Irving, John: The Hotel New Hampshire
(researched by John Williams)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Published by Elsevier-Dutton Publishing Co., Inc. 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016, 1981 Simultaneously published in Canada by Clark, Irwin & Company Limited, Toronto and Vancouver
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First Edition published in cloth
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
401 pages in 12 chapters First page of text lies on page 1
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The novel is neither edited nor is it introduced. However, it is dedicated to his wife Shyla and reads, "for my wife Shyla whose love provided the light and the space for five novels"
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Dust jacket is not illustrated although it was designed by Terry Fehr. Jacket contains large attractive and decorative print. There is no illusration within the book.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The book is a very attractive volume. The dust jacket is well done in a very simplistic way and is very presentable in its hard cover. The dust jacket is done in a deep maroon with biege and grey print. The actual hard cover is grey with the author's signature engraved on the front and the name of the author and the publishing company done in red along the binding On the cack cover of the dust jacket is a photograph of Irving with a cat. The type style is large and clear and is very readable. When the book is open to any given page of text, the title of the chapter appears at the top of the right page and "The Hotel Hew Hampshire " appears above the left. Overall the book is very attractive and much easier to read and enjoy than later soft cover editions that I have seen.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper quality is excellent. It is of heavy weight, textured and jagged on the side edge. The copy examined is holding up very well with no signs of deterioration.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is secured to the pages with bindary glue. It is then stitched to the hard cover with some of the remaining spaces reinforced with the same glue. There is a resultant gap between the binding and the hard cover but it appears strong over all with no signs of pulling loose.
12 Transcription of title page
John Irving
The Hotel New Hampshire
A Henry Robbins Book E.P. Dutton New York
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
There is no information regarding the manuscripte holdings of this author. It is assumed that they still reside with the author as he is still alive.
Sources: OCLC Passport (National Union Catalog ARLIN Dictionary of Literary Biography Subject Coillections
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Irving, John The Hotel Hew Hampshire "A Henry Robbins Book"
I.Title PS3559.R8H6 1981 813.54 81-2610 AACR2 ISBN: 0-525-12800-X
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
NAL/Dutton Mailing Address 375 Hudson St. New York, NY 10014-3657 (212) 366-2000 (212) 366-2666 FAX (800) 331-4624 Toll Free Contacts: Walter Friedman Cherie Gillette Marvin Brown Pres. Elaine Koster Sr. VP & Pub
Sources: The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving VIRGO Infotrac Search Bank Bibliographical Description OCLC Passport (National Union Catalog ARLIN Dictionary of Literary Biography Subject Collections
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John 1997 Ballantine Books $12.95 Trade Paper
Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John 1995 Ballantine Books $6.99 Mass Market
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Pocket Books 1989 Mass Market $6.99
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Pocket Books 1986 Mass Market $4.95 (Out of stock indefinitely)
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Pocket Books 1984 Trade Paper (Out of stock indefinitely)
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Pocket Books 1982 Trade Paper (Out of stock indefinitely)
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Pocket Books First Pocket Books printing September 1982 17 16 15 14 13
6 Last date in print?
The Hotel New Hampshire, Irving, John Ballantine Books, Inc. May, 1997 $12.95
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
A representative from both Ballantine and Pocket Books notified me and told me that this information was unavailible.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
See #7
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
There was a poster that advertised the film version of the novel that had a bear holding a suitcase w
ith The Hotel New Hampshire written on it.
