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
Joseph Mitchell came to New York City on October 25, 1929 (the day after the stock-market crash), from a small farming town called Fairmont, in the swamp country of southeastern North Carolina. He was twenty-one years old and looking for… More about Joseph Mitchell