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The Grand Hotels (Of Joseph Cornell) (Burning Deck Fiction)

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Robert Coover takes us through the looking-glass of Joseph Cornell's boxes into a world of "Grand Hotels" we never dreamed of. Rooms are accessed via ferris wheel. They open onto crystal cages, night voyages, sand fountains. They lead us back to childhood, to forgotten games, to sleeping princess who do not await a prince and, finally, home, poor heart. Funny and wistful b Robert Coover takes us through the looking-glass of Joseph Cornell's boxes into a world of "Grand Hotels" we never dreamed of. Rooms are accessed via ferris wheel. They open onto crystal cages, night voyages, sand fountains. They lead us back to childhood, to forgotten games, to sleeping princess who do not await a prince and, finally, home, poor heart. Funny and wistful by turns, these brilliant vignettes explore the nature of desire and the melancholy of fulfillment. As the author says, they are also an "architectural portrait of the artist," with biographical information "built into the construction of the text like girders, brickwork or d cor."


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Robert Coover takes us through the looking-glass of Joseph Cornell's boxes into a world of "Grand Hotels" we never dreamed of. Rooms are accessed via ferris wheel. They open onto crystal cages, night voyages, sand fountains. They lead us back to childhood, to forgotten games, to sleeping princess who do not await a prince and, finally, home, poor heart. Funny and wistful b Robert Coover takes us through the looking-glass of Joseph Cornell's boxes into a world of "Grand Hotels" we never dreamed of. Rooms are accessed via ferris wheel. They open onto crystal cages, night voyages, sand fountains. They lead us back to childhood, to forgotten games, to sleeping princess who do not await a prince and, finally, home, poor heart. Funny and wistful by turns, these brilliant vignettes explore the nature of desire and the melancholy of fulfillment. As the author says, they are also an "architectural portrait of the artist," with biographical information "built into the construction of the text like girders, brickwork or d cor."

