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Shakespeare and Co, now and in the 1920s 

Published May 20, 2022
Updated Oct 27, 2022

📍 🇫🇷 Shakespeare and Co, now and in the 1920s

Sylvia Beach (1887-1962 CE) launched the first Shakespeare and Company closer to Odeon in Paris in the 1920s (12 rue de l’odéon). It was here that she edited James Joyce's "Ulysses" - a novel now considered as one of the finest English-language novels. Notre Dame’s Shakespeare and Co. opened up right after World War II.

Back in the 1920s, American author Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961 CE) asked Beach for counsel, social introductions and friendly support; but he also rented dozens of inspirational novels during his lonely Parisian years (1921-26 CE).

Wounded at a battle during World War I, he realized that literature was not just about virile adventurers like Kipling or Conrad in this bookshop. Discovering stories by Henry James or Flaubert, meeting authors such as Gertrude Stein who became his mentors (early on), Hemingway led his life in Paris. However, he continued to enliven the Parisian scene by telling false poverty tales of having to hunt pigeons in the Luxembourg gardens to afford dinner (his wife was actually from serious money..).


____ Sources ____

>> Michael Reynold, “Hemingway, the Paris years”, 1999

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