It has been Gorky's great misfortune to be remembered mostly for the wrong things - for his apparent support of the Stalin regime; for his direct involvement in the foundation of the Union of Soviet Writers; and for the composition of the novel Mother (held up by generations of Soviet critics as the model for Socialist Realist fiction). With the advent of glasnost and perestroika, and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet order itself, these conventional notions are at last becoming subject to a radical and necessary reappraisal in Gorky's native land. Yet, despite the steady stream of revisionist attitudes, the republication of controversial works long suppressed in Soviet Russia, and the publication of new material from the archives, the creation of a full biography is likely to remain a distant prospect for many years. The present volume has been conceived first of all as a sketch towards such a new biography. It contains 177 letters, written between 1889 and Gorky's death in 1936, and selected so as to allow Gorky to tell the story of his own life and reveal his hopes and fears, his observations and preoccupations over a literary career which spanned almost fifty years.;Gorky's letters are of considerable interest on a number of levels: biographically; as representations of the development of Russian literature; in terms of the light they shed on many writers of the period (such as Lenin, Chekov, Tolstoy, and Pasternak) as well as major political figures (including Lenin and Stalin), and as period documents in their own right. Remarkable for its sheer immensity and the variety of its addressees, Gorky's correspondence provides a unique personal commentary on all aspects of Russian culture and society in the era of revolution, by one of the most fascinating figures of an extraordinary generation.