30 review for The Grand Hotels (Of Joseph Cornell) (Burning Deck Fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    New and Improved!!! Now with Copywright page!!! The Grand Hotels == Your Grand Books. A few lists.... A List by Association The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell) Invisible Cities Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon Hôtel Splendid Splendide-Hôtel doubtless, something else also from Sir Gil. some other books likely. The Ten Grand Hotels The Grand Hotel Night Voyage The Grand Hotel Penny Arcade The Grand Hotel Galactic Center The Grand Hotel Forgotten Game The Grand Hotel Nymphlight The Grand Hotel Crystal Cage The Gra New and Improved!!! Now with Copywright page!!! The Grand Hotels == Your Grand Books. A few lists.... A List by Association The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell) Invisible Cities Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon Hôtel Splendid Splendide-Hôtel doubtless, something else also from Sir Gil. some other books likely. The Ten Grand Hotels The Grand Hotel Night Voyage The Grand Hotel Penny Arcade The Grand Hotel Galactic Center The Grand Hotel Forgotten Game The Grand Hotel Nymphlight The Grand Hotel Crystal Cage The Grand Hotel Sand Fountain The Grand Hotel Bald Cockatoo The Grand Hotel Sequestered Bower The Grand Hotel Home, Poor Heart PROSE from BURNING DECK Walter Abish, 99: The New Meaning Tom Ahern, The Capture of Trieste Paul Auster, Why Write? Alison Bundy, DunceCap Marcel Cohen, The Peacock Emperor Moth Norma Cole [ed/trans)], Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France Barbara Einzig, Life Moves Outside John Hawkes, Innocence in Extremis Elizabeth MacKiernan, Ancestors Maybe Friederike Mayröcker, Heiligenanstalt Lissa McLaughlin, Troubled by His Complexion --, Seeing the Multitudes Delayed Pascal Quignard, On Wooden Tablest: Apronenia Avitia Ilma Rakusa, Steppe Jane Unrue, Going to the Mountain --, Skyblue’s Essays Copywright Page The first five texts in this volume were first published in A Convergence of Birds, ed. Jonathan Safran Foer, New York: D.A.P., 2001 Cover by Keith Waldrop Burning Deck is the literature program of Anyart: Contemporary Arts Center, a tax-exempt (501c3), non-profit organization. © 2002 by Robert Coover ISBN 1-886224-50-1, cloth ISBN 1-886224-51-x, cloth, signed ISBN 1-886224-52-8, paperback Page 63 This book was designed and computer typeset in 10 pt. Palatino by Rosmarie Waldrop. Printed on 55 lb. Writers’ Natural (an acid-free paper), smyth-sewn and glued into paper covers by McNaughton & Gunn in Saline, Michigan. The is by Keith Waldrop. There are 1000 paperbacks and 200 clothbacks, of which 50 are numbered and signed by the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    When I was in San Francisco in October, I visited SFMOMA and wandered through a Joseph Cornell exhibition. It was kind of amazing: boxes, found objects, scraps, photographs of ballerinas and movie stars, all pieced together to create dioramas of a vision of life in the twentieth century. In this collection of stories, Robert Coover pieces together his own visions of "grand hotels" in the style of Joseph Cornell--weird celestial rest stops, sand fountains around which lovers pursue each other, bo When I was in San Francisco in October, I visited SFMOMA and wandered through a Joseph Cornell exhibition. It was kind of amazing: boxes, found objects, scraps, photographs of ballerinas and movie stars, all pieced together to create dioramas of a vision of life in the twentieth century. In this collection of stories, Robert Coover pieces together his own visions of "grand hotels" in the style of Joseph Cornell--weird celestial rest stops, sand fountains around which lovers pursue each other, boxes that are made up of the stuff of modern life but exist somehow outside of it. Coover can be a pretty rigorous postmodernist, and the pastiche-y, collage-y tricks shine through to great effect in these pieces. Where he becomes really interesting, I think, is in his fascination with the architects of the grand hotels. All of them are troubled in some way, or regard their masterworks very differently than the hotels' visitors do. It would be difficult to overlook Coover's tributes to Cornell, and not to see the reclusive artist in the architect whose "whole being [is] consumed by his ravenous sensibility, and by his ambition, not for worldly success, but to break through to what lay beyond architecture, which he held to be at the heart of the human enterprise, autonomous and inclusive of all other fields of art, and contained by none" ("The Grand Hotel Crystal Cage"). Cornell is also there in the "notoriously humble" architect who is "credited with reassembling the hotel's constituent and fragmentary elements into an aesthetically satisfying whole, even if not a completely stable one" ("The Grand Hotel Home, Poor Heart"). The instability of juxtaposition, for both Coover and Cornell, is where the fun is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rayroy

    Immersed into something dreamlike and unlike anything I've read before, at 60 pages this was a mini masterpiece with surpising depth and an inner pull of the deep ressues of the readers mind.My favorite hotel was The Grand Hotel Forgotton Game, "...The menus themselves list no dishes, only conundrums, such as What color is surpise? or Where exactly is the universe? or If time runs, where does it run to? or What does an egg mean?.... But I liked all of the them even the downers "But for others, Immersed into something dreamlike and unlike anything I've read before, at 60 pages this was a mini masterpiece with surpising depth and an inner pull of the deep ressues of the readers mind.My favorite hotel was The Grand Hotel Forgotton Game, "...The menus themselves list no dishes, only conundrums, such as What color is surpise? or Where exactly is the universe? or If time runs, where does it run to? or What does an egg mean?.... But I liked all of the them even the downers "But for others, for whom the persent moment is nothing but suffering and anguish, who have have come to the Grand Hotel Home, Poor Heart precisely to seek sanctuary from time's abuses by submerging themselves in a supposedly happier time past of beauty,love and joy, it sometimes happens the recaptured memory, so delicate and fleeting, is overwhelmed by terrible despair of the present, plummeting the guest, not into nostalgic delight, but into a crushing depression.All chandeliers have been removed from the individual rooms and replaced with recessed lighting fixtures, memory-numbing though they are,for too many guests had been found hanging from them,turing slowly in a melancholic pas de deux with the little ballerinas on the tinkling music below thier feet,as if in grim mockery of the carefree dancers out in the fountain"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jed

