||Maxim Gorki (pseudonym of Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov; 1868–1936), Russian author. Gorki was the outstanding pre-Revolutionary Russian writer who sided with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, but he also distinguished himself as a vigorous champion of the oppressed Jewish people in Russia. Raised in a primitive environment, where the Jews were seen through a strange accumulation of folklore, fantasy, and superstition, Gorki was intellectually at odds with such notions, although emotionally and artistically he sometimes could not help expressing them. His early revolutionary position - which despite periods of dissent and opposition to the Bolsheviks and even voluntary exile, eventually made him a supporter of the Soviet regime - was closely linked with his deep revulsion against Jew-baiting and pogroms, and his warm friendship for many Jewish writers and intellectuals. His story Pogrom (1918), inspired by the Kishinev outrages of 1903, was no isolated example of Gorki's preoccupation with the Jewish fate in Russia; and in Detstvo (1914; My Childhood, 1915), the first part of his autobiography, Gorki movingly recalled a Jewish boy encountered in his youth. In 1916 Gorki coedited Shchit, an anthology of statements in defense of the Jews drawn from Russian literature, in which he made it clear that he saw in the question of Jewish rights the whole issue of injustice under the Czarist system.
Gorki also showed sympathy for the Hebrew renascence and for Zionist aspirations in Erez Israel. Most of Gorki's impassioned denunciations of anti-Semitism have been omitted from the 30-volume Soviet edition of his works (1949–55). Most of these omissions have been cataloged (B. Suvarin, in Dissent, winter 1965; B. D. Wolfe, The Bridge and the Abyss (1967), 162–3n.). Works not published in this edition include an article on the Hebrew poet Bialik; another on the Kishinev pogrom; and an appeal to save the Habimah theater, then still in the U.S.S.R.