PHOTOS World Book Day: A look into Shakespeare and Company 68 years on


World Book Day: A look into Shakespeare and Company 68 years on


16:57, April 23, 2019

On World Book Day 2019 which coincides with Shakespeare Day, we take a look at the literary endeavors of Shakespeare and Company, the famous Parisian bookstore named after Shakespeare himself. In celebration of the lasting impact of books and recognition of the legacy of the iconic English playwright, here are some lesser-known facts behind the history of the famous Parisian institution. (Getty Images)

The bookstore’s building was originally a monastery constructed in the early 17th century. The store was first called Le Mistral when opened, until its American-born proprietor, George Whitman, changed it to the present name in April 1964 – on the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth – in honor of a bookseller and its original founder he admired, Sylvia Beach.

The “original” Shakespeare and Company was founded by Beach in 1919, despite it was forced to close in 1941 during the Nazi occupation of Paris, when Beach, along with thousands of others, was interned.

Her shop was a gathering place for the great literary figured of the time, including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. It was also the only place that published James Joyce's "Ulysses" in its entirety in 1922, when no one else would.

For decades, the bookstore has remained true to its tradition of being a host – sometimes an informal living room, and sometimes a bedroom – to writers, readers, artists and intellectuals in its second life since 1951 under Whitman’s hands.

Greatly known as a refuge and space for aspiring writers, it’s estimated that 30,000 writers and artists have stayed in the bookshop. These guests are often called “Tumbleweeds.”

Recommended Photos

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue