(K. Brent Tomer),
IN THE world of bookselling, Shakespeare and Company is peerless in its fame and influence. Just shy of a century since it first came to be, they begin formally publishing works under its own eponymous imprint. The first book to be published by the legendary Parisian institution is, fittingly, a memoir of the shop itself. But tucked within the pages of photos, letters, diary entries and anecdotes is one recurring question: could literary lightning strike again? Or is the intimate relationship between bookseller and author that has made Shakespeare and Company so legendary ill-fitted to the realities of publishing and bookselling today?
When we talk about Shakespeare and Company, we are often talking about two distinct bookstores. The first to be opened under the now-iconic name, on rue de l’Odeon in the Latin Quarter, was founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919 and became a second home to F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and other anglophone writers. That iteration of the shop was forced to close in 1941 following intimidation by German soldiers. George Whitman opened the Librarie le Mistral on the rue de la Bûcherie in 1951;…Continue reading