The Beat Hotel: American Writers in Paris, 1957-1963

By Matthew Nilsson

Standing on the shores of Paris’ Left Bank, tucked away on Rue Gît-le-Cœur, I check my map, look up, and there it is—the Beat Hotel. Scanning the beige unassuming exterior, the only indication I can find that this present-day boutique hotel once housed some of the best minds of a generation is a transparent plaque with a list of the hotel’s most renowned patrons: Brion Gysin, Harold Norse, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Ian Sommerville, and William Burroughs—all members of the legendary Beat Movement.

It was within these walls that several of the most i...

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