In this article, the significance of the phenomenon of Old belief for the poetics of M. Gorky is clarified. For the first time, the author’s attitude to the “zealots of ancient piety” is investigated. The origins of Old Believer images in the writer’s work are studied. It is noted that the key importance for the formation of M. Gorky’s ideas about the Old Believers was his youthful experience of personal communication with Old Believers scribes. An important role in the formation of the writer’s ideas about the Old Believers was also played by his socialist beliefs, which contrasted vividly with the life ideals of the “schismatics”. The influence of “national Orthodoxy” on the plot of M. Gorky’s works is investigated. The hypothesis of the synonymy of the Old Believer type with the image of the depraved Russian merchants is put forward. The author emphasizes the continuity of M. Gorky’s ideas about “schismatics” with such key concepts as fanaticism and sacrifice. It is concluded that the author has a very ambiguous attitude towards “religious dissidents”. In particular, Gorky disapproved of the persecution of Old Believers by the secular authorities, condemning the confessional oppression he observed in his youth. At the same time, the writer, contrary to the thinkers of the previous decades, saw in the Old Belief inertia, passivity and isolation from the genuine aspirations of the people’s environment.
Old Believers; Old Belief; M. Gorky; bookishness; schismatics; religious dissidents.
Bytko, S.S. “The Reader about the Readers: Old Belief in the Creative Understanding of M. Gorky”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 3(61), 2023, pp. 124–142. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.61.08