Gold, Michael

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GOLD, MICHAEL (Irwin Granich ; 1893–1967), U.S. Communist author and journalist. Born in New York to poor immigrant parents from Romania, Gold left school at the age of 13 and worked at various odd jobs to help support his family. He later attended City College night school and began to write his first sketches and poems, which from the start were politically radical in tone. After a brief and unhappy tenure as a special student at Harvard and an extended stay in Mexico in 1916–17, he returned to New York where he worked as a copy editor on the Socialist Call and contributed articles and poetry to Masses. He joined the Communist Party soon after its formation and became editor first of the Liberator (1920–22) and later of New Masses (1928–32), both of which were devoted to "proletarian" literature and culture. Gold also worked closely in these years with the left-wing New Playwrights' Theater and himself wrote several plays and a collection of short stories, 120 Million (1929). In 1930 he published his autobiographical novel of the Lower East Side, Jews Without Money, whose stark imagistic prose has made it one of the best-known accounts of Jewish immigrant life in New York. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Gold wrote a regular column for the Communist Daily Worker but produced little of literary value. During the last years of his life he lived in San Francisco, where he contributed to the radical West Coast publication, The People's World. His books include The Hollow Men (1941) and Change the World! (1937), a collection of his newspaper columns.


M. Gold, Mike Gold Reader, ed. by S. Sillen (1954); Folsom, in: D. Madden (ed.), Proletarian Writers of the Thirties (1968), 221–51; C. Angoff, Tone of the Twenties (1966), 182–8; D. Aaron, Writers on the Left (1961), 84–90, 453.