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Masses, The

Masses, Liberator, Labour Herald, Soviet Russia Pictorial, Worker's Monthly, New Masses

a monthly magazine founded in 1911 by Piet Vlag in New York as a platform for socialist views; Thomas Seltzer was the first editor. Following a financial crisis, Vlag resigned his interest early in 1912 and Max Eastman assumed the editorship. The political content, consistently of a socialist and pacifist character, was supplied by Eastman, John Reed, Floyd Dell, James Oppenheim, and others; birth control, racial equality, and feminism were among the issues discussed. Eastman's hospitality to work from a range of younger writers gives the Masses considerable importance among the journals of the day: Carl Sandburg, Sherwood Anderson, Amy Lowell, Vachel Lindsay, William Carlos Williams, and Bertolt Brecht were among the contributors of poetry and fiction. Outspoken opposition to America's entry into the First World War led to the trial of Eastman and his editorial associates for conspiracy; the jury disagreed and a re-trial was ordered, with the same inconclusive result. The magazine was resumed in 1918 as the Liberator; an increasingly doctrinaire socialist stance became apparent and in 1924 it merged with Labour Herald and Soviet Russia Pictorial to form Worker's Monthly. In 1926 the New Masses was founded in an attempt to revive the lively eclecticism of the original magazine. Michael Gold was sole editor from 1928 until it was re-formed as a weekly journal in 1934; its literary content subsequently diminished as a result of its intensifying ideological preoccupations. Joseph North was chief editor between 1938 and the magazine's closure in 1949 as a result of difficulties imposed by the Cold War. Robinson Jeffers, Theodore Dreiser, Carl Rakosi, Kenneth Fearing, Lola Ridge, and Van Wyck Brooks were among the contributors of poetry, fiction, and criticism in its earlier years; documentary reportage by Dorothy Parker, Erskine Caldwell, and Ernest Hemingway appeared. New Masses: An Anthology of the Rebel Thirties (1969) was edited by North. See also Proletarian Literature in the USA.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography