Author photo. George Grantham Bain Collection<br> (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, <br>LC-DIG-ggbain-32983)

George Grantham Bain Collection
(Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division,

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Maxim Gorky began using this pen name (meaning "bitter") in 1892 while writing for a newspaper in Tbilisi. It's said he chose the pseudonym to reflect his anger about the injustices of tsarist Russia and his desire to speak the bitter truth about it. He became involved with the Bolshevik Party and went on a fundraising trip for the cause to the USA in 1906. However, after he wrote essays critical of the Bolsheviks, he fell out of political favor. He went to Italy for his health, but was persuaded by Stalin to return to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s to be decorated and celebrated. The cause of his death during the Great Terror has been the subject of debate by historians.
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