Shakespeare and Company by Silvia Beach, 1959 first edition.


Written by Silvia Beach. First edition, 1959. Harcourt, Brace and Company. New York.

"At Miss Barney's one met the ladies with high collars and monocles, though Miss Barney herself was so feminine. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to make the acquaintance at her solon of the authoress of The Well of Loneliness, in which she concluded that if inverted couples could be united at the altar, all their problems would be solved."

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"Silvia Beach made literary history when, in 1922, she published James Joyce's Ulysses - then banned in every English-speaking country in the world - under the imprint of Shakespeare and Company, her American bookshop on the Left Bank. Not only Joyce, but most of the writers who were to make the twenties famous were then converging on Paris to live and work. They were all customers and callers at Shakespeare and Company, and the little bookshop at 12 rue de l'Odeon became the humming center of the most significant literary movement of our century.

"... Here are vivid, informal portraits of Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, George Antheil, Bryher, Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, Scott Fitzgerald, and of the French writers were also Miss Beach's friends and supporters - Paul Valery, Andre Gide, Jules Romains, and many others."

Sylvia Beach (1887 - 1962) was born Nancy Woodbridge Beach in Baltimore, Maryland, and later adopted the name Sylvia. Her bookstore became a cultural hub in Paris, especially between World Wars I and II, and served as a lending library and sanctuary for writers. Beach's personal life was also intertwined with the literary community; she shared a lifelong relationship with Adrienne Monnier, another influential bookseller, with whom she lived for 36 years until Monnier's suicide in 1955. The original Shakespeare and Company closed in 1941, but its legacy endures, symbolizing the rich literary exchange that characterized Paris in the early 20th century. The name was revived in 1951 by George Whitman for his own bookstore, which continues to honor the spirit of Beach's establishment.
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Condition: Fine/Very Good. Dust jacket: Light shelf wear; sunning along the spine; lightly bumped at head and tail of the spine. Beige cloth cover boards. "30 Oct. 59 Book Find Club 2.52" in light pencil in the gutter of the dedication page, plus previous owner's bookmark. Pages are clean, undamaged, and complete.

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