September 7th, 2004

The Village Voice: Joe Gould’s Secret History by Charles Hutchinson & Peter Miller

When Joseph Mitchell finished the second of two landmark New Yorker profiles of Greenwich Village barfly and fringe literary player Joe Gould in 1964, he had come to the firm conclusion that Gould’s infamous 10-million-word oral history only existed in one place: Gould’s head. But a sliver of Gould’s writing survives to this day, hiding in plain sight just blocks from the bohemian’s Village haunts. Quietly tucked away within NYU’s archives are 11 dime-store composition books that make up a nearly 150,000-word diary?one apparently unknown to Mitchell, whose New Yorker articles form the basis of Joe Gould’s Secret, a film opening this week [the byline is from 2000—your host] starring Ian Holm and Stanley Tucci, who also directed.

Gould’s diary, long forgotten in NYU’s Fales Collection, offers a rare glimpse of the bombastic, ragged five-foot-four Harvard graduate in his own words. It also bolsters rather than contradicts Mitchell’s suspicions about the oral history?this often mechanical day-by-day account of Gould’s life from the years 1943 to 1947 is a far cry from the magnum opus he famously boasted about. But its respectable size also affirms his claim, when confronted by Mitchell about the nonexistent history, “that it wasn’t a question of laziness.”

Gould entrusted the journals to Harold Anton, an abstract painter who lived next door to the Minetta Tavern on Macdougal Street. After failing to find a publisher, Anton sold them to Izzy Young, Village archivist and owner of the now defunct Folklore Center. Reached by telephone at his home in Sweden, Young recalled that reading the diary “caught me in a very big intellectual problem,” i.e., whether to maintain Gould’s reputation by destroying them, or vice versa. Practical instincts prevailed, and Young sold them to the Fales Collection for $750 in 1967. Today housed in the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, overlooking the park where Gould sometimes slept, the notebooks share shelf space with the work of David Wojnarowicz, Dennis Cooper, and other outsider artists.

September 7th, 2004

a tip-o-the-hat to Things Magazine for their tip-o-the-hat; but more importantly for their usual scads-more-than-I-can-consume helping of… stuff. Consistently gorgeous (in unusual senses) stuff.

September 7th, 2004

The auto-transport super-carrier the Tricolor sank in 2002, filled with Volvos. etc. Now it has risen. Somewhat.

autos in the hold

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