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MAXIM GORKY (1868-1936)

The following biography was originally published in The Continental Drama of Today. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1914. p. 54.

Maxim Gorky (Alexei Maximovitch Pyeshkov) was born at Nizhni-Novgorod, Russia, in 1868. Much of his youth was spent in such varied occupations as shoemaker's apprentice, surveyor, gardener, ship's cook, and baker. After obtaining a position as private secretary in his native city, he devoted himself largely to the writing of short stories and novels, depicting for the most part low-class types, peasants and tramps -- his most successful characters.

The plays of Gorky are interesting chiefly because of the admirable qualities that go to the making of his fiction: realistic portraiture of the largest class in Russia, the serfs, and the low classes in the large cities. Gorky the dramatist in no way differs from his fellow [Russian] dramatists as such; none of them has as yet acquired to any considerable extent the art of technique. Gorky, like other Russian novelists, is concerned rather with the delineation of human character and the questioning of life itself than with an artistic framework for his ideas.