Sylvia Beach - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Picture of Sylvia Beach standing with James Joyce in front of her Paris bookshop-library, Shakespeare and Company
Photograph: Sylvia Beach with James Joyce in front of her Paris bookshop-library, "Shakespeare and Company."
Sylvia Beach   (1887 - 1962)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  March 14, 1887
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died:  October 4, 1962
Paris, France
Related authors:
Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Janet Flanner, Morley Callaghan, Sherwood Anderson
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Sylvia Beach - LIFE STORIES
2/2/1922     Joyce's Birthday Books
On this day in 1922, James Joyce's fortieth birthday, Ulysses was first published -- although only two copies of the book actually arrived by train to anxious publisher Sylvia Beach. Although Finnegans Wake was not ready for publication on Joyce's fifty-seventh birthday, as he had hoped, a bound copy was delivered to him. Both birthday books relieved Joyce's superstitious fears, and occasioned a party.
6/27/1928     Joyce, Fitzgerald, Jumping
On this day in 1928 Sylvia Beach hosted a dinner party in order that F. Scott Fitzgerald, who "worshipped James Joyce, but was afraid to approach him," might do so. Out of nervousness or champagne, Fitzgerald greeted his hero by dropping down on one knee, kissing his hand, and declaring, "How does it feel to be a great genius, Sir? I am so excited at seeing you, Sir, that I could weep."
11/17/1919     Shakespeare & Co.
On this day in 1919 American expatriate Sylvia Beach opened her bookshop-library, "Shakespeare and Company," in the Left Bank section of Paris. It was an intellectual and social center for the international literary community for decades; it was closed when a Nazi officer wanted Beach's last copy of Finnegans Wake, and "liberated" after the war by Hemingway.
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Shakespeare and Company
by Sylvia Beach, James Laughlin (Introduction)
literary history
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Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties
by Noel Riley Fitch
literary history
Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940
by Shari Benstock
literary history
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Hemingway at Shakespeare & Company
Literary Traveler is a website featuring original stories about important locales in literary history. This article discusses the relationship between Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare & Company and the great writers of the era, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein.
Official Website
Get directions, learn about the history of the store, find information about upcoming literary events, and peruse the shop's list of "essential reads", which include:

  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  • Ulysses by James Joyce

  • Sartori in Paris by Jack Kerouac

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

  • Howl by Allan Ginsberg

  • The Ambassadors by Henry James

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Shakespeare and Company Virtual Tour
    Find 360 degree panoramic images which you may zoom and spin to explore the famous bookshop. Includes images of Rue de la Būcherie, the antiquarian shop, the tea room, smoky reading room, back room nook, and the writer's room and desk.

    "There is an inherent paradox in creating a website and virtual visual tour for a bookshop dedicated to the written word. Yet it must be acknowledged that even the most florid prose cannot begin to describe the visual cacophony of the shop and Tumbleweed Hotel, places whose book-lined walls assault the visual sense. Fortunately, there are new technologies that allow a new type of illustration which will be used to attempt to compensate for the failings of the written word...."
    Sylvia Beach Image Gallery
    Collection of images from the Princeton University Library.
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    February 22, 2018
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