Herbert Gold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Herbert Gold
Born(1924-03-09)March 9, 1924
DiedNovember 19, 2023(2023-11-19) (aged 99)
Alma materColumbia University (AB, AM)
Edith Zubrin
(m. 1948; div. 1956)
Melissa Dilworth
(m. 1968; div. 1975)
Children5, including Ari Gold

Herbert Gold (March 9, 1924 – November 19, 2023) was an American novelist.

Early life[edit]

Herbert Gold was born on March 9, 1924, in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, to a Russian Jewish family.[1][2][3] His parents were Samuel S. and Frieda (Frankel) Gold. His father ran a fruit store and later a grocery store.[4] Gold memorialized his hometown in his first book, Birth of a Hero (1951). He attended Taft Elementary and Lakewood High School.[5][6]

Gold moved to New York City at age 17 after several of his poems had been accepted by New York literary magazines. While there, he studied philosophy at Columbia University and became affiliated with the burgeoning Beat Generation, which resulted in a lifelong friendship with writer Allen Ginsberg. His studies were interrupted when he served in the United States Army from 1943 until 1946, during World War II.[6]

In 1946, Gold graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. degree,[6] and M.A. degree in 1948.

Despite being intertwined with the literary history of San Francisco which greatly defined the Beat Generation, Gold did not consider himself to have ever been a member of this group of writers.[7][8] In a 2017 interview with Washington Post journalist Jeff Weiss, Gold was referred to as a "Beat-adjacent novelist."[7][8]


Gold won a Fulbright Scholarship (1948–1951) and moved to Paris with his new wife Edith Zubrin, and while in Paris he finished his first novel.[2] He attended classes at the Sorbonne in Paris during his Fulbright Scholarship.[1]

After that, he moved around as he wrote, traveling to Haiti and Detroit, and hitchhiking all over the United States. He finally settled in San Francisco, where he became a fixture in the literary scene. In 1958 Gold taught English literature at Cornell University, as Vladimir Nabokov's successor.

Genesis West (Vol. 6), was published in the Winter of 1964 with an interview of Herbert Gold by Gordon Lish.

Gold's final publication, the poetry collection Fathers Verses Sons: A Correspondence in Poems, co-written with Ari Gold, is forthcoming from Rare Bird Books in March 2024.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Gold was married to writer and professor Edith Zubrin from 1948 until 1956, ending in divorce.[10][11] From this marriage Gold is father of daughters Ann Gold and Judith Gold.[11][10] Edith Zubrin died in 2000.[11]

Gold was married to the daughter of J. Richardson Dilworth, Melissa Dilworth, from 1968 until 1975, with whom he had three children: daughter Nina Gold and twin boys Ari Gold and Ethan Gold.[10][12] After they divorced, Melissa married again, and she later became involved with concert promoter Bill Graham.[12] She died with Graham in a helicopter crash in 1991.[12]

In contrast to many in the Beat Generation, Gold was a resident of San Francisco's more conservative, tourist-friendly Russian Hill neighborhood, where he lived in the same apartment for over 60 years.[7][8] He died there on November 19, 2023, at the age of 99.[1]



