The best thing about this collaboration between Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs is its gruesomely comic title: “And the Hippos Were. 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. And the Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks is now published for the first time. A barely encrypted roman à clef, it is narrated by Will Dennison.

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Though definitely an invaluable literary artifact and of interest to Beat junkies, this is little more than that. Written inthe story is based on their friend Lucian Carr who murdered another friend of everyone’s at that time.

Apr 09, Reid rated it really liked it Shelves: He left home in to attend Harvard University, studied English, and anthropology as tanke postgraduate, and later attended medical school in Vienna.

With Brion Gysin, he booiled popularized the literary cut-up technique in works such as The Nova Trilogy — A ghoulish collaboration intrigues Ian Pindar”.

Drifting between late-night bars, friends’ apartments and union halls, they were slowly becoming themselves, Kerouac slumming around as a half-hearted merchant seaman and Burroughs embarking on his patient metamorphosis into a wire-veined votary of morphine. The book tells the story of a murder committed by a friend of theirs while on were young and living in New York. Want to Read saving…. Like bite into yout cocktail glass and start chewing.

Welcome to the book biz. I couldn’t tell who was writing unless I read the chapter heading.

A first stab at Beat

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. My big problem with “Hippos” was that I couldn’t feel sympathy for any of the characters. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


They never were able to get it published, being unknown, and the publishers thinking it would have no sales appeal.

So it was either my inner Beat scholar or my inner drooling fan-boy completist take your pick who was delighted to fanks Burroughs in this passage trying out a prototype of the cosmic cynic and ultimate outsider-by-choice stance he would eventually perfect.

Next, Carr went to visit Kerouac, who responded differently, helping Carr to dispose of the murder weapon, and then taking him on a tour of the city to talk about what happened. All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else’s nose to prove that they th been somewhere or done something.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Hippos was written about a murder in the fheir 40’s from the perspectives of two close friends of the victim and murderer. The crime was front-page news.

When Kammerer and Carr left the bar at three in the morning, to walk and talk by the Hudson River, it was the last time anyone would see Kammerer alive.

A few months later, they were caught up in the crime in a different way. Most the description was about what they were drinking – anything with alcohol. He hipppos asked tannks person who published this not to do it while he was alive. The war ended, and the Beats went on.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

According to James Grauerholznumerous attempts were made by Kerouac and others to get the book published, until Burroughs brought a lawsuit over the use of quotations from the manuscript that appeared in New York magazine in ; the suit, which was settled in the s, established the ownership of the work. Indeed, And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks has reached a time when it will be loved, and that raises real questions over its literary merit.


If the narrative is not a masterpiece, then at the very least we have here an important document of a time that is no longer with us. In between, there was a description, by Kerouac, in Vanity of Duluozbut the truth was heavily distorted.

The story was set in NY during Topics Crime fiction The Observer. They submitted their manuscript—called And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks after an absurd line from a radio bulletin about a circus fire—to publishers, but it was rejected and confined to a filing cabinet for decades. Great glimpses of New York in the forties, especially having to dress nice and how you got treated if you didn’t. For many years, Burroughs maintained that the title of the novel came from his memory of a radio report about a fire at the St.

He had befriended Lucien Carr and agreed not to publish the manuscript in Carr’s lifetime, although an excerpt from the book was included in the Burroughs omnibus Word Viruspublished by Grove after the writer’s death but approved by Burroughs before he died.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks

Many times the two of them hung out together. Interesting people fighting the mundane. Published by Grove Press first published So this is the story of Lucien Carr and David Kammerer that ended up with one killing the other. Yet, I know for many people hip;os wouldn’t be a good read.

Jack and Will are unwitting accomplices when Lucius Carr kills David Kammerer though this account is very fictionalized.