Joe Gould’s Secret

The true story of the eponymous Joe Gould, an eccentric writer who lived on the streets of Greenwich Village in the first half of the 20th century.

  1. On Saturday night, June 13, 1942, I want into a barroom in Greenwich Village called Goody’s (the proprietor’s name was Goodman) to keep an appointment with Joe Gould. Gould, a bummy-looking little redeyed wreck of a man, was perhaps the best known bohemian in the village. He was a Yankee. He was a member of one of the oldest families in New England; he was a native of Norwood, Masschusetts, when his father, Dr. Clarke Storer Gould, a physician, had been a leading citizen; and he was a graduate of Harvard. In 1916, oppressed by the knowledge that he was a disappointment to his father and by a general feeling of being out of place, he had Norwood and had come to the villlage “to engage in the literary work.” During the twenty-six years that had gone by since then, he had got along, for the most part, by cadging small sums of money from friends and acquaintances. He wore hand-me-downs, he slept in flophouscs, and he ate in greasy spoons. As he described his life, he spent a large part of ...

The complete text of “Joe Gould’s Secret” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.newyorker.com.

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