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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers

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Maxim Gorky


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Maxim Gorky : 

The parents of playwright Arnold Wesker were both immigrants, tailor's machinists, Communists and culturally Jewish atheists. Wesker admitted he was "a very bad student", but his parents provided an envionment of "constant ideological discussion at home, argument and disputation all the time... it was the common currency of day-to-day living that ideas were discussed around the table, and it was taken for granted that there were books in the house and that we would read". The books mostly had a leftward slant (Tolstoy, Gorky, Jack London, Sinclair Lewis) but Wesker soon reached out to Balzac, Maupassant and a broader range of literature'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Arnold Wesker      Print: Book


Maxim Gorky : [unknown]

'Once a month when [Jack Jones's] duties took him to Cardiff, he would exchange twelve to twenty books and take them home in an old suitcase. He read Tolstoy and Gork, and raced through most of Dostoevsky in a month. He was guided by a librarian who, like a university tutor, demanded an intelligent critique of everything he read'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Jack Jones      Print: Book


Maxim Gorky : Foma Gordyeeff

Leonard Woolf to Lytton Strachey, 1 April 1902: 'I have read nothing [over Easter vacation] except a book by the new -- comparatively -- Russian, Gorki. It is called Foma Gordyeeff & is ultra-Russian, savage & what is better pitiless to sentimentality, though not inhumanly pitiless. For all that I don't like it -- he is too crude & unartistic & has merely baldly told what a number of bored & rather brutal fools would do with their lives. The book is often consequently baldly sordid'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Leonard Woolf      Print: Book


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