  • Gold, Herbert (1951). Birth of a Hero. Viking Press. ISBN 978-0670169252.
  • Gold, Herbert (1955). Room Clerk, Original Title: The Prospect Before Us. Signet Skid-Row.
  • Gold, Herbert (1956). The Man Who Was Not With It. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-912697-69-5.
  • Gold, Herbert (1959). The Optimist: A Novel. An Atlantic Monthly Press Book. Little, Brown.
  • Gold, Herbert (1960). Therefore Be Bold, A Novel. Dial Press.
  • Gold, Herbert (1963). Salt: A Novel. Dial Press.
  • Gold, Herbert (1966). Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir. ISBN 0-87795-550-6.
  • Gold, Herbert (1969). The Great American Jackpot. Random House.
  • Gold, Herbert (1972). My Last Two Thousand Years (autobiography). Random House. ISBN 978-0394470986.
  • Gold, Herbert (1973). The Young Prince and the Magic Cone. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-01519-4.
  • Gold, Herbert (1974). Swiftie the Magician. McGraw Hill. ISBN 9780070236455.
  • Gold, Herbert (1977). Waiting for Cordelia. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877951544.[13]
  • Gold, Herbert (1979). Slave Trade. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 978-0877952176.
  • Gold, Herbert (1980). He/She. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877952640.
  • Gold, Herbert (1981). Family: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir. Primus library of contemporary Americana. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877953326.
  • Gold, Herbert (1982). True Love. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877954255.
  • Gold, Herbert (1984). Mister White Eyes: A Novel. New York City, New York: Arbor House. ISBN 9780877956365.
  • Gold, Herbert (1986). A Girl of Forty. New York City, New York: D.I. Fine. ISBN 9780917657634.
  • Gold, Herbert (1991). Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti. Jan Morris (introduction). Prentice Hall Press. ISBN 9780133723274.
  • Gold, Herbert (1994). Bohemia: Digging the Roots of Cool. Touchstone. ISBN 9780671886080.
  • Gold, Herbert (2014). She Took My Arm As If She Loved Me: A Novel. St. Martin's Publishing Group. ISBN 9781466883307.
  • Gold, Herbert (2008). Still Alive!: A Temporary Condition (memoir). Arcade Pub. ISBN 9781559708708.
  • Gold, Herbert (2015). When a Psychopath Falls in Love. Portland, Oregon: Jorvik Press. ISBN 978-0988412279.
  • Father Verses Sons: A Correspondence in Poems, co-written with Ari Gold (2024), Red Bird Press.[14]

Essays and short stories[edit]

  • Gold, Herbert (1960). Love and Like (short stories).[15]
  • Gold, Herbert (1962). The Age of Happy Problems (essays).
  • Gold, Herbert (1971). The Magic Will: Stories & Essays. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412837699.
  • A Walk on the West Side: California on the Brink, Arbor House, 1981. Stories and essays.


  1. ^ a b c Grimes, William (November 20, 2023). "Herbert Gold, Novelist Who Dissected Love and Marriage, Dies at 99". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Herbert Gold Biography". Ohio Reading Road Trip. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  3. ^ Teicholz, Tom (August 17, 2008). "THE IMMORTAL MR. GOLD". Jewish Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Robert Kaiser: Carnival and Chaos: An Interview with Herbert Gold. In: The Paris Review, May 31, 2018.
  5. ^ McFerrin, Linda Watanabe (November 17, 2015). "Literary Salon: Herbert Gold, Author of When a Psychopath Falls in Love". Left Coast Writers. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Herbert Gold papers, 1951-1984". Columbia University Libraries Archive Collection, Columbia University. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Weiss, Jeff (June 30, 2017). "The Beat Generation". Washington Post. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Catching Up With Five Surviving Members Of the Beat Generation In Northern California". SFist. July 5, 2021. Archived from the original on December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  9. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Father-Verses-Sons-Correspondence-Poems/dp/164428426X Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  10. ^ a b c Herbert Gold. In: Joel Shatzky, Michael Taub: Contemporary Jewish-American Novelists: A Bio-critical Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-31329-462-4, p. 116 ff.
  11. ^ a b c "UIC Professor Edith Zubrin Harnett". Chicago Tribune. February 12, 2000. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Melissa Gold, 47, Aide For California Causes". The New York Times. October 28, 1991. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  13. ^ Gold, Herbert (May 22, 1977). "Waiting For Cordelia". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  14. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Father-Verses-Sons-Correspondence-Poems/dp/164428426X Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  15. ^ Adams, Robert Martin (Summer 1960). "Book Review: The Short Stories of Herbert Gold". The Hudson Review. Retrieved April 19, 2021.

External links[edit]