    대박.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Crippled_ships

    Hm... I'm afraid I enjoyed the premise of this book a lot more than the book itself. There is a lot of inventiveness and even ingenuity at work here, but in the end it didn't entirely come together for me. The texts seem more like sketches; not in a good way (as in "leaving something out for the imagination of the reader to fill in"), but rather in a way that seemed almost hurried [cf. the meticulousness and exhaustiveness of Cornell's practice]. The eroticism of the book also comes off as a bit Hm... I'm afraid I enjoyed the premise of this book a lot more than the book itself. There is a lot of inventiveness and even ingenuity at work here, but in the end it didn't entirely come together for me. The texts seem more like sketches; not in a good way (as in "leaving something out for the imagination of the reader to fill in"), but rather in a way that seemed almost hurried [cf. the meticulousness and exhaustiveness of Cornell's practice]. The eroticism of the book also comes off as a bit clumsy; a lot of the time it seems almost apologetic, verging on the self-censoring, trying to eliminate any train of thought that could conceivably lead down an unwholesome alley (as if the writer was somehow responsible for any fantasies that could potentially be triggered in the reader), thereby hampering the unfolding of the oneiric imagery and breaking the spell [e.g. how the inevitable voyeurism intrinsic to the Grand Hotel Penny Arcade and the Hotel Lost Domain are defused by pointing out that the "private parts" of the sleeping princess in the former are "hidden deep within", and by the uncomfortable presence of security cameras (to make sure everyone sleeps with the hands on top of their blankets?) in the latter... it's almost as if the security cameras are placed there to make sure that the readers won't take liberties with the reading of the text!]. Still, I take with me some startling images from this book, and I don't regret the time I spent reading it, but in the end I must sadly say that I found it unsatisfying... Then again, I think Coover gave himself a quite daunting task when he set out to write this book, so I think it's only fair when I judge the outcome by the rather high standard evoked by using Cornell's name in the title...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I bought this book years ago after reading Coover's strange and beautiful short story 'The Grand Hotels' in "A Convergence of Birds" (short stories inspired by Joseph Cornell). I am assuming this slim volume was born from that heftier one. "Grand Hotels" is, like Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" and Alan Lightman's "Einstein's Dreams", a book of descriptions: of speculative worlds, spun around intricate language and whirling gedanken experiments, all in the key of a particular theme. In this ca I bought this book years ago after reading Coover's strange and beautiful short story 'The Grand Hotels' in "A Convergence of Birds" (short stories inspired by Joseph Cornell). I am assuming this slim volume was born from that heftier one. "Grand Hotels" is, like Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" and Alan Lightman's "Einstein's Dreams", a book of descriptions: of speculative worlds, spun around intricate language and whirling gedanken experiments, all in the key of a particular theme. In this case, the idea of a Grand Hotel. A Grand Hotel, as conceived by Coover, is a kind of Ur-place, a paragon insomuch as it is the highest possible achievement of hotellishness, but also a kind of Platonic template for all hotels, or - in actuality - those particular mental loci we tend to situate ourselves in, as humans: desire, nostalgia, longing, freedom, dreaming, awareness. Each hotel represents and actualises, in the most beautiful imagery, a state of consciousness. I like Robert Coover. He's one of those midcentury Dalkey Archive doyens, like Donald Barthelme or Djuna Barnes or William Gass, who write bizarre and wonderful things that everyone should read but hardly anyone does. Which is a shame. Because this is short and an easy read, and well worth the time. As a female reader, I will say there were a few stories that jarred a little. The Grand Hotel Penny Arcade is a hotel where everyone stares at a naked sleeping woman who is less a person than the incarnation of the architect's desire (albeit, Coover is ready to point out, not entirely sexual desire). The Grand Hotel Nymphlight seems to be encouraging people, via its parent hotel The Hotel Lost Domain, to watch and get pervy over children? Or adults who act like children? Or both? In any case, both stories have a definite sheen of ick. (The Grand Hotel Nymphlight itself, as a reincarnation of everyone's lost childhood, is an intriguing idea enough on its own. I don't know why Coover had to add the Lost Domain as an outer shell.) If it weren't for those two stories, however, I think this would be a five star book for me as the other hotels are not only breathtaking in terms of prose, but as thought experiments. As a reader I wanted to be a hotel guest myself, and to dwell in them for longer than the 5-6 pages spent on each. The Grand Hotel Crystal Cage and The Grand Hotel Home, Poor Heart were my favourites. The first an exploration of self-reflection, invention, awareness, and solipsism. The second, like the Grand Hotel Nymphlight, a paean to nostalgia. But rather than the desire to return to innocence, as expressed in Nymphlight, Home Poor Heart centred around the desire to recapture all lost things as a slow realisation towards the significance of death: nostalgia in the other direction, as it were, sounding a satisfying bass note against the backdrop of a "grace, within the disconcerting mystery of time". Anyway, I liked it. ps. There's not much of Joseph Cornell here, if someone was attracted to this book because of the title. Maybe The Grand Hotel Bald Cockatoo. If you like birds in boxes, I do recommend "A Convergence of Birds", though. It has lots of pictures too. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopherseelie

