliged to make the intellectuals comfortable, first and foremost."

In 1924-25 Gorky lived in Sorrento, but persuaded by Stalin, he returned in 1931 to Russia, where he settled in Moscow with his wife. As a sign of Gorky's literary stature, the new Soviet leader renamed the writer's hometown Nizhnii Novgorod in honor of the author. Gorky founded a number of journals and became head of the Writers' Union – his photograph in the congress hall was nearly as large as Stalin's. Gorky's speech at The First Congress of Soviet Writers in 1935 established the doctrine of socialist realism.

Although Gorky criticized the bureaucracy of the Writers' Union, but nothing changed. All the proposals of the congress were very soon buried when the Great Terror started. Writers were shot and Stalin showed personal interest in the activities of writers. Gorky's actions and statements before and after his return to Russia are controversial. When the poet Anna Akhmatova and many writers asked Gorky to help Nikolai Gumilev, a celebrated poet and Akhmatova's first husband, Gorky apparently did nothing to save him from execution. Gorky's son Maxim, a reputed communist, died in 1934, presumably from pneumonia. A potential danger to the Stalinist regime, Gorky himself was denied permission to leave the Soviet Union. His final novel was The Life of Klim Samgin, about an intellectual, who wavers between his own ambition and political commitment. 

Gorky died suddenly of pneumonia in his country home, dacha, near Moscow on June 18, 1936. In some source the cause of death was said to be heart desease. The author was buried in the Red Square and Stalin started earnest his Show Trials. Rumors have lived ever since that he may have been assassinated on Joseph Stalin orders. Genrikh Yagoda, Stalin's secret police chief during the great purges of 1936-38, made a "confession" at his own trial in 1938, that he had ordered Gorky's death. According to another rumor, Gorky had been administered 'heart stimulants in large quantities', and the ultimate culprits were 'Rightists and Trotskyites'. The murder of Gorky's son in 1934 was seen as an attempt to break the father. However, when the KGB literary archives were opened in the 1990s, not much evidence was found to support the wildest theories. Stalin visited the writer twice during his last illness. The most probable conclusion is that Gorky's death was natural.

As an essayist Gorky dealt with wide range of subjects. His underlying theme is a passionate humanistic message and political commitment to bolshevism. In Notes on the Bourgeois Mentality he accuses the bourgeoisie of self-absorption and concern only with its own comfort. On the Russian Peasantry sees peasants as resistant to the new social order. City of the Yellow Devil, written in New York, condemns American capitalism. On the other hand, Gorky early opposed Bolsheviks, criticizing their use of violence against their fellow men. Among Gorky's important essays are biographical sketches of such writers as Tolstoy, Leonid Andreev and Anton Chechov.

For further reading: Letopis' zhiznii i tvorchestva A.M. Gor'kogo (1958-59, 3 vols.); Maxim Gorky: Romatic Realist and Conservative Revolutionary by Richard Hare (1962); Gorky: His Literary Development and Influence on Soviet Intellectual Life by Irwin Weil (1966); Stormy Petrel: the Life and Work of Maxim Gorki by D. Levin (1967); by F.M. Borras (1967); The Bridge and the Abyss: The Troubled Friendship of Maxim Gorky and V.I.Lenin by Bertram D. Wolfe (1967); Maxim Gorky by Barry P. Scherr (1988); Gorky by Henri Troyat (1989); The Early Fiction of Maxim Gorky by Andrew Barratt (1993); File on Gorky, ed. by Cynthia Marsh (1993); The KGB's Literary Archive by Vitaly Shentalinsky (1995); Maxim Gorky: A Political Biography by Tova Yedlin (1999); The Facts on File Companion to the World Novel: 1900 to the Present, edited by Michael Sollars (2008) - See also: Isaak Babel, Ivan Bunin.

