Information about the author:
Natalia N. Primochkina
Natalia N. Primochkina, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5536-7657
In the basis of Gorky’s culturological conception of the 1920s was the idea of the degeneration of living culture into a mechanical civilization. This idea from O. Spengler’s book The Decline of Europe (1918) was picked up by many European and Russian philosophers. In contrast to the Leninist theory of two cultures based on the class principle, Gorky gave his concept a timeless, ontological meaning, linked it to the basic instincts of mankind: the instinct of hunger and the instinct of reproduction. The writer stressed that only a person’s second instinct is ennobled by a feeling of love. In order to formulate his view on the problem of the coexistence of culture and civilization in the world, Gorky used the opinion “Love and hunger rule the world” from Schiller’s poem “The Wise Men”, stating that human activity aimed at satisfying the instinct of hunger leads to manifestations of civilization, and only there “where love rules, — the life of the spirit arises and develops — culture”.
Keywords: М. Gorky, culture and civilization, theory of two cultures, conception of O. Spengler, formula of F. Schiller.