Source: Alternate John Irving by Gary Norris
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
1984 Filmline Productions film Orion Pictures Corporation Written and Directed: Tony Richardson Starring: Rob Lowe, Jody Foster, Beau Bridges, Mattew Modine, Wallace Shawn Budget: 7.5M Gross: 5.1M
Source: Alternate John Irving by Gary Norris
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Italian: "II Piu' Importante Scrittore Americano Della Nuova Generazione Traduzione di Pier Francesco Paolini" ISBN 88-452-1079-0 c. 1981 by Garp Enterprises, Ltd. c. 1982 Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, Bomplani, Sonzogno, Etas S.p.A. Via Mecenate 91-Milano VI edizione "I Grandi Tascabili" marzo 1989. 422915/32 [paperback]
Norwegian The Hotel New Hampshire Overstatt au Tormod Haugen Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Oslo. En Magnumbok fra Gyldendal. ISBN 82 05 17625 6
United Kingdom Edition Hotel New Hampshire 7.99 Sterling C8.528.n.e. Paperback, June 1986 Published by: Corgi Source: Alternate John Irving by Gary Norris
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
John Winslow Irving is an American author and was born to mother Frances Winslow Irving on March 2, 1942 in Exeter, New Hampshire where he lived with she and his stepfather Colin F.N. Irving. Irving attended The
Phillips Exeter Academy (1961), The University of Pittsburgh, The University of Vienna, The University of New Hampshire (where he graduated cum laude in 1965), and finally The University of Iowa where he received his Master of Fine Arts in 1967. He is ma
rried to wife Shyla Leary whom he met while at The University of New Hampshire and together they have two sons, Colin and Brendan. Irving is both a commercial and critical success as his books have received many awards during his tenure on the best seller list. The World According To Garp (1980) won The American Book Award and was nominated for The National Book Critics Circle Award
, The National Book Award, and The Pulitzer Prize. His novels also have the destinction of being translated into fifteen different languages. Irving was first published at age twenty-seven and his list of published books since then includes Setting Free The Bears (1969), The Water-Method Man (1972), The 158-Pound Marriage (1974), The World According To Garp (1978), The Cider House Rules (1985),
A Prayer For Owen Meany (1989), and A Son Of The Circus (1994). The original manuscripts of these novels as well as the rest of his writings and original works are believed to still reside with the author himself as he is still alive. The Hotel New Hampshire is not the only novel of Irving's to reach the best seller list. The Cider House Rules and A Prayer For Owen Meany became best sellers in their respective dates of release as well.
Sources: Cyclopedia of World Authors World Authors Larousse Dictionary of Writers Biography Index Contemporary Novelists
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Reviewed by: R.A Blake, America 145:303 N 14 '81 800w Benjamin DeMott, Atlantic 248:101 O '81 2800w Victor Howes, Christian Science Monitor pB4 O 14 '81 450w S.G. Kellman, Commonweal 108:630 N 6 '81 1050w Thomas Lavoie, Library Journal 106:1565 Ag'81 130w Robert Towers, New York review of Books 28:12 N 5 '81 2850w James Atlas, New York Times Book Review p1 S 13 '81 3800w Charles Nicol, National Review 33:1428 N 27 '81 1300w Gene Lyons, Nation 233:277 S 26 '81 3050w Jack Beatty New Republic 185:37 S 23 '81 950w Mike Poole, New Statesman 102:29 O 30 '81 250w P.S. Prescott, Newsweek 98:101 S 21 '81 900w Eric Korn, Times Literary Supplement (London) p1302 N 6 '81 1100w Critique, No.1 1981, pp. 82-96 Detroit News, August 30, 1981
"Again and again The Hotel New Hampshire disappointed me by the perfunctoriness of its situations and their handling" "Characters are for the most part glibly sketched in or else sentimentalized... only Franny seems successfully realized" "The 'throw-away' attitude toward the material is matched by the slackness of the style" "Nowhere in The Hotel New Hampshire does the language have the confidance, the aphoristic precision, and the vivacity that are among the pleasures of The World According To Garp" -Robert Towers, New York Review of Books 1981
"The Hotel New Hampshire is rich from start to finish in incongruous juxtapositions and it offers genuine pleasures... [it is also] an exceedingly dense and clever work" "I found a certain frailty in the books emotional life" -Benjamin DeMott, Atlantic 1981
"This book is oddly passionless, particularily for one whose plot centers around fortuitous airplane disasters as well as incest, rape, pornography, and political terrorism" "The Hotel New Hampshire is ultimately not only a confusing but a boring novel" -Gene Lyons, Nation 1981
"Irving resorts to a gee-whiz idiom right out of 'Leave it To Beaver'" -James Atlas, New York Times Book Review
