Up in the Old Hotel

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Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a 93-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the people that Joseph Mitchell immortalized in his reportage for The New Yorker and in four books—McSorley's Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbor, and Joe Gould's Secret—that are still renowned for their precise, respectful observation, their graveyard humor, and their offhand perfection of style.

 

These masterpieces (along with several previously uncollected stories) are available in one volume, which presents an indelible collective portrait of an unsuspected New York and its odder citizens—as depicted by one of the great writers of this or any other time.

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About the author

Joseph Mitchell was born near Iona, North Carolina, in 1908, and came to New York City in 1929, when he was twenty-one years old. He eventually found a job as an apprentice crime reporter for The World. He also worked as a reporter and features writer at The Herald Tribune and The World-Telegram before landing at The New Yorker in 1938, where he remained until his death in 1996.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Jul 15, 2015
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Pages
736
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ISBN
9781101971307
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
Humor / Form / Essays
Literary Collections / Essays
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.
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