When Maxim Gorky arrived in the US in 1906…

When Maxim Gorky arrived in the US in 1906, he initially received a warm welcome. President Roosevelt, Mark Twain planned to meet him. But when it was reported that Gorky was accompanied not by his wife, but by his mistress, his hotel threw him out and he got cancelled. Gorky on a goodwill and fundraising mission for the Bolsheviks. But in 1906 this didn’t mean much to Americans.

It turned out the woman accompanying Gorky was not, in fact, Mrs. Gorky. She was Maria Andreyeva, a star of the Moscow Art Theatre. Sure, she was another ardent Bolshevik, but apparently that wasn’t the problem. She and Gorky weren’t legally married. That was the problem, considered by the media to be a moral blemish worse than anarchism. American morality, was made of different stuff.

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