Selected works:

  • Makar Chudra, 1892 (short story)
    - Makar Chudra (ed. by Avram Yarmolinsky and Baroness Moura Budberg, in The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky, with a new introduction by Frederic Ewen, 1988)
    - Makar Chudra y.m. kertomuksia (suom E. Rauhamäki, 1934) / Makar Tšudra (suom. Lauri Kemiläinen, Valittuja: kertomuksia ja runoja, 1945; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset I, 1958)
    - film: Tabor ukhodit v nebo, 1975, dir. by Emil Loteanu, starring Grigore Grigoriu, Svetlana Toma and Barasbi Mulayev  
  • Goremyka Pavel, 1894
    - Orphan Paul (translated by L. Turner and M.O. Strever, 1946)
  • Tselkash, 1895 (short story)
    - Chelkash (translated by J. Fineberg, in Selected Short Stories, 1959; Avrahm Yarmolinsky and Moura Budberg, in The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky, 1988; Margaret Wettlin, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, n.d.)
    - Tshelkash (suom. Lauri Kemiläinen, Valittuja: kertomuksia ja runoja, 1945) / Tšelkas (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset I, 1958)
  • Suprugi Orlovy, 1895
    - The Orlovs / Orlóff and His Wife (translated by Isabel F. Hapgood, 15th ed., 1901)
    - Orlowit: mies ja vaimo (suom. 1908) / Orlovin pariskunta (suom. Eila Salminen, 1980)
  • Pesnya o Sokole, 1895
    - The Song of the Falcon (translated by "M.G.," 1896)
    - Laulu haukasta (suom. Lauri Kemiläinen, Valittuja: kertomuksia ja runoja, 1945; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset I, 1958)
  • Starukha Izergil, 1985 (short story) [Old Izergil / Old Woman Izergil]
    - Vanha Igergil (suom. Lauri Kemiläinen, Valittuja: kertomuksia ja runoja, 1945) / Igergil-muori (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset I, 1958)
  • Konovalov, 1897 (short story) [Konovalov]
    - Konowalow (suom. W. C., 1907; suom. 1912) / Konovalov (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset I, 1958)
  • Byvshie liudi, 1897 (short story)
    - Former People (translated by J.K.M. Shirazi, in Creatures That Once Were Men, 1905)
  • Ocherki i rasskazy, 1898-99 (3 vols.)
    - Tales from Gorky (translated by R. Bain, 1902)
  • Dvatsat shest' i odna, 1899 (short story )
    - Twenty-Six and One (translated by I. Strannik, in Twenty-Six and One and Other Stories, 1902) / Twenty-Six Men and a Girl (translated by E. Jakowleff and D.B. Montefiore, in Twenty-Six Men and a Girl: And Other Stories, 1902; Avrahm Yarmolinsky and Moura Budberg, in The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky, 1988)
    - Tyttö ja kaksikymmentä kuusi miestä (suom. Lauri Kemiläinen, Valittuja: kertomuksia ja runoja, 1945)
  • Foma Gordeev, 1899
    - Foma Gordeyev (translated by Herman Bernstein, 1901) /  The Man Who Was Afraid (translated by Herman Bernstein, 1905) / Foma (tr. 1945) / Foma Gordeyev (translated by Margaret Wettlin, 1962)
    - Foma Gordojev (suom. Nikolai Jaakkola, 1955) / Foma, kauppiaan poika (suom. Seppo Elo, 1973)
    - film: Foma Gordeev, 1957, dir. Mark Donskoi, screenplay Boris Bailik and Mark Donskoi, starring Georgi Yepifantsev, Sergei Lukyanov and Pavel Tarasov
  • Troye, 1900
    - The Three / Three of Them (translated by A. Linden, 1902) / Three Men (translated by C. Horne, 1902; A. Frumkin, 1919; Margaret Wettlin, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, n.d.)
    - Kolme ystävystä (suom. Anton Helve, 1902-03; suom. 1940)
  • Pesnia o Burevestnike, 1901 (short story)
  • Orloff and His Wife: Tales of the Barefoot Brigade, 1901 (translated by Isabel Hapgood)
  • The Outcast and Other Stories, 1902 (translated by Dora B. Montefiore, Emily Jankowleff, V. Volkhovsky)
  • Twenty-Six Men and a Girl and Other Stories, 1902 (translated by Dora B. Montefiore, Emily Jankowleff)
  • Tales from Gorky, 1902 (tr. R.N. Bain)
  • Meshchane, 1902 (play, prod. 1902)
    - The Smug Citizens / The Lower Middle Class (translated by Edwin Hopkins, 1906) / The Petit-Bourgeois (translated by Margaret Wettlin, in Five Plays, 1956) / The Courageous One (translated by M. Goldina and H. Coat, 1958)  / The Philistines (translated by Dusty Hughes, 1985)
    - Pikkuporvareita (suom.)
