Vol. 63 No. 4 (2015)

Joseph Mitchell and Names: A Postscript

Published 2015-10-02


  • naming of meteorological phenomena,
  • tropical storms,
  • winter storms


Recent installments of Joseph Mitchell’s uncompleted memoir, published in The New Yorker, strongly support and extend claims made by Michael Adams in “‘The Course of a Particular’: Names and Narrative in the Works of Joseph Mitchell,” published in Names 63 (2015). Mitchell explicitly describes lists of names as possessing a lyrical quality, so that such lists — lyrical inserts — would exhibit prosodic features out of tempo with the surrounding narrative. And the fragment of memoir titled “Days in the Branch” suggests — in the dissonance between topographical and genealogical views of experience and personal history — why names had the epistemological, ontological, and finally affective significance Adams claimed they had for Mitchell.


  1. Adams, Michael. 2015. “‘The Course of a Particular’: Names and Narrative in the Works of Joseph Mitchell.” Names 63: 3–15.
  2. Macklin, Elizabeth. 1997. “To Author Re: Insert.” The Threepenny Review 68: 5.
  3. Mitchell, Joseph. 2013. “Street Life.” The New Yorker, February 11 and 18, 62–69.
  4. Mitchell, Joseph. 2014. “Days in the Branch.” The New Yorker, December 1, 40–45.
  5. Mitchell, Joseph. 2015. “A Place of Pasts.” The New Yorker, February 16, 32–35.