"Irving keeps us moving, sacrificing rhetoric to pace, as in the most primitive narrative forms, the fable and the fairy tale" "We all want to check into The Hotel New Hampshire... it is the sympathy space where we can be fully known and yet fully loved, and where a powerful imagination holds us fast and won't let us die" -Jack Beatty, New Republic
Summary: The net judgement of these contemporary reviewers is highly negative towards the book as a whole. Most of them find it trite, often lacking in emotion, and devoid of life. However, there is also an underlying theme that shields Irving from the barrage o
f negativity, they all know that he is a good writer. Most of them do not like this book at all but like Irving, and his techniques. In certain instances a critic, such as Robert Towers criticizes The Hotel New Hampshire by comparing it to The World Acc
ording to Garp, an Irving novel that he obviously enjoyed. DeMott and Beatty seem to have enjoyed the book the most but they were definitely in the minority with these contemporary critics.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Reviewed by: R.A Blake, America 145:303 N 14 '81 800w Benjamin DeMott, Atlantic 248:101 O '81 2800w Victor Howes, Christian Science Monitor pB4 O 14 '81 450w S.G. Kellman, Commonweal 108:630 N 6 '81 1050w Thomas Lavoie, Library Journal 106:1565 Ag'81 130w Robert Towers, New York review of Books 28:12 N 5 '81 2850w James Atlas, New York Times Book Review p1 S 13 '81 3800w Charles Nicol, National Review 33:1428 N 27 '81 1300w Gene Lyons, Nation 233:277 S 26 '81 3050w Jack Beatty New Republic 185:37 S 23 '81 950w Mike Poole, New Statesman 102:29 O 30 '81 250w P.S. Prescott, Newsweek 98:101 S 21 '81 900w Eric Korn, Times Literary Supplement (London) p1302 N 6 '81 1100w Critique, No.1 1981, pp. 82-96 Detroit News, August 30, 1981
"Again and again The Hotel New Hampshire disappointed me by the perfunctoriness of its situations and their handling" "Characters are for the most part glibly sketched in or else sentimentalized... only Franny seems successfully realized" "The 'throw-away' attitude toward the material is matched by the slackness of the style" "Nowhere in The Hotel New Hampshire does the language have the confidance, the aphoristic precision, and the vivacity that are among the pleasures of The World According To Garp" -Robert Towers, New York Review of Books 1981
"The Hotel New Hampshire is rich from start to finish in incongruous juxtapositions and it offers genuine pleasures... [it is also] an exceedingly dense and clever work" "I found a certain frailty in the books emotional life" -Benjamin DeMott, Atlantic 1981
"This book is oddly passionless, particularily for one whose plot centers around fortuitous airplane disasters as well as incest, rape, pornography, and political terrorism" "The Hotel New Hampshire is ultimately not only a confusing but a boring novel" -Gene Lyons, Nation 1981
"Irving resorts to a gee-whiz idiom right out of 'Leave it To Beaver'" -James Atlas, New York Times Book Review
"Irving keeps us moving, sacrificing rhetoric to pace, as in the most primitive narrative forms, the fable and the fairy tale" "We all want to check into The Hotel New Hampshire... it is the sympathy space where we can be fully known and yet fully loved, and where a powerful imagination holds us fast and won't let us die" -Jack Beatty, New Republic
Summary: The net judgement of these contemporary reviewers is highly negative towards the book as a whole. Most of them find it trite, often lacking in emotion, and devoid of life. However, there is also an underlying theme that shields Irving from the barrage o
f negativity, they all know that he is a good writer. Most of them do not like this book at all but like Irving, and his techniques. In certain instances a critic, such as Robert Towers criticizes The Hotel New Hampshire by comparing it to The World Acc
ording to Garp, an Irving novel that he obviously enjoyed. DeMott and Beatty seem to have enjoyed the book the most but they were definitely in the minority with these contemporary critics.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving is a novel about an odd family that follows the dream of it's father on a roller coaster ride in the hotel business. As in most of Irving's work, the characters are the cent
er-piece of the narrative. The novel relies very little on plot. The action stems from the complexity of character and the dynamic changes that they endure. It is this aspect of the novel that critics seem to give the most attention. The characters em
otions, desires, dreams, and fears are the things that either captivate or disgust the majority of reviewers. However, one way or the other, Irving's creation of character is the inevitable focus of any commentary on The Hotel New Hampshire.