  • Tales, 1903 (translated by C. Alexandroff)
  • Chelovek, 1903
    - Man (tr. 1905)
  • Na dne, 1903 (play, prod. 1902)
    - A Night's Lodging (translated by Edwin Hopkins, 1905) / Submerged (translated by Edwin Hopkins, 1914) / At the Botton (translated by W. Lawrence, 1930) / The Lower Depths (translated by Laurence Irving, 1912; Jenny Covan, 1922; Margaret Wettlin, in Plays, 1968; Alexander Bakshy, 1969; Kitty Hunter-Blair and Jeremy Brooks, in Five Plays, 1988)
    - Pohjalla (suom. Iisakki Lattu, 1904; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset 2, 1958)
    - films: Rojo no Reikon, 1921, dir. by Minoru Murata; Les bas-fonds, 1936, dir. by Jean Renoir; Na dne, 1952, dir. by Andrei Frolov; Donzoko, 1957, dir. Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshirô Mifune; Na dne, 1978, dir. by Aleksandr Pankratov; Bez solntsa, 1987, dir. by Yuli Karasik, starring Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Mikhail Gluzsky and Aleksey Petrenko
  • Dachniki, 1904 (play, prod. 1904)
    - Summerfolk (translated by A. Delano, 1905) / Summer Folk (translated by Kitty Hunter Blair and Jeremy Brooks, in Five Plays, 1988) / The Summer People (translated by Nicholas Saunders and Frank Dwyer, 1995)
    - Kesävieraita (suom. Elvi Sinervo, 1975)
    - films: Dachniki, 1967, dir. by Boris Babochkin, Yelena Skachko; Sommergäste, TV film 1981, dir. by Achim Benning, C. Rainer Ecke; Sommergäste, TV film 1993,  dir. by David Mouchtar-Samorai; Letnie lyudi, 1995, Sergei Ursulyak, starring Sergey Makovetskiy, Svetlana Ryabova and Viktor Gvozditsky
  • Deti solntsa, 1905 (play)
    - Children of the Sun (translated by John Wolfe, 1906; Kitty Hunter Blair and Jeremy Brooks, in Five Plays, 1988; Stephen Mulrine, 2000)
    - Auringon lapset (suom.)
    - film: Deti solntsa, 1956, dir. by Aleksei Shvachko, starring Mikhail Romanov, T. Semicheva and Lidiya Kartashyova
  • A.P. Chekhov, 1905
    - Anton Tchekhov: Fragments and Recollections (translated by S.S. Kotelianskii and Leonard Woolf, 1921
  • Varvary, 1905 (play, prod. 1905)
    - Barbarians (translated by Kitty Hunter Blair and Jeremy Brooks, in Five Plays, 1988)
    - A.P. Tšehov (suom. Leo Holm, teoksessa Henkilökuvia, 1973)
    - films: Varvary, 1953, dir. by Leonid Lukov, starring Yevdokiya Turchaninova, Irina Likso and Vera Orlova; Barbaron, 1989, dir. by Annelies Thomas; Barbárok, 1989, dir. by Péter Havas
  • V Amerike, 1906
    - Amerikassa (suom. Mikko Mylläri, 1951)
  • Mat', 1907
    - Comrades (tr. 1907) / Mother (translated by Isidore Schneider, with an introd. by Howard Fast, 1947; Margaret Wettlin, 1949)
    - Äiti (suom. Hanna Kunnas, 1907; Valitut teokset. 1, 1931; suom. 1955; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset 2, 1958)
    - films: Mat, 1919, dir. by Aleksandr Razumnyi; Mat, 1926, dir. by Vsevolod Pudovkin, starring Vera Baranovskaya. "Picture has extraordinary visuals, all used for thematic purposes. While the acting is good, it is Pudovkin's montages that that let us know what these characters are thinking. The most famous example: while Batalov is in prison, Pudovkin intercuts shots of him thinking with shots of trees, sky, birds, beautiful outdoors. Escape scene was inspired by D.W. Griffith's Way Down East. " (Danny Peary in Guide for the Film Fanatic, 1986); Mat, 1941, dir. by Leonid Lukov; Mat, 1955, dir. by Mark Donskoy, starring Vera Maretskaya; Mat, 1989, dir. by Gleb Panfilov, starring Inna Churikova.
