Joe Gould's Teeth

Author(s): Jill Lepore
Original Publish Date: May 17, 2016
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (3.28 hours)
Product Number: Z100113263
Released: May 17, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780451484802
Narrator/s: Jill Lepore
Publisher: Books on Tape
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From New Yorker staff writer and Harvard historian Jill Lepore, the dark, spellbinding tale of her restless search for the long-lost, longest book ever written, a century-old manuscript called "The Oral History of Our Time." Joe Gould, a madman, believed he was the most brilliant historian of the twentieth century. So did some of his friends, a group of modernist writers and artists that included E. E. Cummings, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, John Dos Passos, and Ezra Pound. Gould began his life's work before the First World War, announcing that he intended to write down nearly everything anyone ever said to him. "I am trying to preserve as much detail as I can about the normal life of every day people," he explained, because "as a rule, history does not deal with such small fry." By 1942, when The New Yorker published a profile of Gould written by the reporter Joseph Mitchell, Gould's manuscript had grown to more than nine million words. But when Gould died in 1957, in a mental hospital, the manuscript was nowhere to be found. Then, in 1964, in "Joe Gould's Secret," a second profile, Mitchell claimed that "The Oral History of Our Time" had been, all along, merely a figment of Gould's imagination. Lepore, unpersuaded, decided to find out. Joe Gould's Teeth is a Poe-like tale of detection, madness, and invention. Digging through archives all over the country, Lepore unearthed evidence that "The Oral History of Our Time" did in fact once exist. Relying on letters, scraps, and Gould's own diaries and notebooks-including volumes of his lost manuscript-Lepore argues that Joe Gould's real secret had to do with sex and the color line, with modernists' relationship to the Harlem Renaissance, and, above all, with Gould's terrifying obsession with the African American sculptor Augusta Savage. In ways that even Gould himself could not have imagined, what Gould wrote down really is a history of our time: unsettling and ferocious.

All formats/editions

Author(s): Jill Lepore
Product Number EB00623980
Released: May 17, 2016
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: #9781101947593

Professional reviews

"Narrating her own work, Jill Lepore deconstructs the legend of Joe Gould in this short audiobook based on her NEW YORKER article. Gould, the subject of two previous famed NEW YORKER articles, was reported to have perpetrated a hoax by claiming to have written an unpublished nine-million-word oral history of America. Lepore argues that Gould may have actually written some or all of the oral history, though the portions that have been unearthed are not particularly engaging. More interesting is Lepore's portrait of Gould as a prejudiced, self-absorbed madman who, when not stalking women or proclaiming his greatness, relied upon the kindness of famous friends. Lepore narrates her work and when voicing Gould, employs a harsh tone and near-shouting volume, apparently simulating what Gould sounded like. Though that helps conjure up Gould, it's also a bit wearing on listeners. R.W.S. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"

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