Faculty Book: Wayne Koestenbaum
(Soft Skull Press, 2007)
Hotel Theory is actually two books in one: a meditation on the meaning of a hotels, and a dime-novel (Hotel Women), featuring Lana Turner and Liberace. (In the novel, the articles “a,” “an,” and “the” never appear.) The two books, fiction and nonfiction, run concurrently, in twin columns. The nonfiction ruminations on hotels are divided into eight dossiers, composed of short takes on the presence of hotels in the author's dreams, in literature, in film, and in history. Guest-stars in the nonfiction portion of the book include poets, philosophers, writers, and film stars. Hotel Theory is an oblique manifesto for a philosophy of being-here, being-anywhere. It is also a book about the disappearance of writing; in particular, of Walter Benjamin's suicide in a hotel room in Portbou, Spain. Hotel Theory is the place where writing disappears; it is also the locale where a new mode of theorizing (in fiction, in fragment, through quotation and palimpsest) makes itself felt. Wayne Koestenbaum is a distinguished professor of English at the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: JUN 21, 2007