The majority of reviews that I found on The Hotel New Hampshire are for the most part, negative. However there is a trend among critics of Irving's book to criticize with respect. Although many did not like the book, most of them do not pass over the op
portunity to compliment him in some way before criticizing his latest effort. This implies a wide range of respect for Irving's prior work as well as his style as a writer as a whole and many critics find a review of The Hotel New Hampshire an irresistib
le opportunity to flash-back to his other work leaving Irving somewhat of a victim of his own talent.
Although this novel is unique in many ways, it draws an easy comparison to other Irving novels published before it, especially The World According To Garp. According to James Atlas of The New York Times Book Review, Irving's earlier works do prefigure ce
rtain themes that he later explores in greater depth. However, he goes on to say, "they do not prepare the reader for the sheer abundance of Garp or for the superb display of narrative self-confidence with which the author directs his characters in their
vaudevillian turns." Atlas makes this statement in his review of The Hotel New Hampshire to criticize Irving's choice of narrative style through compliment, a common route taken by many other critics of Irving's work. He says, "For the sake of the aut
hor's career, such a performance should ideally be followed by a very different kind of book, one that would not constantly invite comparison with its remarkable predecessor. Irving obviously had other intentions, for he made it almost impossible for any
one familiar with Garp to read The Hotel New Hampshire without constant cross-referral to the former." Atlas uses compliment to criticize because he realizes Irving's narrative gifts even if he does not agree with certain choices and nuances of this par
ticular Irving work.
The distinct presence of character does not automatically inject a high level of emotion into this novel according to certain critics. I am blown away by the abundance of emotion laced throughout each character, even the most minor, in the story and feel
that each has his or her distinctly personal passions and pains. However this feeling is not shared by most critics. For example, Benjamin DeMott says, "The Hotel New Hampshire is rich from start to finish, in incongruous juxtapositions and it offers g
enuine pleasures. It is also an exceedingly dense and clever work. However I found a certain frailty in the book's emotional life: feelings such as terror, lust and resentment need powerful invocation to be persuasive." Once again we have a critic who
finds fault but first pays compliment. DeMott goes on to say that it is Irving's need to be clever as well as the density of all that he tries to tackle is what takes away from the emotion of the work. He says, "The author's charm and jokey off-handedn
ess -his very fascination with his eye for incongruity- conspire to muffle and miniaturize [the emotion]. Everything is a fairy tale."
Other critics use Irving's prior work to show the exceptional quality of The Hotel New Hampshire, however this type of review is far less common. Jack Beatty says, "Frankly, I hated Garp and I picked up the new novel expecting to hate it too. Instead I
liked it. Feeling made the difference. In Garp, it all flows back on Irving's alter ego; in The Hotel New Hampshire, it flows out, bringing a whole family to life on a wide current of care." In this case, Beatty praises exactly what DeMott criticizes,
emotion. He claims this book to be the more exceptionally emotional yet he still uses Irving's prior work as a springboard towards his commentary.