  • Vragi, 1906 (play, prod. 1907)
    - Enemies (translated by Aleksander Bakshy & Paul S. Nash, in Seven Plays, 1945; Margaret Wettlin, in Plays, 1968; Kitty Hunter Blair and Jeremy Brooks, in Five Plays, 1988)
    - Viholliset (suom.)
    - films: Vragi, 1938, dir. by Aleksandr Ivanovsky; Vtagi, 1953, dir. by Tamara Rodionova, starring Vasili Sofronov, Yelena Granovskaya and Nikolai Korn; 1977, dir. by Rodion Nahapetov, starring Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Elena Solovey and Marina Neyolova
  • Zhizn' nenuzhnogo cheloveka, 1907
    - The Spy: The Story of a Superfluous Man (translated by T. Seltzer, 1908) / The Life of a Useless Man (translated by Moura Budberg, 1971)
    - Vakooja (suom. Terttu Elo, 1971) / Joutavan ihmisen elämä (suom. Esa Adrian, 1973)
  • Poslednie, 1908 (play)
  • Ispoved', 1908
    - The Confession (translated by William Fredrick Harvey, 1910)
    - Tunnustus (suom. Hella Wuolijoki, 1908)
  • Leto, 1909 [Summer]
  • Vassa Zheleznova, 1910 (play, prod. 1911, rev. version, 1935)
    - Vassa Zheleznova (translated by Aleksader Bakshy & Paul S. Nathan, in Seven Plays, 1945; Tania Alexander and Tim Suter, 1988)
    - Muuan äiti (suom.)
    - films: Vassa Zheleznova, 1954, dir. by Leonid Lukov, starring Vera Pashennaya; Wassa Schelesnowa, TV film 1963, dir. Egon Monk; Vassa, 1882, dir. Gleb Panfilov, starring Inna Churikova, Vadim Mikhajlov
  • Vstrecha, 1910 (play) [The Meeting]
  • Chudaki, 1910 (play)
    - Queer People (translated by Alexander Bakshi and Paul Nathan, in Seven Plays, 1945)
  • Gorodok Okurov, 1910
  • Zhizn Matveya Kozhemyakina 1911
    - The Life of Matvei Kozhemyakin (translated by Margaret Wettlin, 1960)
  • Skazki ob italii, 1911-1913
    - Tales of Italy (translated by R. Prokofieva, 1959)
    - Tarinoita Italiasta (suom. Toivo Ahava, 1957)
  • Tales, 1912 (translated by R. Nisbet Bain)
  • Detstvo, 1913
    - Autobiography (translated by Isidor Schneider, 1949) / Childhood (translated by Margaret Wettlin, 1950) / My Childhood (translated by Alec Brown; Ronald Wilks, 1966-79)
    - Lapsuuteni (suom. Heikki Välisalmi, 1944; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset 3, 1958)
    - film: Detstvo Gorkogo, 1938, dir. by Mark Donskoy, screenplay by Ilya Gruzdev, starring Aleksei Lyarsky, Varvara Massalitinova and Mikhail Troyanovsky
  • Zykovy, 1914 (play)
    - The Zykovs (translated by Alexander Bakshy and Paul Nathan, in Seven Plays, 1945)
    - Zikovin perhe (suom.)
