sábado, 14 de janeiro de 2012

Our favourite bookstore in Paris: Shakespeare and Company

A cozy and welcoming (yet chaotic) little bookshop on the left bank of the Seine river. The original Shakespeare and Company was founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach. As a young literature lover, she arrived at the french capital determined to create a place that offered books in the english language - available both for sale and borrowal. 
After two decades of devotion to literature (Sylvia even got to publish James Joyce's Ulysses when no other publisher accepted it), the second world war forced her to shutter the store. The books were all hid upstairs, and all the place's traces erased.

In 1951, George Whitman opened a small bookshop named the Mistral, and later moved to the rue de la Bucherie, across from Notre Dame cathedral, and launched his own version of Shakespeare and Company. The bookstore was devoted to books, autors and readers. It hosted events such as writing workshops, literary teas on Sundays or annual literary festivals, and even got to lodge or employ writers and poets who were new to the french capital.
George Whitman was awarded with the Officier des Arts title in 2006, in recognition of his lifelong contribution to the artistic and cultural life in France. He died exactly a month ago, on December, 14th, 2011, at age 98. He will be burried at the Père Lachaise cemitery along with other literature lovers such as Jean de La Fontaine, Oscar Wilde, Honoré de Balzac or Guillaume Apollinaire.

The bookstore, which is considered to be one of the greatest in the world, shall continue to make history, this time managed by George's daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman.

-Teresa Lima

Obs: Photos by Filipa Aurélio and Patgrider.

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