The enduring cult classic by an icon of American journalism
Acclaimed journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker Joseph Mitchell tells the story of Joe Gould, "an odd and penniless and unemployable little man who came to this city in 1916 and ducked and dodged and held on as hard as he could for over thirty-five years." Written originally as two separate profiles ("Professor Sea Gull" in 1942 and then "Joe Gould's Secret" twenty-two years later), the biography captures both Mitchell and Gould at their finest. Over a twenty-year association, as Mitchell learns more about Gould and his epic Oral History --a reputedly nine-million-word collection of philosophizing, wanderings, and hearsay that the supposed Harvard man Gould termed "the informal history of the shirt-sleeved multitude"--he uncovers a secret that adds even more eccentricities to the already unusual story of the local legend. This bounteous and elusive history, so esteemed that even Pound and Cummings discussed it in letters, would ultimately serve to unlock the "lost soul named Joe Gould."
Mitchell's last major work before the writer's block that left him virtually silent for thirty-two years, Joe Gould's Secret captures one of American journalism's ascendant young masters at his peak and serves to mark an artist-subject relationship for the ages. "You pick someone so close that in fact you are writing about yourself," an aging Mitchell told the Washington Post four years before his death. "Talking to Joe Gould all those years he became me in a way, if you see what I mean." And as the reader comes to understand Gould's secret, Mitchell's words become all the more prescient.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Joseph Mitchell including rare images from the author's estate.