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The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs and Corso in Paris, 1957-1963

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Beat Hotel is a delightful chronicle of a remarkable moment in American literary history. From the Howl obscenity trial to the invention of the cut-up technique, Barry Miles's extraordinary narrative chronicles the feast of ideas that was Paris, where the Beats took awestruck audiences with Duchamp and Celine, and where some of their most important work came to fruitio ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 27th 2001 by Grove Press (first published 2000)
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The one thing that stuck me as weird about this book is that Burroughs, Ginsberg, Corso, and others didn't really mixed in with the French artists/writers of that same period. I mean Camus, Vian, Sartre, Cocteau, were all there - yet the Beats kept to themselves. It sort of turns me off on them. A typical American behavior to move anywhere in the world and it's still America. Which is ironic with respect to the Beats..

But saying that I think Miles got the voices and times down in this biography
GK Stritch
Informative bio on Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Corso in Paris at 9 rue Git-le-Coeur, 1957-1963, productive years, work. experimentation, and fun and fights with all types including Euro literati and society. Cameos by fascinating companions and other writers and artists who passed through. (Seems the author is not particularly fond of Jack.) I'd like to know more about "La Patronne," Madame Rachou. Here's a poem to honor the lovely little lady.

"I Want to Be Blue Haired Madame G. K. Rachou"

Drew Hoffman
"The Beat Hotel" details the drug and sex fuelled mayhem and madness behind some of the brightest stars of the Beat Generation all of whom resided for a time in a seedy rooming house in France. That the writers and artists detailed here accomplished anything in this atmosphere of general chaos is amazing; that some of them created their most acclaimed masterpieces is nothing less than mind-blowing.
I have been wanting to buy Barry Miles's "The Beat Hotel" for several years, but every copy I've found in bookstores has had a split or a binding problem serious enough that I wouldn't add the copy to my collection. But I still wanted to read the book, and came across it recently in the public library.

"The Beat Hotel" was a filthy, seedy, run-down hotel on Paris's Left Bank that was operated by an old woman who enjoyed the company of writers, artists, and other creative types, and who wasn't bot
I really liked this book until Allen Ginsberg left the hotel and it was about William Burroughs and the cut up technique. I felt like every single sentence included "cut-up technique" from the time Ginsberg left until the end of the book. I like reading about authors' relationships with each other.
An anemic account of American Beat writers living the bohemian life in a hellhole hotel in Paris. Many of the anecdotes described fall flat and lack meaning or interest. The first half of the book follows the silly sybaritic antics of Ginsberg and Corso, fulfilling the ugly american stereotype by being obnoxious and crude in front of Parisian elite and insuling established French artists. This section reveals them to be just goofy unsupervised children who just happen to be heroin addicts a
I am the same age that Ginsberg was during the time that this book is set. He was living in Paris' Left Bank, coming off a huge success with Howl, surrounded by writers and artists, having sex with everyone, doing all kinds of drugs and getting up to all kinds of hijinks. Well and what have I done???

Full of bits of trivia, particularly on Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs, that probably wouldn't be NEW new to anyone that's read other biographies but most of it was NEW new to me. Burroughs l
Fred Sampson
As much an exposition of the literary output of the residents as it is a chronology of their adventures, The Beat Hotel provides real insights into some classic Beat literature. Especially interesting are the various techniques Burroughs employed while creating Naked Lunch, and his cut-up techniques. Goes into much more depth than the film. Enjoyable both for the characters involved and for life in Paris late '50s.
D.B. Pacini
A piece I wrote about Jack Kerouac was recently published in Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, an up and coming Davis, California journal you should check out. After a reading event, a Kerouac fan gave me a copy of THE BEAT HOTEL by Barry Miles. Read this book if you have interest in the Beats, especially their intense relationships with their contemporaries. Some of the material is a retelling of accounts, much will add to your knowledge about these multifaceted writers. Barry Miles has stud ...more
Diana Fay
A decent book for established fans of the Beats. If you are new to Ginsberg Burroughs etc I would recommend starting with the biographies by Bill Morgan and Barry Miles. The last few chapters after Ginsberg's departure were painful. It's a shame G B and Corso were so self absorbed and didn't engage in the French literary scene of the mid to late 50s!
Rachel Matsuoka
This book really brought the beat authors to life for me. It explained in kind of a nonfiction novel-like format their relationships with each other, their quirks and personalities, and the behind-the-scenes influences for their famous (and lesser-known) works of writing. You leave with a very good idea of each individual occupant of hotel at 9 Rue Git-Le-Coeur, and perhaps inspired by their dedication to their art and poetry.
David Rullo
This is really the story of William Burroughs, Brion Gysin and the development of the cut up technique. Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso certainly exist on the fringes but that's really all. Obstensibly this is the story of the Beat Hotel and the period when as many Beat Writers as artists from all schools and disciplines syayed there. A good book that documents an important time of growth for Burroughs.
Ian Drew Forsyth
Well written book, gives you details that are hilarious like allen and gregory's routine of kissing the feet or knees of renowned artists and writers they meet. Bill becomes more inhuman, Allen develops the lovebrain with Peter, Gregory lives his version of a romantic poet with vagabond posturing and rich women hustling, Brion makes the dreamachine and gives Bill the idea for the cut-up
Worth reading if the topic is of interest. It is fairly straightforward and is the correct length for the subject manner.

I did seem some passages that I believe appeared nearly verbatim in Miles's biography of Burroughs. I don't know if that is laziness, an accident, or a sly homage to Burroughs, who would have appreciated such a thing.

Aaron Novak
An indispensable read for anyone researching or simply reading about the Beat Generation. Thoroughly researched, both gossipy and scholarly, and a fun read. One have been a five-star review if it had been more thoroughly edited (i.e I don't need a full explanation of what yage is four times over). Highly recommended.
Jun 13, 2008 Susan is currently reading it
I don't know much about the "French years" of the Beat Generation. I have read, On the Road, and Howl, although it was some time ago. I now want to read Burroughs and Corso, whom I had never before heard of.
I love trashy biographies of writers. Seriously, if booksellers made a section purely for trashy literary bios I'd read through it in a week. This one dulls out after Ginsberg leaves, but in that way I suppose it mirrors life. Good trash for the first half, though.
A thoroughly entertaining read with a rich cast of (real-life) characters - the later period with William Burroughs and Brion Gysin experimenting with cut-ups and the like is particularly fascinating and inspiring
So far this is like "Please Kill Me" but involving the Beat writers. Pretty fuckin' awesome so far... oui!

Can't wait to see the documentary!!! :)
Bob Solomon
fun to read about those wild and whacky beats again but it really is an overblown artistic movement...just saying...
на эпизодах с берроузом только хорошо, и то местами - а вообще безобразно написано
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Author of several books and biographies, most pertaining to musicians and the sixties.

Miles has written biographies of Paul McCartney, The Beatles, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, in addition to books on John Lennon, The Beatles and The Clash.

He is occasionally inaccurately credited as "Miles Mabbett" due to his co-authoring a book with Andy Mabb
More about Barry Miles...

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