For almost 70 years, Shakespeare and Company, the English-language bookstore in Paris, has been a home-away-from-home for celebrated writers--including Jorge Luis Borges, James Baldwin, A.M. Homes, and Dave Eggers--as well as for young, aspiring authors and poets. Visitors are invited to read in the library, share a pot of tea, and sometimes even live in the shop itself, sleeping in beds tucked among the towering shelves of books. Since 1951, more than 30,000 have slept at the "rag and bone shop of the heart." This first, fully illustrated history of the bookstore draws on a century's worth of never-before-seen archives. Photographs and ephemera are woven together with personal essays, diary entries, and poems from more than seventy contributors, including Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sylvia Beach, Nathan Englander, Dervla Murphy, Jeet Thayil, David Rakoff, Ian Rankin, Kate Tempest, and Ethan Hawke. With hundreds of images, it features Tumbleweed autobiographies, precious historical documents, and beautiful photographs, including ones of such renowned guests as William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Langston Hughes, Alberto Moravia, Zadie Smith, Jimmy Page, and Marilynne Robinson. Tracing more than 100 years in the French capital, the story touches on the Lost Generation and the Beats, the Cold War, May '68, and the feminist movement--all while reflecting on the timeless allure of bohemian life in Paris.--Adapted from dust jacket and publisher website.
This is a truly wonderful tribute to and history of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. It includes a mini-graphic novel that tells the story of Sylvia Beach's original Paris book store from the 1920's-1930's which was closed due to the German occupation of WWII and never reopened. It tells the story of George Whitman's youth through his diary entries and then his founding of his own store called Mistral Books in Paris in 1951 and how he inherited the Shakespeare and Company name from Sylvia Beach herself. The rest of the history is divided up into chapters by decade where the entries include photographs, archival tumbleweed (Whitman's petname for overnight guests) biographies, present day tumbleweed memories, newspaper clippings, etc. with an overall through-text (in oversize font to distinguish it from the rest) by editor Krista Halverson and a concluding section by Sylvia Whitman. Whitman's daughter Sylvia took over the store in 2005 and has modernized it into the 21st century with an online presence that will hopefully ensure its survival for times to come.