Lev Samsonov Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Vladimir Emelianovich Maximov (maks-ihm-OV), an important Russian émigré writer of the Soviet era, was born Lev Samsonov in 1930 in Moscow. His father, a Trotskyite, was imprisoned in 1933; he remained in prison for seven years and died after being sent to the front during World War II. Samsonov’s mother also died early in his life, and beginning at the age of eleven, the boy was put in one state orphanage after another. His name was changed to Vladimir Maximov in one of the orphanages, and his date and place of birth were altered; his identification papers bore the false information thereafter. At the age of fifteen, he became a stonemason and was assigned to building projects in Siberia.{$S[A]Samsonov, Lev;Maximov, Vladimir}

After spending some years as a stonemason in Siberia, Maximov worked as a reporter for the Soviet radio from 1953 to 1955. He published his first poems in 1956 and then had the good fortune to work as a reporter for the prestigious Literaturnaia Gazeta in Moscow from 1959 to 1961. After 1961, though he worked on the editorial board of Oktiaber, the official Communist newspaper, Maximov devoted himself to his writing.

When his short novel A Man Survives was published in 1962, Maximov was hailed as a great writer and was immediately admitted to the Soviet Writers Union. The novel tells the story of a young boy who runs away from a labor camp and enters the criminal world. The main character encounters a wide variety of character types, and he survives his share of dangerous experiences. The denouement of the novel shows the young, jaded boy still able to be touched by kindness.

During the years that elapsed between A Man Survives and his next important work, The...

(The entire section is 722 words.)