Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shakespeare and Company

Continuing on in re-reading A Moveable Feast, I've come to the chapter about Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company...                          
Perhaps one of (and maybe the only one of) my biggest disappointments in Paris was discovering that the current Shakespeare and Company is not the original. Sylvia Beach's original store was on the rue de l'Odéon. This is the place where the expats came in the 20's and where Sylvia risked publishing Ulysses for James Joyce.
The original Shakespeare and Company - Sylvia and Hem are the last two on the right.

The store front is still there, but the original store was closed during WWII. The story is that Sylvia packed up and hid the entire store from the Nazis. 

The original facade.
In 1951, George Whitman opened the current store. Yep, he is a relative of Walt's. It sits right across the street from Notre Dame. After Sylvia's death he named the store Shakespeare and Company in her honor. 

Me by the current store.

The current store is the store of the beat generation and current writers, but it still retains the atmosphere that Hemingway described: "...this was a warm, cheerful place with...tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living. The photographs all looked like snapshots and even the dead writers looked as though they had really been high as the wall and stretching out into the back room which gave onto the inner court of the building, were shelves and shelves of the wealth of the library."

 Today the bookstore is run by Sylvia Beach Whitman, George's daughter...

The current Sylvia still meets with prospective writers and contributors

Happy Place.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting place. I am Loving all these adventures you are sharing with us and so pea-green it's pitiful.