Inscribed by Vicki Baum
BAUM, Vicki. Grand Hotel. Translated by Basil Creighton. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1931.
First American edition (first published in German in 1929 as Menschen im Hotel). Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper: “To Mrs/Bertha Musch/Vicki Baum.” Octavo (8 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches; 205 x 140 mm.). , 309, [3, blank] pp.
Original blue cloth with front cover ruled in blind and lettered in gilt and spine lettered in gilt. Minimal fading to board edges at top and bottom, minimal rubbing to spine extremities. Slight browning in the gutter of the front free endpaper and the preliminary blank leaf and in the gutter of pp. 130 and 131. A near fine copy. In the original pictorial dust jacket (jacket with minimal edgewear and light rubbing to rear panel). This unusual dust jacket has a photographic panorama of a hotel lobby and characters from the stage version, while the inner side has blurbs about Vicki Baum and her novel, including raves by Hugh Walpole and J.B. Priestley.
Vicki Baum (1888-1960) “studied music in Vienna, was an orchestral player in Darmstadt, and after marrying the conductor L. Lert entered the editorial office of the publishing firm Ullstein in 1926. She began in 1919 a series of light novels which combined dramatic events, erotic complications, a vivid and up-to-date contemporary social background, and a discreet dose of sentiment…Her outstanding international success was Menschen im Hotel (1929), which was equally successful as the American film Grand Hotel. She went to America to supervise the filming of this work, remained there, and acquired American nationality. She continued until 1937 to write novels in German. From then until shortly before her death she wrote in English” (The Oxford Companion to German Literature).
“Set in Berlin, in the luxury Grand Hôtel, [Menschen im Hotel] portrays vividly the kaleidoscopic life within it. In a quasi-cinematographic technique various characters are shown both separately and entwined in groups. The ageing ballet star Grusinskaja spends a night with the crook Baron Gaigern. The seedy clerk with heart trouble, Herr Kringelein, feels the urge for once to stay in a grand hotel and, after various humiliations, finds in the secretary Flämmchen a sweet-tempered companion to share his bed. Generaldirektor Preysing, the businessman, is less successful with Flämmchen and runs into serious trouble when, erroneously believing himself to be in danger, he shoots Baron Gaigern. These and other figures pass and re-pass; the good at heart (or some of them) are rewarded, the mean come to grief” (The Oxford Companion to German Literature). Item #00490
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