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THE GRAND HOTELS of Joseph Cornell by: Robert Coover

THE GRAND HOTEL NIGHT VOYAGE THE GRAND HOTEL NIGHT VOYAGE, described in its brochure as a “soaring tower of dreams and visions for transient romantics with repressed desires and eventless lives”, is the archetypal grand hotel, first of its kind and said to be the progenitor of all others. Originally designed as a hot air balloon (thus, its name), it acquired its pagoda-like tower—at the same time still under construction—as a consequence of an unexpected descent, although the lobby with its caged tropical birds, its musical fountain, and its bright yellow walls, lined with mirrors, movie posters, and paintings of dancers and acrobats, retains still some of the lost balloon’s original charm and gaiety.

Indeed, this chance encounter of balloon and tower, so like that of hotel guests in, say the elevator or common restrooms or the hair saloon, not only brought the Grand Hotel Night Voyage into existence, but fortuitous juxtaposition became standard requirement for grad hotel classifica-

tion thereafter. Though the

lobby is even aglitter with its myriad reflections, bright paint, and exotic plumage, however,

there appears to be at check-in time, driveling in from stairwells, elevator shafts, and inner passages, a sombre blue haze, faintly redolent of fresh cut paper and silver nitrate

and of grass, made fragrant by eve

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no do ub

le beds in

the Gran d Hot el N i

gh t

ya Vo

ge. Many of

the rooms have no walls, it’s true; or, better said, none of the rooms have walls all the time; but they do not communicate with one another. One may well meet fellow travelers in the night’s cor se migrations (one series of diss speaks of this, not as reemerg passing by, but as a passing through), but they will not necessarily be residents of the same hotel. For those who are regulars here, as are most, it is upon entering (or being entered by) this curling blue mist unlike the gas th once lifted balloon sky one b

Which is to say: back in the real world once more, safely removed from the impossible fantasy of one’s own incomprehensible passage through what are known beyond the hotel as time and world. Behind the front desk, the bright open expanse of the lobby gives way to the comforting shadows of the intricately compartmentalized interior, with its ancient twisted staircases that rise and fall like heaving waves, its muffled whir and whispers of dreams past seeking to reconstitute themselves, and its meandering labyrinth of dark wainscoted rridors with their eemingly infinite solving and ging doors.

t, not hat the hot air yward, that begins to feel at home.

Discreet night porters are available as guides and translators for the inexperienced, and room service offers a full range of scientific and whimsical instruments, mechanical devices, and

recording equipment to assist all voyagers in their explorations. Which for many begin even before a

room is entered, such peace and harmony do they find here. The pleasure felt by the travelers as they



the h


innermost recesses is reciprocal: The hotel, too, seems to experience a profound elemental harmony as it

fills with guests, and, as the night deepens, the entire Grand Hotel Night Voyage, afloat now in its rich blue fog, begins slowly to expand and contract

as if t




s. reath b l u f pose

The Grand Hotel Night Voyage The Grand Hotel Penny Arcade

The Grand Hotel Night Voyage. The first hotel of the Grand Hotels—of Joseph Cornell, by Robert Coover. The book is an invitation to explore the human psyche through ten very particular hotels:

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

Illustration and Design by: Maria Samaniego This book is not for profit of any kind , it is a self directed project and part of a personal portfolio.

Grand hotel Night Voyage  

Re-work of Robert Coover's The Grand Hotels of Joseph Cornell. For portfolio purposes only.

Grand hotel Night Voyage  

Re-work of Robert Coover's The Grand Hotels of Joseph Cornell. For portfolio purposes only.