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Max Eastman (Max Forrester Eastman) Biography

(1883–1969), (Max Forrester Eastman), The Masses, Liberator, Since Lenin Died

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American political writer and critic, born in Canandaigua, New York, educated at Williams College and Columbia University, where he taught philosophy between 1907 and 1911. In 1912 he became editor of the socialist periodical The Masses and subsequently edited the pro-Soviet Liberator. His enthusiasm for the Soviet system was subdued by a visit to Russia during Stalin's ascendancy to power. Since Lenin Died (1925) was the first of a series of penetrating critiques of communism which also include Marx and Lenin, the Science of Revolution (1926) and The End of Socialism in Russia (1937). The Enjoyment of Poetry (1913), a valuable study of metaphor, is the best-known of his critical works; his antagonism to Modernism becomes evident in The Literary Mind (1931), while The Enjoyment of Laughter (1936) opposes the claims of Freudian literary theory. The Colours of Life (1918) and succeeding volumes of his conventionally lyrical verse are collected in Poems of Five Decades (1954), which includes verse translations, chiefly from the Russian. From 1941 onward he travelled widely as a corresponding editor for Reader's Digest. Heroes I Have Known (1942) and Great Companions (1959) recount his associations with Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, John Dewey, Ernest Hemingway, and numerous others, including Lev Trotsky, whose History of the Russian Revolution (three volumes, 19323) he translated and of whom he produced a biography (1925). Love and Revolution (1965) is Eastman's autobiography.

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