Shakespeare & Company
37 rue de la Bûcherie
00 33 (0)1 43 25 40 93
New/Used: Not set
Web site: http://www.shakespeareandcompany.com/
Events: http://www.shakespeareco.org/events.htm (updated February 2009)
Description: Shakespeare and Company was opened by George Whitman in August 1951. George had found himself in Paris after the Second World War, not wanting to return to America straight away. He enrolled at the Sorbonne to improve his French and found a small hotel room on Boulevard St Michel. During his studies he amassed a large collection of English books and used his room as a library and bookstore. It was only after a conversation with his friend Lawrence Ferlinghetti that George took seriously the notion of opening a bookstore in Paris. So, in 1951 he managed to acquire a small apartment opposite Notre Dame de Paris, which was then converted into the front of Shakespeare and Company.
George had spent many years walking through South America and was touched by the hospitality of locals, who would often feed and accommodate him. This had a profound impact upon his life and led him to create a bookstore that is a sanctuary for writers, aspiring writers and artists. From the day that George opened he has invited writers to share his home. Some 50,000 have placed their heads on Shakespeare and Company’s famous pillows. Such people as Henry Miller, Anäis Nin, Lawrence Durrell and Alan Ginsberg have shared a tea and a pancake with George. It is still possible to see the bookstore’s history on the bookshelves. You may be thumbing through a James Baldwin novel only to discover the author has signed it to Shakespeare and Company.
Since 1951 the bookstore has stubbornly kept its utopian ideals in a changing world. Many who knew the store back in their youth return as adults to find an institution that has not been altered by the passing years. The shop has continued the legacy of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, inviting writers and encouraging new writers. However, George has done it his way. Some have called him an eccentric, while others have called him a light in a dull and homogenised world.
Added by: timspalding. Contacted: Not contacted. Venue ID: 903
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