Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982

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Hicks was a literary critic, novelist and teacher (1901-1982). He graduated from Harvard University, studied for the ministry and joined the Communist Party in 1934. He was the literary editor of the New masses and applied Marxist criticism to American literature in his writings. He broke with the Party in 1939 and in the 1950s testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities against the Party. Arvin (1900-1963) was also educated at Harvard University and taught at Smith College from 1922-1960. Arvin specialized in 19th century American literature. The correspondence between Hicks and Arvin reveal the personal relationship between the two men, as well as their professional interests.

From the description of Granville Hicks correspondence with Newton Arvin, 1928-1963. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 53318426

Granville Hicks (1901-1982) was an American Marxist and later anti-Marxist novelist, literary critic, educator, and editor.

Born September 9, 1901, in Exeter, NH, to Frank Stevens and Carrie Weston (Horne) Hicks, Granville Hicks earned his bachelor's degree at Harvard University in 1923, and a Master's in 1929. He also studied for two years at Harvard Theological School. In 1925 he married Dorothy Dyer, with whom he had a daughter, Stephanie.

From 1925-1928 Hicks taught at Smith College in Northampton, MA as an instructor in biblical literature. He was an assistant professor of English at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1929-35) and a counselor in American civilization at Harvard (1938-39). For three years (1955-1958) he taught novel writing at the New School for Social Research in New York. He was a visiting professor at New York University (1959), Syracuse University (1960), and Ohio University (1967-68). He was the director of the Yaddo artists' community beginning in 1942 and later served as its acting executive director. For 35 years (1930-1965) he was the literary advisor to Macmillan Publishers.

Hicks was a highly influential Marxist literary critic during the 1930s, well-known for his involvement in a number of celebrated causes (including his well-publicized resignation from the Communist Party in 1939). He established his reputation as an important literary critic with the 1933 publication of The Great Tradition: An Interpretation of American Literature since the Civil War, a systematic history of American literature from a Marxist perspective. In 1932 he voted for the Communist Party ticket and joined almost all the significant Communist party front groups of the 1930s. In 1934 Hicks joined the Communist Party itself and became editor of its cultural magazine The New Masses .

In 1935 Hicks was let go from his teaching position at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a dismissal he claimed was politically motivated although school officials denied this. He continued to teach at various institutions but devoted more and more of his time to writing. In 1936 Hicks was asked to co-write John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary, a biography of the radical journalist and author of Ten Days that Shook the World . Communist Party chairman Earl Browder pressured Hicks to remove several passages that reflected negatively on the Soviet Union, but in the end the book was praised for its even-handed and unbiased presentation.

In 1939, in protest against the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, Hicks resigned from the Communist Party. He attempted to organize an independent left-wing alternative organization, but with little success. By 1940 he had entirely renounced Communism and termed himself a democratic socialist; that same year he wrote an essay for The Nation entitled, "The Blind Alley of Marxism." During the 1950s Hicks testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee twice, and in 1954 in his essay titled "The Liberals Who Haven't Learned," he "unambiguously characterized the aim of communism as 'brutal revolutionary totalitarianism,' and chided liberals for providing a 'verbal cloak of "social betterment"' for the Soviets."

Hicks died June 18, 1982, in Franklin Park, NJ. By the time of his death, his early radical/Marxist writings were balanced by his later turn to a broader, more humanistic criticism.

