The Commun.st Who Sold HimseY
From Our Russian Correspondent The death of Gorki has coincided witl the passing of Chesterton, his absolut, antithesis, both as man and writer. Gork would have dismissed Chesterton with th contemptuous ,cocksureness of the stupil and ignorant who despise everything abov and beyond them. "He cannot soar wh( was born to crawl"—this unconscious self condemnation was written by Gorki in on of his earliest and best-known works, "Th Song of the Hawk."
Hailed as a Genius
There are some who cast doubts as t( his really having been of such low origii as he pretended, and certainly his stork do not seem to have been written by , man completely devoid of education.
He was the writer of the underworlc which Russian novelists had as yet ig nored, and depicted it in a colourful, plc turesque style, with an ultra-realism whicl appealed to the rather unhealthy taste of the time. Alexis Pyeshkov—nom d plume Maxim Gorki—was immediate' hailed as a genius, and became a bes seller.
These first years were his best, thoug we doubt that posterity will be as enthusi astic over his work as were his contem poraries, for the political factor, eve present in Russia, weighed heavily in th balance, any "rebel" being assured of large following.
Success and Failure
But material success manifested th man's true nature: the champion of th underdog, stern denouncer of the "bout geois," showed that greed and avarice wer in nowise restricted to the capitalist work Whilst his bank account was swelling Gorki dabbled in revolution, preferrin to do so in the safety of his villa a Capri, where the future leaders of the Rut sian revolution gathered around him.
The promise of the early years was no fulfilled, Gorki's literary output decline, steadily in quality, and all he wrote no was dull, pretentious or grossly salacious.
The February revolution saw Gorki bad' in Russia, trying his hand at journalisr as editor of a daily paper. The advent o bolshevism raised him to a pinnacle o worldly success and prosperity, though i finally killed what still remained of th artist in him.
The servility of the former °bard of free dom towards his new masters knew limits: he became the prose poet-laureat of the communist regime, ever _belauding spurring it on to further excesses, especiall on the anti-religious front, where he coul( easily have given points to Yaroslavsk, himself, and condoning every outrage o the Moscow oligarchy.
He reaped a rich reward, for beside his own considerable fortune his master granted him the rich spoils of "liquidated capitalists: palaces, country seats, art col lections. The ancient historical city o Nizhni-Novgorod has been outraged b; being renamed "Gorki."
[Our Russian Correspondent has perhap under-rated certain sides of Maxim Gorki' character and work. As a writer he wa at the highest level of contemporary litera ture and especially notable for the fac that unlike most socialist and communis writers he sprang from the people, reall, knew the people, and wrote of the peoph He expressed the authentic voice of hi miserable, suffering, working brother., and in doing so caught the nobility an aspirations embedded in that wretched ness. Had more of the wealthier classe listened to the truth and good in Maxin Gorki's work, the history of Russia a well as of Maxim Gorki might have beet different.]
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