Nightfall Hotel: A Surrealist Romeo and Juliet

Nanos Valaoritis

ISBN 978-1-935244-15-8

About the Book

A couple—locked together in a hotel room—spends their time in this claustrophobic space with games and dreams. Nanos Valaoritis wrote Nightfall Hotel (L’hôtel de la nuit qui tombe) to expand on André Breton’s liberating surrealist use of language, after he was introduced to it by his friends Odysseas Elytis and Nikos Gatsos. First staged in Paris in 1959, Nightfall Hotel confronts us with “mad love” (amour fou) and bears witness to influences ranging from Surrealism to the Theatre of the Absurd.

This volume contains the original play in French, an English translation, and a critical analysis.

Praise for the Author and the Book

“… [Valaoritis is] one of the most distinguished and enigmatic of modern Greek poets, full of Platonic wisdom. His originality of temperament is a most singular thing…”

—Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet

“Valaoritis makes dialogue the center of his theatrical works. Absurdity transfigures the minds of the audience, who unwittingly become equal participants in the couple’s psycho-erotic drama.”

—Lili White, director of Another Experiment by Women Film Festival

“The magnificent writing in Nightfall Hotel guides the reader through an emotional and imagistic labyrinth.”

—Lili Bita, actress and author of Fleshfire: Love Poems

About the Author

Nanos Valaoritis was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1921. He studied literature and law at the universities of Athens, London, and the Sorbonne. Between 1954-60, he lived in Paris and met André Breton and the Surrealists. From 1968 to 1993 he taught compar ative literature and creative writing at the State University of San Francisco, and while there, his poetic texts were published by City Lights of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He organized the presentation of the Greek Surrealists at the Pompidou Centre in 1990-91. In 2009 he was awarded the Grand National Prize for Literature for his life oeuvre. His books have been published in Engl ish and French translations.

About the Translator

Vassiliki Rapti holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with an Emphasis in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis (2006) and was Preceptor in Modern Greek at Harvard University during the years 2008-2016. She is currently Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College and Chair of the Ludics Seminar of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University. In 2014 she founded the Advanced Training in Greek Poetry Translation Workshop, which she has run since then. She recently was appointed Director of "Literary Translations" of the international multi-disciplinary electronic literary review Levure Littéraire. She is the author of the monographs Ludics in Surrealist Theatre and Beyond (Ashgate, 2013) and Air, Water, Earth, Fire in the Poetry of Nikos Engonopoulos (Romi, 2015) and of several poetry collections including Transitorium (Somerset Hall Press, 2015).