Readers of Joseph Mitchell: A Reader's and Writer's Guide will be introduced to the paradox of an archetypal Southern agrarian gentleman who against all odds also became a citizen of the world. When he first visited the Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan, he discovered the urban equivalent of the Fairmont Border Belt tobacco market, in which the Mitchell family had a vested interest. His favorite writers were James Joyce and Mark Twain, and those who know the work of these two writers will, upon reading McSorley's Wonderful Saloon or The Bottom of the Harbor, immediately seize upon the similarities while also marveling at the distinctive brilliance of Mitchell's prose style.
The anthology of his last four books, Up in the Old Hotel
(1992), was met with universal acclaim and was selected by Time as the second most significant nonfiction publication of that year. His most daunting book, Joe Gould's Secret
, has been translated into a number of languages and was made into a well-received movie in 2000.