Writerlibrarian's Reviews > Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach
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Jun 07, 07

bookshelves: read2007, biography, 1920s-1930s
Read in March, 2007

Paris. The 1920's, right after the first war. The memoirs of one of the members of what is now known as the "Lost Generation". American writers, poets, painters, musicians that found themselves in Paris at that time. They all at one point entered Sylvia Beach's bookshop "Shakespeare & Company". Hemingway, Stein... but the focus of Beach's professional life was Joyce. She published Ulysses when no one would. She worked herself to death for the man. She mothered him, supported him financially. The book tells the tales of all those talented people, American, Irish, British and French artists that haunted "Rue Odéon" during those years either at Shakespeare & Company or on the other side of the street at Adrienne Monnier's bookshop, Sylvia's partner in life and work. This period in time fascinates me and I come back and read about from time to time. This book is very much focused on Joyce and his work. It's entertaining but you need to be a little familiar with the names and the work of the artists Sylvia talks about. At the time Beach published her memoirs, the names were famous. Now only a few ring bells with the general public. Riley's book on the period "Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation" gives a more detailed account and analysis of this amazing period in time when writing, books, music were all done with a burning passion, and language and nationality didn't matter.
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