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"Novelist, playwright, journalist and critic Mike Gold was synonymous with proletarian writing in the U.S. For more than 50 years, his words dealt in one form or another with themes of radical protest and the need, as he saw it, for a socialist transformation of society."
-New York Times, May 16, 1967
Born Irving Granich in New York, Michael Gold spent more than fifty years writing for the masses. Gold was considered a radical and a socialist, and his fictional autobiography, Jews Without Money, was thought to be one of the first important accounts about the working class in the United States. Written in 1930, his only novel was about growing up poor and Jewish on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, detailing the immigrant's struggle to survive.
Gold was editor of The Masses and The New Masses, earning a reputation for his column Change The World, which appeared in The Daily Worker from 1934 to 1966. He was also a playwright associated with the Provincetown Players and a political activist.
With his simple style, Gold encouraged Proletarian literature in this country and served an advocate for the class struggle against bourgeois art and literature. He coined the term "Proletarian Realism" and was called "the most distinguished Marxist-Leninist writer in the country" by Choice.
Michael Gold, New York Times, May 16, 1967. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Gold quit school at the age of twelve and spent the next ten years working for the Adams Express Company. He was initiated into the radical movement of 1914 after listening to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and buying a copy of The Masses. He took a course in biology, given by Professor George H. Parker, at Harvard University.
Teachers and Influences
Eugene O'Neill, Leo Tolstoy, Theodore Dreiser, Walt Whitman, Max Eastman, Floyd Dell, John Dos Passos, Joseph Freeman, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Upton Sinclair, Jack London
Connection to Bucks County
Mike gold owned a farm on Geigel Hill Road in Erwinna in Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania. He sold the farm to Laura and S.J. Perelman and Nathanael West in 1932. The Perelmans named the farm "The Eight Ball."
Colleagues and Affiliations
Josephine Herbst, John Herrmann, Nathanael West, Laura and S.J. Perelman, Melvin Levy
His publisher Horace Liveright, who also published works by Lester Cohen
Novels and Short Stories
Life of John Brown, 1924, 1960
120 Million, 1929, 1977
Charlie Chaplin's Parade, 1930
Jews Without Money, 1930, 1965
Change the World!, 1937
The Hollow Men, 1941
The Mike Gold Reader, 1954
Mike Gold: A Literary Anthology, 1972
Down the Airshaft, 1917
Ivan's Homecoming, 1917
La Fiesta, 1925
Battle Hymn, written with Michael Blankfort, based on Gold's autobiography Life of John Brown, 1923
Author of the column Change the World, which appeared in The Daily Worker for more than 32 years
Contributor to The Masses, People's World, New Republic
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Contributing editor, The Liberator, 1921
Co-editor, The New Masses, 1928-1932
Book cover, Jews Without Money
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