History of “Shakespeare and Co” bookstore

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With its green facade facing Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Co is one of the most famous bookstores in Paris. Back to the little history of this essential Parisian bookstore!

A meeting place for intellectuals Originally, it was Sylvia Beach, an American bookseller and publisher, who created the first Shakespeare and Company in 1919. This temple of the book first settled on rue Dupuytren and then at 12 rue de l’Odéon. Over the years, many intellectuals went there, such as Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, André Gide, Paul Valéry, Ernest Hemingway …

Our American thus occupies a large place in Anglo-Saxon literature, since it is she who has in particular published for the first time Ulysses by James Joyce in 1922, whose success is no longer to be recalled. A plaque is also present in the rue de l’Odéon to recall this notable event! The shop we know today is on rue de la Bûcherie and was opened in 1951 by George Whitman, the war having closed the previous bookshop. It resumed the name of Shakespeare and Company on the death of Sylvia Beach in 1962. Since 2001, Sylvia Whitman, daughter of George Whitman, has taken over the store, organizing new cultural events there. Going upstairs, we see a small bed in the middle of all the books. It is used to accommodate traveling writers, who have nowhere to sleep. Two hours of bookstore work and an autobiography page with a photo are requested in return for hospitality.

Shakespeare and Company 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75 005 Paris

shakespeare ans co bookstore, paris
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