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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 t 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 in 1929 from a small farming town called Fairmont, in the swamp country of southeastern North Carolina. He was twenty-one years old. He worked as a reporter and feature writer--for The World, The New York Herald Tribune, and The New York World-Telegram--for eight years, and then went to The New Yorker, where he worked off and on until his death in 1996.