Enlightenment and ghetto: Michael Gold's dual vision

  • Jerry Schuchalter University of Turku
Keywords: Communism and Judaism, Socialism, Jewish, American literature -- Jewish authors, Authors, American, Antisemitism in literature, Jewish literature, Fiction, Social conflict


When Michael Gold wrote his celebrated Jews Without Money (1930) he was almost certainly responding to the increasingly popular anti-Semitic belief that the Jews were controlling the purse strings in America and elsewhere. The familiar stereotypes of Jewish bankers and Wall Street stock swindlers were particularly fashionable during this period, and while Gold’s principal animus for writing the book may not have been primarily to combat anti-Semitism, but to present his own struggle in the slums and his discovery of the class struggle and socialism, the significance of this theme for Gold´s novel cannot be denied. This becomes especially apparent in the introduction he wrote for his work in 1935. Here Gold emphasizes that, despite Nazi propaganda, the vast majority of Jews are living in poverty and belong to the proletariat. This does not however prevent him from succumbing himself to a variant of left-wing anti-Semitism.
Sep 1, 1995
How to Cite
Schuchalter, J. (1995). Enlightenment and ghetto: Michael Gold’s dual vision. Nordisk judaistik/Scandinavian Jewish Studies, 16(1-2), 115-126. https://doi.org/10.30752/nj.69525