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Joe Gould's Secret

by Joseph Mitchell

  • ISBN: 9780375708046
  • ISBN10: 0375708049

Joe Gould's Secret

by Joseph Mitchell

  • List Price: $15.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 12/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780375708046
  • ISBN10: 0375708049
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Description: Joe Gould professed to live on "air, self-esteem, cigarette butts, cowboy coffee, fried-egg sandwiches, and ketchup." In 1916, Gould, the Harvard-educated scion of a Massachusetts family of doctors, left behind patrician roots for bohemian life in New York's Greenwich Village. For the next forty years, Gould led 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 -- what they had to say about their jobs, love affairs, vittles, sprees, scrapes and sorrows, " or, "I'll perish in the attempt."

In 1942, Joseph Mitchell, impressed by Gould's concept, wrote a profile of him for The New Yorker. Twenty-two years later, some time after Gould's death, he wrote another profile and the two have been combined in Joe Gould's Secret. "When I found out Gould's secret, " Mitchell said, "I was appalled, but I soon regained my respect for him, and through the years my respect has grown, though I must confess that he is still an enigma to me. Nowadays, in fact, when his name comes into my mind, it is followed instantly by another name -- the name of Bartleby the Scrivener -- and then I invariably recall Bartleby's haunting, horrifyingly self-sufficient remark 'I would prefer not to.'"

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