The Life of Klim Samgin. Maxim Gorky’s Last Will and Testament
This article attempts to “decipher” Maxim Gorky’s hidden intentions in his novel The Life of Klim Samgin, which he considered his message to future generations. Samgin is a “mannequin,” a parody of a particular kind of
Russian intellectual of the early twentieth-century revolutionary era. This social group was characterized by their desire to “transplant” European cultural ideas and values to Russian soil in the shortest possible time frame,
particularly the principle of individual freedom and independence Realization of this principle would involve a change of that soil, as well as of al the forms of public consciousness and public institutions.Without these transformations, the “personal principle” degenerated into skeptical individualism and could not serve as the ontological foundation of culture. In addition, “Samginism” represents the inevitable result of destroying two myths: one about the intelligentsia (as the social and cultural leader of the nation) and the other about “the people” (as the bearer of spirituality and
moral consciousness).Gorky recognized Samgin as the hero of the era of the individual, an era characterized by disillusionment with universal culturalvalues, viewing them as fictions Gorky’s novel is not a reckoning with the past, but a sad prophecy about the future.