Grove Press is a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. Grove Press was founded on Grove Street in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1947. But its true beginning came in 1951 when twenty-eight-year-old Barney Rossett, Jr. bought the company and turned it into one of the most influential publishers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. From the outset, Rossett took chances: Grove published many of the Beats including William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. In addition, Grove Press became the preeminent publisher of twentieth-century drama in America, publishing the work of Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize for Literature 1969), Bertold Brecht, Eugene Ionesco, David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1984), Harold Pinter (Nobel Prize for Literature 2005), Tom Stoppard, and many more. The press also introduced to American audiences the work of international authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize for Literature 1990), Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel Prize for Literature 1994), Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize for Literature 2004), Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Juan Rulfo. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barney Rossett challenged the obscenity laws by publishing D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and then Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. His landmark court victories changed the American cultural landscape. Grove Press went on to publish literary erotic classics like The Story of O and ground-breaking gay fiction like John Rechy’s City of Night, as well as the works of the Marquis de Sade. On the political front, Grove Press published classics that include Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Che Guevara’s The Bolivian Diary, among many other titles. In 1986, Barney Rosset sold the company and the press became part of Grove Weidenfeld. In 1993 that company was merged with Atlantic Monthly Press to form Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Since 1993, Grove Press has been both a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic publishing fiction, drama, poetry, literature in translation, and general nonfiction. Authors and titles include Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, Robert Olen Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Pulitzer Prize for Literature 1993), Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize 2006), Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish (Commonwealth Prize 2002), Ismail Kadare’s The Siege, Jerzy Kosinski’s Steps (National Book Award 1969), Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, Nick McDonell’s Twelve, Catherine Millet’s The Sexual Life of Catherine M., Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon, Kay Ryan (Poet Laureate of the United States 2008/9) as well as Antonio Lobo Antunes, Will Self, Barry Hannah, Terry Southern, and many others.

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Barry Hannah Long, Last, Happy
Long, Last, Happy

“Barry Hannah is the best fiction writer to appear in the South since Flannery O’Connor.”
Larry Mcmurtry

“Barry Hannah is an original, and one of the most consistently exciting writers of the post-Faulkner generation.”
William Styron, Salon

Click here for more on Barry Hannah and Long, Last, Happy
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Come in with the Dutchman By William S. Burroughs
The legendary unpublished collaboration between William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, a hard-boiled crime novel about a shocking murder at the dawn of the Beat Generation  
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
By William S. Burroughs
Grove Press
978-0-8021-4434-8 • $16.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2009
Fiction

On August 14, 1944, Lucien Carr, a friend of William S. Burroughs from St. Louis, stabbed a man named David Kammerer with a Boy Scout knife and dropped the body into the Hudson River. Kammerer had long fawned over the younger Carr, making romantic advances that, for a time, it seemed Carr didn’t mind. But after six years as the older man’s protégé, either Carr had had enough or he was forced to defend himself. The next day, his clothes stained with blood, he went to his friends Bill Burroughs and Jack Kerouac for help. Doing so, he caught them up in the crime. The two were arrested for failing to inform the police, and a few months later, they were drawn to the crime in a different way.

Something about the murder, with its echoes of Verlaine and Rimbaud, captivated the Beats. Burroughs and Kerouac decided to collaborate on a fictionalization of the events of the summer of 1944, a crime novel in the style of Dashiell Hammett or James M. Cain. They alternated chapters, Burroughs writing as Will Dennison, a bartender steeped in the criminal underworld and Kerouac as Mike Ryko, a hard-drinking merchant marine in dirty chinos. For the title, they settled on a line from a news report they had heard one night while sitting in a bar near Columbus Circle. A circus in Hartford, Connecticut, had caught fire and the radio announcer ended his piece by stating “and the hippos were boiled in their tanks.”

At this point, the writers were far from famous. Burroughs had written next to nothing, and Kerouac, though he had churned out hundreds of thousands of words, had met with little success—it would be five years before his first novel was published. When they submitted the novel to publishers, it was rejected by all, and sat unpublished for decades.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
is an incomparable artifact from the early days of the Beats, a fascinating piece of American literary history, and a remarkable window into the personal lives of two hugely influential writers at the very beginning of their careers. It is also an engaging novel, a hypnotic descent into lust and obsession, drugs and alcohol, art and outsized dreams.
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