Monday, September 12, 2011

Granville Hicks

September 9, 1901 - June 18, 1982

Residence (city, state, or region):
Troy, New York

Editor, Writer, Critic, Professor

What’s this person best known for?
One of the greatest and most influential Marxists literary critics during the 1930s as well as the most widely known communist convert.

Communist! "As the literary editor of New Masses Hicks became one of the party's leading cultural spokesmen during the depression." With such a strong political voice he often was involved in passionate and many times angry critical disputes with Allen Tate, Kenneth Burke and many other popular literary figures of the 1930s.

However, to show his disapproval of Communist moves in the late 1930's Hicks publicly resigned from the Communist party and spoke out against them.

Major Activities in the 1930s:

1932- Hicks voted for the Communist Party Ticket

1935- Controversy surrounded the way Hicks left his teaching position at Rensselaer. They claim he was "laid off" due to "retrenchment." Hicks claims that he was "fired" due to the school's "political motivations".

1936- Hicks co-wrote "John Reed: The making of a Revolutionary" which was widely popular. However, some of the things Hicks said hurt the Communist party. Thus this was the first time Hicks' political stance was brought into question.

1939- Hicks resigned from the Communist party after the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was made during that year. This pact untied Adolf Hitler's Germany and Joseph Stalin's Russia.

Major Works in the 1930s:

New Light (1932)

The Great Tradition: An Interpretation of American Literature since the Civil War (New York, 1933)

One of Us: The Story of John Reed (New York, 1935)

Proletarian Literature in the United States (New York, 1935)

John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary (New York, 1936)

I Like America, Modern Age Books (New York 1938)

Figures of Transition: A Study of British Literature at the End of the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1939)

Places where figure’s work often appears:
English Journal, Pacific Weekly, Antioch Review, New York Times, New Republic, Nation and New Masses

Titles of the 1-3 “texts” (writing, photos, songs, etc.) by this person you’ll discuss in your paper (include date and place of publication, if applicable):

1. New Light (1932)

2. John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary (New York, 1936)

What primary research have you done?
1 ."Granville Hicks," Contemporary Authors Online, Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context.

2. Levenson, Leah, and Jerry Natterstad.Granville Hicks: The Intellectual in Mass Society. Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 1993. Print.

3. Long, Terry. Interview with Granville Hicks. 2. 33. Antioch Review, 1975. 93-102. Print.

Connections with other parlor figures:

a.  friends, people who work together, people in the same circle:

John Dos Passos wrote in the New Masses and undoubtedly worked with Granville Hicks the editor.

b.  political or artistic allies:
John Steinbeck

Woody Guthrie

DIEGO RIVERA all shared some communist ideals with Granville Hicks. Most of these allies did not officially or completely admit to their communist ideologies as Hicks did but their works clearly had communist roots.

c.  political or artistic opponents:

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