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Volume :2 Issue : 7 1982      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Gold-Wilder Controversy Of 1930

Auther : Kenneth William Payne

This paper is concerned with a celebrated episode in the history of modern American letters – Michael Gold’s famous essay on Thornton Wilder, Wilder: Prophet of the “Genteel Christ” printed in the liberal New Republic magazine of October 22, 1930. The essay stirred up the first major literary argument of the 1930’s and announced some of the central preoccupations of the literary life of the Depression decade.

 

It is the purpose of this paper to establish the importance of Gold’s essay in its historical contexts, with particular attention to its place in the development of radical letters in America. The critical point of view presented in the review came as the result of a growing body of radical criticism in America, largely under the influence of the earlier Soviet theorists; the review is an example of Gold’s own socioeconomic, or Marxian: criticism worked out during the preceding few years. In its main arguments. The review reflects the antagonism felt in left-liberal circles toward the Humanist school of philosophers and their literary associates, in its ancillary arguments concerning the formal technical qualities of literatre, the essay is shown to be linked to an important ideological reft within the staff of the New Masses magazine the only organ of radical literary expression of the time). This split had seen Gold challenged by the critic and literary historian, Joshua Kunitz, on the questions of proletarian literature, literary craft and technique, and on Gold’s.

 

The review is located, finally, within the context of American-Soviet literary relations, and is seen as a memorial to a significant experiment in American revolutionary letters Michael Gold’s struggle for a proletarian literature by and about the working-class.

 

 
 

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