    In the same vein as Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, except that the Hotels are built upon much more recognizable devotions and desires. Coover keeps a firm hand on the narration, so that the reader may not succumb to vertigo, as is often the case with Calvino. A Tip: Look at the collage boxes of Joseph Cornell to get a better idea of the spirit of this book. In the same vein as Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, except that the Hotels are built upon much more recognizable devotions and desires. Coover keeps a firm hand on the narration, so that the reader may not succumb to vertigo, as is often the case with Calvino. A Tip: Look at the collage boxes of Joseph Cornell to get a better idea of the spirit of this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Poupeh

    There is no limit to human imagination... It's so much fun reading the book. AS if one enters several virtual worlds, building step by step through the words of Coover hotels which are no ordinary hotels but worlds and experiences... And it's so much fun writing pastiches following his style... There is no limit to human imagination... It's so much fun reading the book. AS if one enters several virtual worlds, building step by step through the words of Coover hotels which are no ordinary hotels but worlds and experiences... And it's so much fun writing pastiches following his style...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    The story about the hotel that turns you into a little kid again as soon as you check in, with a glass lobby area for your loved ones to watch you be a kid again? That one was pretty great. I wish that hotel really existed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    Terence Hayes suggested this book and when he talks, I listen!--and he wasn't wrong! Terence Hayes suggested this book and when he talks, I listen!--and he wasn't wrong!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    This is fun, and I think Coover enjoyed writing it. He probably felt that this was a fitting tribute to Cornell, and to which I agree. But I think the shadow boxes that serve as this book's inspiration are worth more words than these, though. I love Robert Coover, and I appreciate his intelligence and humor. I guess I also appreciate these things in the context of his stories though, as opposed to this almost contextless vignette, exhibition stuff. I mean they are contextual within themselves as This is fun, and I think Coover enjoyed writing it. He probably felt that this was a fitting tribute to Cornell, and to which I agree. But I think the shadow boxes that serve as this book's inspiration are worth more words than these, though. I love Robert Coover, and I appreciate his intelligence and humor. I guess I also appreciate these things in the context of his stories though, as opposed to this almost contextless vignette, exhibition stuff. I mean they are contextual within themselves as a work, obviously . . . Anyway, some ponderable stuff in here. Poetic, in a some senses. It's essentially a free verse chapbook. Recommended for proponents of "brief encounters," of which this book is one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ian W. Hill

    A beautiful series of miniatures, at first seeming less than meets the eye (or perhaps, a small sideline to Coover's large fine novels) but gradually expanding in heart and head to be something more significant , not unlike the Cornell boxes that seems to have inspired the pieces. Reminiscent of George W.S. Trow's more comic NEW YORKER pieces about the "Hotel Reine-American," but takes the conceit in a different direction. A beautiful series of miniatures, at first seeming less than meets the eye (or perhaps, a small sideline to Coover's large fine novels) but gradually expanding in heart and head to be something more significant , not unlike the Cornell boxes that seems to have inspired the pieces. Reminiscent of George W.S. Trow's more comic NEW YORKER pieces about the "Hotel Reine-American," but takes the conceit in a different direction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    cold green tea

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brent Van Horne

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Clarity

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Huê

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim Callan

  23. 4 out of 5

    David

  24. 5 out of 5

    Noah Leventhal

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Baker

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  28. 4 out of 5

    5446myno

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maia Wegmann

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Jagger

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