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Michael Gold, pseudonym of Itzok Granich Biography

(1893–1967), pseudonym of Itzok Granich, Masses, The Liberator, New Masses

American novelist, playwright, and political journalist, born in New York City, educated at New York and Harvard Universities. Gold was one of the most important and influential members of the group of left-wing intellectuals associated with such publications as Masses, The Liberator, and the New Masses between 1916 and 1930. He was born to a poor immigrant Russian-Jewish family, brought up on New York's Lower East Side, and active in union politics from an early age. Subsequently, he became associated with the Provincetown Players, for whom he wrote three one-act plays and through whom he met Eugene O'Neill. He co-founded the New Masses and was its editor from 1928 until 1947; through this journal Gold promoted a proletarian, neo-Stalinist view of the place of literature in society. He was actively involved in the leftward turn of the American intelligentsia in the early years of the New Deal. His first volume of stories was The Damned Agitator and Other Stories (1926); his best-known work of fiction was Jews Without Money (1930), a semi-autobiographical picture of New York ghetto life. Two of his plays, Hoboken Blues (1928) and Fiesta (1929), reflect his commitment in the possibilities of political drama, and his anthology Proletarian Literature in the United States (1935) is an important source-book for radical writing in the USA in the inter-war years (see Proletarian Literature in the USA). John Pyros's Gold: Dean of American Proletarian Writers (1979) is a useful study.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellen Gilchrist Biography to Grain