The critical attention given to Irving and his latest work tie in to the public persona of the author. He is prolific and popular even if his works are not always critical sensations. The way that the critics pinpoint positive aspects of Irving's style
in order to criticize him shows that there is a tremendous amount of his work that they do enjoy. The public enjoyed his work enough to place The Hotel New Hampshire on the best seller list of 1981 even though the book was not widely accepted by reviewer
s. This popularity as well as the public's dedication to his character-driven style of narrative lead to the film version of the book. It is not the type of novel that is conducive to a main stream, Hollywood blockbuster audience such as a John Grisham
or Tom Clancy novel. It is however more of an arthouse film. The film, released in 1986, was fairly successful at the box office when compared to other films of its minimal budget. This lead to a small resurgence in the book's popularity however not en
ough to garner much more critical attention aside from film reviews. Ironically, the film reviews may have been part of what made the film version a success. Although critics did not particularly like the novel, the majority of them loved the film. I t
hink a part of this comes from the fact that the action of the film comes with more of a balance than that of the book. Although it remains character driven and emotionally charged, the films director, Tony Richardson seems to give physicality to the emo
tion that perhaps critics felt was lacking in the novel. Critic Lawrence O'Toole said, "Watching The Hotel New Hampshire is like being caught in the middle of a traffic accident. So much happens so quickly that the action sweeps the viewer along. Tony
Richardson's brilliant adaptation of John Irving's dark and sentimental novel is a masterpiece of compression." After seeing the film version, I think that compression is the key word in this review. Richardson charges the film with the energy it needs
to match the pace of the book while condensing the action to a more manageable scope.
The Hotel New Hampshire was popular among the public upon its release in November of 1981 and then tapered off dramatically in the early months of 1982. Many other best sellers stay on the list for months and even years but not The Hotel New Hampshire.
It's reliance on character, quirky narrative and minimal emphasis on plot have a great deal to do with this and could be looked at as a possible statement about the American reader of popular fiction. Irving's book has death and sex, however they are mas
ked by his jovial characterizations and are not the focus of the narrative. These traits are some of the reasons for the quick drop from the best seller list. Some of the undeclared or unrecognized reasons for the books popularity and subsequent resurge
nce at the point of the film version release may stem from the transition from the attitudes in the late seventies to those beginning to emerge in the early eighties. Economics played an enormous role in the Reagan era which had begun just a short year b
efore the original publication of The Hotel New Hampshire. However, the financial world was still open enough to allow families and individuals to take chances with their investments. These factors may have contributed to Irving's decision to set the no
vel in the various hotels that the family attempts to run as well as the looseness of the characters attitudes towards exploration. They not only take risks financially but with things such as sex and lust. The public obviously saw something about this
family that intrigued them. Whether it was their own ability or inability to take financial and emotional risks or their difficulties in understanding the complexities of their own families, there is an abundance of attractive qualities to choose from in
The Hotel New Hampshire.
The book's popularity stems from many different sources and attitudes alive in the late seventies and early eighties. The film version however, rekindled some of that popularity in the mid-eighties. I think a part of what brought interest back to the st
ory was the enormous struggle for identity among young people during the middle to late years of this decade. The Hotel New Hampshire is built around the learning process of growing up and is accentuated by the intricate depth of Irving's characterizatio
n. Each of the characters is complex and struggles to figure out their own identity. This was a major theme of the nineteen-eighties that may have lead to the making of the film version as well as its moderate success.
John Irving's work is widely accepted among critics and the general public. Although The Hotel New Hampshire was not a critical success, his status as a writer propelled his book onto the best seller list. It is a crazy ride with a crazy family but what
makes it great, and what makes Irving's work great is his ability to see his reader's understanding of the craziness in us all.
Atlas, James New York Times Book Review Atlas, James New York Times Book Review DeMott, Benjamin Atlantic DeMott, Benjamin Atlantic Beatty, Jack New Republic O'Toole, Lawrence MacLean's
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