  • Tales of Two Countries, 1914
  • Po Rusi, 1915
    - Through Russia (translated by C.J. Hogarth, 1918)
    - Halki Venäjän (suom. Seppo Elo & Hannu Sarrala, 1972)
  • V lyudyakh, 1916
    - In the World (translated by Gertrude M. Foakes, 1917) / Autobiography of Maxim Gorky: My Childhood. In the World. My Universities (translated by Isidor Schneider, 1949) / My Apprenticeship (translated by Margaret Wettlin, 1968; Ronald Wilks, 1974)
    - Maailmalla (suom. V.Kallama, 1947; Juhani Konkka, 1975) / Ihmisten parissa (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset 3, 1958)
    - film: V lyudyakh, 1939, dir. by Mark Donskoy, screenplay by Mark Donskoy, starring Aleksei Lyarsky, Irina Zarubina and Varvara Massalitinova
  • Devushka i smert', 1917 [The Little Gift and Death]
  • Nesvoevremennye mysli, 1917-18
    - Untimely Thoughts (translated by Herman Ermolaev, 1968)
    - Väärään aikaan ajateltua (suom. Seppo Heikinheimo, 1990)
  • Stat'i za 1905-1916, 1918
  • Stories of the Steppe, 1918 (translated by J.M. Shirazi)
  • Starik, 1919 (play)
    - The Judge (translated by M. Zakrevsky and B.H. Clark, 1924) / The Old Man (translated by Margaret Wettlin, 1956)
  • Vospominaniia o Tolstom, 1919
    - Reminiscences of Tolstoy, Chechov and Andreyev (translated by Katherine Mansfield, S.S. Koteliansky, Virginia Woolf, and Leonard Woolf, 1934)
    - Leo Tolstoi (suom. Leo Holm, teoksessa Henkilökuvia, 1973)
  • Revoliutsiia i kultura: stat'i za 1917 god, 1920
  • Reminiscences of Tolstoy, 1920 (translated by S.S. Koteliansky and L. Woolf)
  • O russkom krestianstve, 1922
    - On the Russian Peasantry (tr. 1976)
  • Moi universitety, 1922
    - My Universities (translated by Helen Altschuler, 1953; Margaret Wettlin; 1973; Ronald Wilks, 1979)
    - Nuoruuteni yliopistot (suom. Y. Gustafson, 1927; Juhani Konkka, 1974) / Yliopistoni (suom. Valitut teokset. 2, 1932; Juhani Konkka, Valitut teokset. 4, 1958)
    - film: Moi universitety, 1940, dir. by Mark Donskoi, starring Nikolai Valbert, Stepan Kayukov and Nikolai Dorokhin
  • O russkom krest'ianstve, 1922
  • Vospominaniya, 1923
  • Zametki iz dnevnika, 1924
    - Fragments from My Diary (translated by Moura Budberg, 1972)
  • V.I. Lenin, 1924
    - V.I. Lenin (translated by C.W. Parker-Arkhaengelskaya, 1931) / Days with Lenin (tr. 1933)
    - V.I. Lenin (suom. 1934; Leo Holm, teoksessa Henkilökuvia, 1973)
  • Delo Artamonovyh, 1925
    - Decadence (translated by Veronica Dewey, 1927) / The Artamonov Business (translated by Alec Brown, 1948) / The Artamonovs (translated by Helen Altschuler, 1952)
    - Artamovien tarina (suom. S. E. Rautanen, 1935; Juhani Konkka, 1945)
    - film: Delo Artamonovykh, 1941, dir. by Grigori Roshal, starring Vera Maretskaya, Mikhail Derzhavin, Sergei Romodanov, T. Chistyakova
  • Sobranie sochineny, 1923-1928 (21 vols.)
