Information about the author:
Olga S. Kryukova
Olga S. Kryukova, DSc in Philology, Head of Department of Literary Arts at the Faculty of Art, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 1, GSP-1, 119991 Moscow, Russia.
The concepts of “folk” and “intelligentsia” define the atmosphere of intellectual arguments in the beginning of the novel. Klim in his childhood did not start associating the “folk” with “Russianness”. “Folk” was for him a theoretical and even a mythological concept. National self-identification of the character in his tender years is built upon an instinctive refusal of the “foreign”. Klim’s social circle includes a guest of the Samgin’s writer Katin, who emphasizes in his look and speech his engagement with the people, but his “Russianness” looks exaggerated. In the arguments of characters Varavka is the first to bring up the topic of development of a national identity. He thinks that class (social) and regional identities are hierarchically above the national identity for Russian citizens. The author describes in the report such main traits of Russian national identity as language, traditional clothes, folk music, “places of memories” and national holidays. The author also compares Russian and European identities as seen by the characters of the novel.
Keywords: Maxim Gorky, national identity, Maxim Gorky’s novel The Life of Klim Samgin.