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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

Information about the author:

Anastasia G. Plotnikova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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The article describes Maxim Gorky’s role in the creation of the “Poet’s Library” series. The writer was the organizer and inspirational figure behind the project, but his attitude towards it changed from 1931 to 1936. Various creative, scientific, organizational and political factors influenced the development of the series. Gorky’s personal relationships with certain Leningrad writers (Konstantin Fedin, Ilya Gruzdev, Vissarion Sayanov, Mikhail Slonimsky and Yury Tynyanov) significantly influenced the destiny of the series. In a similar way, Gorky’s relationship with Lev Kamenev, the director of the “Academia” publishing house, also influenced the series development. Gorky expounded the initial concept of the series in his article “On the Poet’s Library,” which differed significantly from the books of the series published by the Publishing House of Leningrad Writers. In 1934, this resulted in a conflict with the editorial office, which put into question the existence of the series. An innovative approach to the preparation of literary texts and historical and cultural commentary allowed the “Poet’s Library” series to be published throughout the period of over 90 years. The books of the series became the exemplar of academic mass publication, and its editorial office became the school of Soviet textual criticism. The article is based on the huge corpus of research on this topic from the 20th and 21st centuries. Furthermore, the article uses materials from the correspondence between Gorky and staff of the publishing house, as well as materials from the Maxim Gorky Archive in Moscow, the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (RGALI) and the Central State Archive of Literature and Art of St. Petersburg (TsGALI).

  • Keywords: M. Gorky, “The Poet’s Library” Series, “Publishing House of Writers in Leningrad,” “Soviet Writer,” Russian Poetry, Book Series, Textology.


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