- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Reaktion Books (September 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1861890109
- ISBN-13: 978-1861890108
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.3 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,158,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Grand Hotels: Reality and Illusion
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From Publishers Weekly
"Although childhood is the source and model of all architecture, grand hotels included, the Grand Hotel Nymphlight is the only one known to be specifically devoted to 'the child within,' as the hotel brochure puts it." The grand hotels that Coover, best known as a trailblazing fiction writer and proselyte of hypertext, describes in this small book of prose poems belong to the "hotel" series by the American dioramist Joseph Cornell, making this book a set of brochures to the marvelous. The Grand Hotel Night Air Balloon ("originally designed as a colorful hot air balloon") boasts a lobby filled with caged tropical birds, a musical fountain and rooms without walls, all enveloped in a "blue haze" recalling helium. The Grand Hotel Nymphlight temporarily transforms its residents into innocent, joyful childhood versions of themselves, "while yet knowing what one knows as an adult," and The Grand Hotel Sand Fountain, a "hotel of brief encounters," provides the ultimate therapy for the alienated wallflower, never permitting anyone do anything alone opening a door, riding an elevator except leave. Coover, with magnificent simplicity, orchestrates countering strands of pathos and wonder, decadence and innocent glee, in these 10 short chapters that are sure to make anyone permanently dissatisfied with the run-down bed-and-breakfast we call planet Earth. (May) Forecast: Coover is classed with John Barth and Donald Barthelme as a fiction writer, and is particularly well read on campus. A creative display might feature this small press book, Utopia Parkway (a semi-recent biography of Cornell) and Grand Hotels, a smart and heavily illustrated architectural history by Elaine Denby covering the international luxe life of the 1830s-1930s (June).
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
This one-volume international survey of grand hotels focuses on the century ending around 1930, when "profound social changes following the Great War of 1914-18 had reduced the demand and left many of the grand hotel buildings falling into decay." While the book focuses on grand hotellerie in Europe and the United States, fine hotels in Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are also covered. The author has done a wonderful job of weaving together the histories of some 475 hotels (many of which no longer exist) to help clarify a period of unprecedented social and technological transformation. The text flows nicely and is accompanied by over 400 photographs of interior and exterior views, architectural drawings and plans, and portraits of noted owners, architects, and builders. Warmly recommended for most collections.?P. Steven Thomas, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.