Thursday, April 12, 2012
Off to Paris for the weekend!
Have to go here for one thing.
(Just got back)
Aw, this bookshop is a beautiful little place, tucked away in a corner by the Seine. George Whitman opened this shop in 1951, originally called Le Mistral after his first French girlfriend. He was a contemporary of beat poets Kerouac and Ginsberg. Travelling writers were welcome to stay at his place in return for working a few hours in the shop.
Whitman died in December last year at the age of 98, his daughter took over the running of the shop in 2003 at the age of 22.
In 1962 Sylvia Beach, proprietor of the original Shakespeare and Company bookshop (in the Odeonia district) died, and Whitman renamed his bookshop in her honour. He also named his daughter after her.
While researching at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Sylvia Beach discovered the existence of a bookshop owned by Adrienne Monnier. She went there, and the owner could immediately tell she was American and said, 'I like Americans very much.' Beach replied that she liked France very much. They became lovers and lived together for 36 years until Monnier's death in 1955. It pulls the heart strings!