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 not 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
The genius of Francis Bacon is nowhere better revealed than in his essays.Bacon's education was grounded in the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome, but he brought vividness and color to the arid scholasticism of medieval book-learning. Whatever their subject, whether it is something as personal as "Friendship" or as abstract as "Truth," the essays combine a mixture of rhetoric and philosophy; and are perhaps the most complete and rounded examples of Bacon's literary style. Rather than merely summarizing popular philosophy or producing glib expositions of correct conduct, Bacon attempted to change the shape of the other men's minds. He believed rhetoric, as the force eloquence and persuasion, could incline the mind towards the pure light of reason.
Undeniably one of the modern world's greatest literary figures, Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) left behind a correspondence documenting in intimate detail a life as intense in its extremes as his poetry. This extensive selection of his letters--many translated for the first time into English--depicts a poet divided between despair and elation, thoughts of suicide and intimations of immortality; a man who could write to his mother, "We're obviously destined to love one another, to end our lives as honestly and gently as possible," and say in the next sentence, "I'm convinced that one of us will kill the other"; who courted and then suffered the controversy provoked by his masterpiece, Les Fleurs du mal; who struggled throughout his life with syphilis contracted in his youth, near-intolerable financial restrictions imposed by his stepfather, and conflicting feelings of failure and revolt dating from his school days.Writing to family, friends, and lovers, Baudelaire reveals the incidents and passions that went into his poetry. In letters to editors, idols, and peers--Hugo, Flaubert, Vigny, Wagner, Cladel, among others--he elucidates the methods and concerns of his own art and criticism and comments tellingly on the arts and politics of his day. In all, ranging from childhood to days shortly before his death, these letters comprise a complex and moving portrait of the quintessential poet and his time.
This absorbing collection of letters spans a decade in the lifelong friendship of two remarkable writers who engaged the subjects of literature, race, and identity with deep clarity and passion.The correspondence begins in 1950 when Ellison is living in New York City, hard at work on his enduring masterpiece, Invisible Man, and Murray is a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Mirroring a jam session in which two jazz musicians "trade twelves"--each improvising twelve bars of music around the same musical idea-their lively dialog centers upon their respective writing, the jazz they both love so well, on travel, family, the work literary contemporaries (including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway) and the challenge of racial inclusiveness that they wish to pose to America through their craft. Infused with warmth, humor, and great erudition, Trading Twelves offers a glimpse into literary history in the making--and into a powerful and enduring friendship.
Ranging from an autobiographical tour-de-force that describes a childhood spent with an alcoholic father to Looking at Women, a reflection on male yearning and confusion, to a look at the place--or absence--of nature in recent American fiction.
National BestsellerDidion's reportorial pieces afford the pleasures of literature. . . . She is an expert geographer of the landscape of American public culture (The New York Times Book Review). Here, Didion covers ground from Washington to Los Angeles, from a TV producer's gargantuan manor to the racial battlefields of New York's criminal courts.
At each stop she uncovers the mythic narratives that elude other observers: Didion tells us about the fantasies the media construct around crime victims and presidential candidates; she gives us new interpretations of the stories of Nancy Reagan and Patty Hearst; she charts America's rollercoaster ride through evanescent booms and hard times that won't go away. A bracing amalgam of skepticism and sympathy, After Henry is further proof of Joan Didion's infallible radar for the true spirit of our age.
James Baldwin was a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. His brilliant and provocative essays made him the literary voice of the Civil Rights Era, and they continue to speak with powerful urgency to us today, whether in the swirling debate over the Black Lives Matter movement or in the words of Raoul Peck's documentary I Am Not Your Negro. Edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Library of America's Collected Essays is the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin's nonfiction ever published.With burning passion and jabbing, epigrammatic wit, Baldwin fearlessly articulated issues of race and democracy and American identity in such famous essays as The Harlem Ghetto, Everybody's Protest Novel, Many Thousands Gone, and Stranger in the Village. Here are the complete texts of his early landmark collections, Notes of a Native Son (1955) and Nobody Knows My Name (1961), which established him as an essential intellectual voice of his time, fusing in unique fashion the personal, the literary, and the political. One writes, he stated, out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. With singular eloquence and unblinking sharpness of observation he lived up to his credo: I want to be an honest man and a good writer. The classic The Fire Next Time (1963), perhaps the most influential of his writings, is his most penetrating analysis of America's racial divide and an impassioned call to end the racial nightmare...and change the history of the world. The later volumes No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1976) chart his continuing response to the social and political turbulence of his era and include his remarkable works of film criticism. A further 36 essays--nine of them previously uncollected--include some of Baldwin's earliest published writings, as well as revealing later insights into the language of Shakespeare, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the music of Earl Hines. LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
An indispensable guide for writers that explores the emotional side of writing and offers insightful advice on overcoming writer's block, procrastination, guilt, and more.Charting the emotional side of the writer's life, Writing Past Dark is a writing companion to reach for when you feel lost and want to regain access to the memories, images, and the ideas inside you that are the fuel of strong writing.Combining personal narrative and other writers' experiences, Bonnie Friedman explores a whole array of emotions and dilemmas writers face--envy, distraction, guilt, and writer's block--and shares the clues that can set you free so that you can write the book you've always dreamed of writing. Supportive, intimate, and reflective, Writing Past Dark is a comfort and resource for all writers.
A seminal work and examination of the psychopathology of journalism. Using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example -- the lawsuit of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, against Joe McGinniss, the author of Fatal Vision, a book about the crime -- she delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject. In Malcolm's view, neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that is built into the journalistic situation. When the text first appeared, as a two-part article in The New Yorker, its thesis seemed so radical and its irony so pitiless that journalists across the country reacted as if stung.Her book is a work of journalism as well as an essay on journalism: it at once exemplifies and dissects its subject. In her interviews with the leading and subsidiary characters in the MacDonald-McGinniss case -- the principals, their lawyers, the members of the jury, and the various persons who testified as expert witnesses at the trial -- Malcolm is always aware of herself as a player in a game that, as she points out, she cannot lose. The journalist-subject encounter has always troubled journalists, but never before has it been looked at so unflinchingly and so ruefully. Hovering over the narrative -- and always on the edge of the reader's consciousness -- is the MacDonald murder case itself, which imparts to the book an atmosphere of anxiety and uncanniness. The Journalist and the Murderer derives from and reflects many of the dominant intellectual concerns of our time, and it will have a particular appeal for those who cherish the odd, the off-center, and the unsolved.