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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Alexey E. Novikov
  • Pages: 525–531
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Maxim Gorky and World Culture: A Collection of Scientific Articles
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2023
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Novikov, A.E. “The Images of Merchants and Business Entrepreneurs in the Creativity of M. Gorky and S.N. Sergeyev-Tsensky (On the Materials of the Story ʽFoma Gordeev’ and the Poem ʽMovements’).” Maxim Gorky and World Culture: A Collection of Scientific Articles. Ed. L.A. Spiridonova. Мoscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 525–531. (In Russian) 1 Electronic Optical Disc. Text: Electronic.

Information about the author:

Alexey E. Novikov, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Cherepovets State University, Prospect Lunacharskogo, 5, 162600 Cherepovets, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


M. Gorky and S. Sergeev-Tsensky are two original authors quite different in the artistic manner. Their work (with all the differences) has at the same time some features of similarity. In particular both authors appeal to the theme of merchants, entrepreneurship, to portraying people who are striving to achieve material prosperity, but at the same time enter into complex relationships with others (like Ignat Fomin in Gorky’s novel “Foma Gordeev” and Anton Antonych in Sergeyev-Tsensky’s poem “Movements”). So, Anton Antonych in various ways makes a pretty significant fortune (he was a sutler in the Turkish campaign, was engaged in the purchase of flax, rented a sugar plant). He was extremely purposeful and hardworking, squeezing all the juices from both the ground and his employees, was not restrained and even rude to them. For this reason, he was disliked by others,was charged with deliberate arson of his own straw and had a big trouble. The fate of the hero of the novel by M. Gorky Ignat Gordeev (with all the differences) has some similarities with the fate of Anton Antonych. He “from the simple worker <...> became the master of the big business”, having shown energy and purposefulness for achievement of “the main purpose of existence” — reception of profit. The fate and attitude to the “cause” of the children of these successful business entrepreneurs are more complex: the son of Ignat Matveyevich-Foma-eventually comes to an open revolt against the merchant class, and the sons of Anton Antonich choose a different life path. The theme of “fathers and children”, the gap in generations is one of the most significant in the analyzed works of Gorky and Sergeyev-Tsensky. In general, Sergeev-Tsensky and Gorky, using various artistic means, depict typologically homogeneous phenomena of the Russian reality of the post-reform period, associated with the formation of a special type of merchant-entrepreneur. At the same time, the images created by Sergeyev-Tsensky peculiarly entered into the tradition of depicting the merchant class of Gorky.

Keywords: the story “Foma Gordeev”, socio-psychological realism, M. Gorky, the poem “Movements”, S.N. Sergeev-Tsensky, neo-realism, the images of business entrepreneurs, the problem of “fathers and children”, the tradition of Gorky.


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