From the guide to the Granville Hicks Papers, 1906-1980, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Yaddo (Artist's colony). Yaddo records, 1870-1980. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Fenton, Charles A. Charles Andrews Fenton papers, 1954-1960 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Rovere, Richard Halworth, 1915-1979. Richard Halworth Rovere papers, 1926-1981. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Brownell, Baker, 1887-1965. Baker Brownell Papers, 1904-1965. Northwestern University
creatorOf Reed, John, 1887-1920. John Reed additional papers, 1909-1939. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Draper, Theodore, 1912-2006. Theodore Draper research files, 1919-1970. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Novack, George Edward. George Edward Novack and Evelyn Reed papers, 1933-1992. Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
creatorOf Van Dyke, Henry. Papers, 1954- University of Michigan
creatorOf Inglis, Agnes, 1870-1952. Letter, 1934 Nov. 18, Ann Arbor, to Granville Hicks, Troy, N.Y. University of Michigan
creatorOf Sherman, Jean. Letters received concerning Spanish Civil War writers auction, 1936-1949 (bulk 1938-1939). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Correspondence, with Agnes Inglis, 1934. University of Michigan
referencedIn Davis, Robert Gorham,. Papers, 1778-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn De Voto, Bernard Augustine, 1897-1955. Bernard De Voto papers, 1918-1955 (bulk 1944-1951). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994. Lawrence E. Spivak papers, 1917-1994 (bulk 1945-1983). Library of Congress
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referencedIn Muriel Rukeyser collection of papers, 1920-1976, 1931-1976 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Bingham, Alfred M. (Alfred Mitchell), 1905-. Alfred Mitchell Bingham and the Common Sense collection, 1905-1979 (inclusive). Yale University Library
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creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 (bulk 1953-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951. Sinclair Lewis papers, 1866-1964 (bulk 1910-1950). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Frank, Nelson, 1906-1974. Papers, 1888-1971. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Jacques Barzun Papers, ca.1900-1999. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Cather, Willa, 1873-1947. [Two typed letters, signed, to Henry Goddard Leach, Sept. 1, [1931] and May 25, 1932]. Drew University Library, Rose Memorial Library
referencedIn Beck, Patricia, 1924-1978. Patrica Beck Papers, 1936-1986 (bulk 1940-1978). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Corey, Paul, 1903-. Papers of Paul Corey, 1920-1992. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Rose, W. K. William Kent Rose papers, [ca. 1940]-1968. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Sykes, Gerald, 1903-. Papers, ca. 1921-1984. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Lewis Corey Papers, ca.1910-1953. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Granville Hicks Papers, 1906-1980 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Letter, 1956, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Corey, Lewis. Papers, ca.1910-1953. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Correspondence with Van Wyck Brooks, 1936-1962. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Hillyer, Robert, 1895-1961. Robert Hillyer compositions, 1931-1942. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Letter to John Hyde Preston. Grafton, NY. 1938 Aug. 17. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Gerald Sykes Papers, ca. 1921-1984 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Robert K. Merton Papers, 1928-2003, [Bulk Dates: 1943-2001]. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Carr, Virginia Spencer. Virginia Spencer Carr papers, 1867-2009. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Rose, W. K. William Kent Rose papers, [ca. 1940]-1968. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records, bulk 1927-1934. Hampshire College, Harold F. Johnson Library
referencedIn Friedman, Philip Allan. Correspondence to Philip Allan Friedman, 1952-1953. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series I., General Correspondence, 1922-1977 (bulk 1946-1966). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series VII., Other Department Files, 1916-1996 (bulk 1943-1969). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Erskine, Albert, 1911-1993. Albert Erskine papers, 1930-1999. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Lawrence E. Spivak Papers, 1917-1994, (bulk 1945-1983) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Manny, Frank Addison, 1868-1954. Frank Addison Manny papers, 1890-1955. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn John Eugene Unterecker Papers, 1961-1987 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Granville Hicks correspondence with Newton Arvin, 1928-1963. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Lania, Leo, 1896-1961. Papers, 1916-1959. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Clara E. Sipprell Papers, 1915-1970 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Van Dyke, Henry. Henry Van Dyke papers, 1954- University of Michigan
referencedIn Nelson Frank Papers, 1888-1971 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Sinclair Lewis papers, 1866-1964, 1910-1950 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Smith College. Letters, 1925-1961, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Stein and Day Publishers. Records, 1963-1988. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982. Correspondence, 1952, from Sophia Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Barzun, Jacques, 1907-. Jacques Barzun papers, ca.1900-1999. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Stein and Day Publisher Records, 1963-1988 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Carr, Virginia Spencer. person
associatedWith Cather, Willa, 1873-1947. person
associatedWith Champney, Freeman. person
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associatedWith Corey, Paul, 1903- person
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associatedWith Freeman, Joseph, 1897-1965 person
associatedWith Friedman, Philip Allan. person
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associatedWith Inglis, Agnes, 1870-1952. person
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associatedWith Lamont, Corliss, 1902-1995 person
associatedWith Lania, Leo, 1896-1961. person
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associatedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982 person
associatedWith Macmillan Company. corporateBody
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associatedWith Matthiessen, F. O. (Francis Otto), 1902-1950 person
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associatedWith Merton, Robert King, 1910-2003. person
associatedWith Morris, Wright, 1910-1998 person
associatedWith Nevins, Allan, 1890-1971 person
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y. : 1919-1997) corporateBody
associatedWith Novack, George Edward. person
associatedWith O'Connor, Flannery. person
associatedWith Owen, Guy, 1925-1981 person
associatedWith Page, Myra, 1897-1993 person
associatedWith Painter, Charlotte. person
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associatedWith Peirce, Waldo, 1884-1970. person
associatedWith Preston, John Hyde, 1906-, person
associatedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920. person
associatedWith Robbins, Jack Alan. person
associatedWith Rose, W. K. person
associatedWith Roskolenko, Harry. person
associatedWith Rovere, Richard Halworth, 1915-1979. person
associatedWith Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913- person
associatedWith Schorer, Mark, 1908-1977 person
associatedWith Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963 person
associatedWith Sherman, Jean. person
associatedWith Simonson, Lee, 1888-1967 person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 person
associatedWith Sipprell, Clara E. (Clara Estelle), 1885-1975 person
associatedWith Smith, Chard Powers, 1894-1977 person
associatedWith Smith College. corporateBody
associatedWith Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994. person
associatedWith Steffens, Lincoln, 1866-1936 person
associatedWith Stein and Day Publishers. corporateBody
associatedWith Sykes, Gerald, 1903- person
associatedWith Unterecker, John, 1922-1989. person
associatedWith Van Dyke, Henry. person
associatedWith Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972 person
associatedWith Winter, Ella. person
associatedWith Wolfe, Bertram David, 1896-1977 person
associatedWith Yaddo. corporateBody
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Biography
Novelists, American
Literature--History and criticism
Literature--American Fiction
Marxist criticism
Critics--United States
Authors, American
Communism and education
Publishers and Publishing
Literary quarrels
City and town life--United States
Literary historians
Radicalism--United States
Biographers, Authorship
Communism--United States
American literature--20th century--History and criticism
Radicalism
Communism and intellectuals
Community life
Occupation
Biographers
Critic
Novelists
Function

Person

Birth 1901-09-09

Death 1982-06-18

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 21067819