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A mystery wrapped inside an enigma
September 6, 2004 12:23 AM   Subscribe

Joe Gould's secret made the brilliant New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell a legend, and the subject of a movie; but Greenwich Village icon Gould's Oral History of the World in Our Time wasn't as mythical as Mitchell presumed, even if it wasn't the masterwork Gould envisioned. Mitchell, after his lengthy exposé of Gould's imaginary 9-million-word opus in 1964's Joe Gould's Secret, spent years at work in his New Yorker office on a nebulous project and never published again; he died in 1996.
posted by IshmaelGraves (5 comments total)

 
It's a great story but it was a terrible movie.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:48 AM on September 6, 2004


and now on the internet we have thousands of joe goulds with their own oral histories ... joe was a prophet before his time
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 AM on September 6, 2004


I second that, ciderwoman.

Incidentally, the band, Murder by Death used to be called Little Joe Gould, but got tired of booking agents/clubs expecting a short jewish man playing acoustic guitar.
posted by shoepal at 11:23 PM on September 6, 2004


I'm a big fan of Mitchell, whom I was introduced to through the wonderful collection "Up in the Old Hotel". Wouldn't it have been wondrous if Joe Gould had really done what he said he was doing? Here's an incredible photo of Gould by photographer Aaron Siskind.
posted by taz at 12:31 AM on September 7, 2004


Thanks for the post. I was vaguely familiar with Gould and Mitchell from mentions in earlier reading, but after reading these links I feel like I actually know something.
posted by pmurray63 at 1:22 AM on September 7, 2004


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