Creatures that once were Men - Maxim Gorky - Страница 1 из 96


CREATURES THAT ONCE WERE MEN
By
MAXIM GORKY
INTRODUCTORY.
By G. K. CHESTERTON.
It is certainly a curious fact that so many of the voices of what is
called our modern religion have come from countries which are not only
simple, but may even be called barbaric. A nation like Norway has a
great realistic drama without having ever had either a great classical
drama or a great romantic drama. A nation like Russia makes us feel
its modern fiction when we have never felt its ancient fiction. It has
produced its Gissing without producing its Scott. Everything that is
most sad and scientific, everything that is most grim and analytical,
everything that can truly be called most modern, everything that can
without unreasonableness be called most morbid, comes from these fresh
and untried and unexhausted nationalities. Out of these infant peoples
come the oldest voices of the earth. This contradiction, like many
other contradictions, is one which ought first of all to be registered
as a mere fact; long before we attempt to explain why things contradict
themselves, we ought, if we are honest men and good critics, to
register the preliminary truth that things do contradict themselves.
In this case, as I say, there are many possible and suggestive
explanations. It may be, to take an example, that our modern Europe is
so exhausted that even the vigorous expression of that exhaustion is
difficult for every one except the most robust. It may be that all the
nations are tired; and it may be that only the boldest and breeziest


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