  • The Story of a Novel and Other Stories, 1925 (translated by M. Zakrevsky)
  • Sergei Esenin, 1927 (in Krasnaia gazeta)
    - Sergei Jesenin (suom. Leo Holm, teoksessa Henkilökuvia, 1973)
  • O pisatelyakh, 1928 [About Writers]
  • Reminiscences of Leonid Andreev, 1928 (translated by K. Mansfield and S.S. Koteliansky)
  • Zhizn Klima Samgina, 1929-36 (written)
    - The Bystander (translated by B.G. Guerney, 1930) / The Magnet (translated by Alexander Bakshy, 1931) / Other Fires (translated by Alexander Bakshy, 1933) / The Spectre (translated by Alexander Bakshy, 1938)
    - Klim Samginin elämä (suom. S. E. Rautanen, 1934; Oleg Korimo, 1946)
    - Zhizn Klima Samgina, TV series 1986, dir. by Viktor Titov, teleplay by Aleksandr Lapshin and Viktor Titov, starring Andrei Rudensky, Elena Solovey and Ernst Romanov
  • To American Intellectuals, 1932
  • Egor Bulyechec i drugie, 1932 (play, prod. 1932)
    - Yegor Bulichoff and Others (translated by W.L. Gibson-Cowan, in The Last Plays, 1937) / Yegor Bulychov and the Others (translated by Aleksander Bakshy & Paul S. Nathan, in Seven Plays, 1945) / Yegor Bulychov and Others (translated by Margaret Wettlin, in Plays, 1968)
    - Jegor Bulytshev ja muut (suom. Kaarlo Halme, 1933)
    - films: Yegor Bulychyov i drugiye, 1953, dir. by Yuliya Solntseva, starring Dina Andreyeva, Sergei Lukyanov and Nina Nikitina; Jegor Bulitsov, TV film 1973, dir. by Kaisa Korhonen, starring Kapo Manto, Eila Rinne, Marjukka Halttunen; Yegor Bulychyov i drugiye, 1972, dir. by Sergei Solovyov, starring Mikhail Ulyanov, Maya Bulgakova and Yekaterina Vasilyeva
  • O literature, 1933 (rev. ed., 1935, 1955)
    - On Literature: Selected Articles (translated by Julius Katzer and Ivy Litvinova, 1960)
    - Esseitä kirjallisuudesta (suom. Ulla-Liisa Heino, 1975)
  • On Guard for the Soviet Union, 1933
  • Dostigaev i drugie, 1933 (play, prod. 1934)
    - Dostigaeff and Others (in The Last Plays of Maxim Gorki, 1937)
    - film: Dostigaev i drugie, 1959, dir. by Yuri Muzykant, Natalya Rashevskaya, starring Vitali Politseymako, Nina Olkhina and Inna Yefremova
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1933-1934 (25 vols.)
  • Belomor. An Account of the Construction of the New Canal Between the White Sea and the Baltic Sea, 1935 (ed.)
  • O religii, 1937
  • The Last Plays, 1937 (translated by W.L. Gibson-Cowan)
  • Istoriia russkoi literatury, 1939
  • Best Short Stories, 1939 (translated by Avrahm Yarmolinsky and Moura Budberg)
  • Somov i drugie, 1941 (play)
  • Song of the Stormy Petrel and Other Short Stories, 1942 (translated by M. Trommer)
  • Seven Plays, 1945 (translated by Alexander Bakshy and Paul Nathan)
  • Literature and Life: A Selection from the Writings, 1946
  • History of the Civil War in the USSR, Volume 2: The Great Proletarian Revolution, October-November 1917, 1947
  • The Unrequited Love and Other Stories, 1949 (translated by Moura Budberg)
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1949-55 (30 vols.)
  • Selected Short Stories 1892-1901, 1954 (translated by Margaret Wettlin)
  • Five Plays, 1956 (translated by Margaret Wettlin)
  • F.I.Chaliapin, 1957-58 (2 vols.)
    - Chaliapin: An Autobiography (edited by Nina Froud and James Hanley, 1967)
    - Šaljapin (suom. Seppo ja Päivi Heikinheimo, 1987)
  • Letters of Gorky and Andreev, 1958 (edited by Peter Yershov)
  • Literaturnye portrety, 1959
    - Literary Portraits (translated by Ivy Litvinov, 1982)
    - Henkilökuvia (suom. Leo Holm, 1973)
  • The Lower Depths and Other Plays, 1959 (translated by Aleksander Bakshy & Paul S. Nathan)
  • O pechati, 1962
  • A Sky-Blue Life and Other Stories, 1964 (translated by George Reavey)
  • Plays, 1968 (translated by Margaret Wettlin, et al.)
  • Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 1968-76 (25 vols.)
  • The City of the Yellow Devil, 1972
  • Collected Works, 1978-83 (10 vols.)
  • Perepiska M. Gorʹkogo v dvukh tomakh, 1986 (2 vols.)
  • Five Plays, 1988 (translated by Kitty Hunter Blair and Jeremy Brooks)
  • The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky, 1988 (edited by Avram Yarmolinsky and Baroness Moura Budberg, with a new introduction by Frederic Ewen)
  • Correspondence: Romain Rolland, Maxime Gorki, 1991 (edited by Jean Pirus)
  • Selected Letters, 1997 (edited and translated by Andrew Barratt and Barry P. Scherr)
  • Gorky's Tolstoy & Other Reminiscences, 2008 (translated, edited, and introduced by Donald Fanger)

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