People of Facebook: As part of the renovation/expansion currently underway at randisaloman

People of Facebook: As part of the renovation/expansion currently underway at randisaloman.com, I’m looking to put together (over time) a 19th/20th C hotel literature database: essentially a collection of resources about 1) literary works featuring hotels (novels, stories, essays, plays, memoirs, etc) 2) real hotels with literary significance (because authors lived/wrote/met in them; because they were fictionalized in literary works, etc. 3) literary criticism dealing with hotels (and boarding houses, resorts, etc). 4) A photo gallery of images of the “real” hotels 5) Another gallery of images/video clips of movie versions of the fictionalized hotels. I could also have links to other relevant work on hotels, to course syllabi (I’m looking at you, Shawna Ross), and basically to anything else that turned out to be useful or productive for those working in this area. I’d also (long term goal) like to take a page from Amanda Golden and begin mapping some of these places so that visitors to the site can go right to them. So…the first question is “What do you think? The second is “Do you have ideas for refining the plan/organizing it better/adding or subtracting elements?” And the third is, “Will you start sending me your examples so we can begin filling it all in?”

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33 thoughts on “People of Facebook: As part of the renovation/expansion currently underway at randisaloman”

    1. Ooh! I actually haven’t read that one…Truthfully I’m not sure I’ve read any Waugh beyond Brideshead and Decline and Fall. Putting it on my reading list.

    1. Good question! For me, it’s because hotels offer up (both in the literature and in the conceptions of writers at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th C) new ways of thinking about domesticity and home. And because those trials often yield much more positive, productive, and interesting results than are acknowledged (what work there is on hotels tends to cast them as representative of the angst and homelessness of modern and postmodern life).

  1. But that’s not to say that post offices and restaurants don’t tell their own stories. There’s been some really good work on restaurants of late–& I just came across a PhD candidate in the UK writing on post offices.

  2. The Hotel, of course, by Elizabeth Bowen.
    The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf.
    Troubles by J. G. Farrell.
    The Shining by Stephen King.

    1. Thanks, Jay! I’m still traumatized by the burning of the cats in Troubles. To the point where the entire rest of the novel has been subsumed by it in my mind. And I’ve seen (of course) but never actually read The Shining.

  3. The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
    At Bertram’s Hotel, A Caribbean Mystery, and Evil Under the Sun, all by Agatha Christie.
    Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
    Hotel World by Ali Smith
    No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym
    Party Going by Henry Green
    Much of Waugh’s Scoop is set at a hotel. And the first part of DuMaurier’s Rebecca.

  4. Joseph Roth (name escapes me) and Ali Smith (Hotel World), Anita Brookner (oops, already mentioned!) and I bet there are some Aussie authors, too. Will think on’t. Nice idea!

  5. The White Hotel by DM Thomas, one of my all-time favorites! Not so much about a real hotel though! But exquisite and painful!

    1. Saikat, I’ve started that book more than once and wasn’t able to get into it. But you’re right–I’ll try again…What does the title refer to, if it isn’t giving away something important?

  6. Randi Saloman OK so what you’re saying is, a hotel can be a place with its own sort of soul, as opposed to e.g. an anonymous chain franchise where some corporate cog spends the night preceding a day of boring meetings? FWIW I work in the online lodging industry, so my view of hotels is more like the latter thing… I need to read your book!

  7. Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country
    Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight
    Henry James’s chapters on New York City in The American Scene (and “Daisy Miller,” of course)

  8. Krzysztof Majewski Yes, that’s a good way of putting it. And also of explaining why there IS (I would argue) a turn to a more existentialist/despairing vision of the hotel as the 20th C goes on and syndicates/chains/motels take over.

  9. Clearly I need to put in some Waugh time! And go back to Rebecca, which I THINK I read a long time ago, but remember not at all in detail.

  10. Randi an interesting project. It is a very big project. It will need a focus but there is a lot of merit, for now, trawling wide. There are hotels per se, but motels, bed and breakfasts, public houses and turning the clock back further – coaching inns. I think ‘literature’ could easily spill over into popular culture – Eagles ‘Hotel California’ for example and then a shift nearer literature with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel’ – almost poetry? Other parameters – language of the work, just English or others as well (Vicki Baum’s ‘Hotel’ was originally in German); films / television / radio. King’s ‘The Shining’ is a book and film. Today’s contribution to your list is ‘The Prancing Pony’ frpm Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.

    1. It *is* big, Martin, no question. The book project itself will have a tighter focus on British and Anglophone writers and be looking specifically at narrative fiction. But yes, even so, it keep blooming and expanding out of my hands…(And here I confess that I don’t think I’ve ever actually read Lord of the Rings!!)

  11. If you’re including rooming houses, you’ve gotta include Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

    I’m wondering if/why there isn’t more motel literature–like, those run-down roadside joints. Barry Gifford’s novels feature them, I guess. And Lolita.

    1. There is! A lot of that I’d say falls into the more angsty later 20th C lit (as opposed to what I see as a particularly optimistic or productive moment happening earlier on…).

  12. Been forever since I read it! Several of Freud’s case histories figure in it, are fictionalized there in fact, as far as I remember. And there’s the holocaust, there’s always the holocaust.