American short-story writer, poet and activist, Grace Paley was born in the Bronx, New York, the third child of Manya and Isaac Gutseit (subsequently Americanized to Goodside). Her parents were Russian Jews who emigrated together from the Ukraine to the US in 1906 at the age of twenty-one, having been previously exiled for radical activities by Czar Nicholas II (Isaak to Siberia, Manya to Germany), then released by the amnesty following the birth of the czar’s son. Isaac’s New World trajectory is echoed by one of Paley’s fictional characters, who, under “the protection” of the American flag “and working like a horse . . . [had] read Dickens, gone to medical school, and shot like a surface-to-air missile right into the …

1796 words

Citation: Heller, Deborah. "Grace Paley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 August 2011 [, accessed 03 October 2023.]

5915 Grace Paley 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.