A Confession (Gorky)

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A Confession
AuthorMaxim Gorky
Original titleИсповедь
CountryRussian Empire
PublisherZnaniye (compilation)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback & Hardback)
Preceded byThe Life of a Useless Man 
Followed byOkurov City 

A Confession (Russian: Исповедь, romanizedIspoved') is a 1908 novel by Maxim Gorky. It first appeared in the Znaniye compilation (book 23, Saint Petersburg) and almost simultaneously came out as a separate edition via the Ladyzhnikov Publishers in Berlin.[1]

The tale of Matvey, a pilgrim, was based upon the real life story of a religious sectarian in Nizhny Novgorod, and an article on him by Bogdan-Stepanets, a tutor at the local seminary. Later, in a sketch called "On the Edge of the World", Gorky mentioned another source, the manuscript by a Levonty Pomorets, which the writer's friend S.G. Somov brought with him from his Siberian exile.[1]

The novel, written in the times when Gorky became keenly interested in the new quasi-religious God-Building movement, horrified Vladimir Lenin who on several occasions criticized the attempts to unite Socialism and Christianity, mentioning A Confession.[2]

Gorky explained: "I am an atheist. In A Confession the idea was to show the means by which man could progress from individualism to the collectivist understanding of the world. The main character sees 'God-building' as an attempt to reconstruct social life according to the spirit of collectivism, the spirit of uniting the people on their way to one common goal: liberating man from slavery, within and without."[3]


  1. ^ a b Commentaries to Исповедь. The Works by M.Gorky in 30 volumes. Vol.8. Khudozhestvennaya Literatura // На базе Собрания сочинений в 30-ти томах. ГИХЛ, 1949-1956.
  2. ^ В.И.Ленин. Сочинения, изд. 3-е, т.XVII, стр.81—82
  3. ^ Я - атеист. В «Исповеди» мне нужно было показать, какими путями человек может придти от индивидуализма к коллективистическому пониманию мира... Герой «Исповеди» понимает под «богостроительством» устроение народного бытия в духе коллективистическом, в духе единения всех по пути к единой цели - освобождению человека от рабства внутреннего и внешнего.

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