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Joe Gould's Secret Paperback – December 7, 1999
Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
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"A little masterpiece of observation and storytelling."--Ian McEwan
"Joseph Mitchell is one of our finest journalists, unique in his compassion and understanding for the haunted little lost men such as Joe Gould. He transforms a forlorn, intolerably pathetic gentleman panhandler into an engaging, Dickensian orphan rogue."--Dawn Powell, The Washington Post (1965) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Joseph Mitchell was a legendary New Yorker writer and the author of the national bestseller Up in the Old Hotel, in which these two pieces appeared. What Joseph Mitchell wrote about, principally, was New York. In Joe Gould, Mitchell found the perfect subject. And Joe Gould's Secret has become a legendary piece of New York history.
Joe Gould may have been the quintessential Greenwich Village bohemian. In 1916, he left behind patrician roots for a scrappy, hand-to-mouth existence: he wore ragtag clothes, slept in Bowery flophouses, and mooched food, drinks, and money off of friends and strangers. Thus he was able to devote his energies to writing "An Oral History of Our Time," which Gould said would constitute "the informal history of the shirt-sleeved multitude." But when Joe Gould died in 1957, the manuscript could not be found. Where had he hidden it? This is Joe Gould's Secret.
"[Mitchell is] one of our finest journalists."--Dawn Powell, "The Washington Post
"What people say is history--Joe Gould was right about that-- and history, when recorded by Mitchell, is literature."--"The New Criterion
Top Customer Reviews
Mitchell's Gould--a real-life, Harvard-educated eccentric from the best of New England's Brahmin families--winds up as a celebrated Greenwich Village low-life and a self-described 'last of the Village Bohemians'.
Gould's knack for mixing with the hodge-podge of 1940-50's Village inhabitants (including the famous ee cummings and Mitchell himself, among others) and his quixotic and never-ending scribbles and rants comprising his well-known 'Oral History' project, boils the now-long-gone New York of the era down to its core essentials in the form of a single inhabitant's day-to-day struggles for survival and immortality in an all-too-human town. In the end, as we weep for Gould, we weep for the NYC now gone...a well-executed snapshot of the era.
The son of a medical practitioner, Harvard-educated Gould arrived in New York in 1916 and soon dismissed all thought of holding down a steady job when he had a flash of inspiration to write what he called "An Oral History of Our Times". Over many years, Gould would add daily to this work "in progress", all he had to show for himself, even when badly hung over; loading his fountain pen in the Village post office, scribbling in grubby, dog-eared school exercise books in public parks, doorways, cafeterias, Bowery flophouses, subway trains and in public libraries as he struggled to get his thoughts down on paper. Some of these hangouts also served as places to doss - alternatives to the floor of an artist friend's studio or a subway station. 270 filled notebooks had been stored in numerous drops for safekeeping until the work was completed.
Mitchell, intrigued by the "Oral History" idea, wrote a compassionate profile of Gould showing much patience and sensitivity in his dealings with his subject with whom he spent an inordinate amount of time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It might be best to read Mitchell's two stories about Joe Gould within Mitchell's collection "Up in the Old Hotel". Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Welch
Very interesting and memorable account of a unusual man's life.Published 2 months ago by Timothy J Hurst
Exceptionally well-written, but I found the secret disappointing, especially as it was exactly what I expected.Published 3 months ago by ED
Mitchell is a great writer; I have read his other books. Joe Gould is a veryinteresting character and it was a pleasure to read about him. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lewis Samuels
Both of these essays are very well written and I enjoyed reading them. Joseph Mitchell decides to write an article about local bum/bohemian Joe Gould, who wanders around The... Read morePublished 5 months ago by bookwomen37
Take an hour or two to read about one of the more fascinating street characters that haunted the Greenwich Village streets in the first half of the 20 th Century. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bill Baker