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Sylvia Beach

Sylvia Beach born March 14, 1887 - died October 5, 1962 was born Nancy Woodbridge Beach in Bridgeton, New Jersey, and became one of the leading expatriate figures in inter-war Paris.

Her father was a Presbyterian pastor and his work took the family to Paris in 1901. Beach loved Paris, and went to live there permanently in 1916 after war work nursing. With her friend Adrienne Monnier[?] she founded a bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, in November 1919, which became a focus for Americans. The bookshop became famous after it published James Joyce's Ulysses in 1922, as a result of Joyce's inability to get an edition out in English-speaking countries.

The bookshop was in difficulties throughout the depression of the 1930s, and was kept afloat by the generosity of her circle of friends, including Bryher. She was interned during World War II. The shop was symbolically liberated by Ernest Hemingway in person in 1944 but never re-opened.

In 1959 she wrote a memoir of the inter-war years. She remained in Paris until her death.

External links


  • Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties by Noel Riley Fitch ISBN 0393017133

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