Paris Publishers of the 1920s

an exhibit originally developed for the American Literature Club 
Thomas Cooper Library, September 1999

Text by Patrick Scott; hypertext by Mila Tasseva

Topic 1: Shakespeare & Company

Sylvia Beach & Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach's bookshop and lending-library on the Left Bank, Shakespeare and Company, was the major distribution point in Paris for English-language modernist books and periodicals, and, with its near-neigbor, Adrienne Monnier's La Maison des Amis des Livres, a central meeting place for the expatriate literary community. Beach had founded her bookshop in 1919 on returning from work in Serbia during the Great War with the American Red Cross. Shown here are an advertisement for the two shops (from one of Monnier's publications), a picture of the bookshop (from a USIS exhibit catalogue, 1960), Beach's account of first meeting James Joyce (from her Ulysses in Paris, 1966), and the first periodical text of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land (from The Dial, 1922), promoted by Beach with a special window-display.



James Joyce's Ulysses

In 1921, episodes from Joyce's Ulysses published in the US in the Little Review were judged obscene, and Beach undertook to publish the work in Paris under the imprint of Shakespeare and Company, using Monnier's Dijon printer Maurice Darantierre. The first printing of 1000 copies was rapidly bought up, largely by collectors and dealers. Included here are copies of:

Also shown is a photo of Beach with Joyce, from Sylvia Beach 1887-1962 (Paris: Mercure de France, 1963), and Joyce's Pomes Pennyeach (Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1927).


James Joyce in transition 

Among literary reviews distributed by Shakespeare and Company was the new monthly transition, founded by the American poet and journalist Edward Jolas in 1927, which regularly offered its subscribers fresh installments of Joyce's "Work in Progress" (subsequently Finnegan's Wake). Shown here are the title page and contents lists from number one and number two of the magazine.


Gertrude Stein and Plain Editions 

Gertrude Stein's massive work of the 1920s, The Making of Americans Being a History of a Family's Progress (1925) was distributed by Shakespeare and Company and published jointly by Robert McAlmon of Contact Editions and Bill Bird of Three Mountains Press, with huge cost overruns; Shown here are two examples of the more modestly-produced Stein 'Plain Editions' that followed in the early thirties, Lucy Church Amiably (1930, in blue printed boards) and How  to Write (1930, buff boards with printed label). In addition to those shown here, the library has copies of The Making of Americansand How to Write inscribed by Stein to F. Scott Fitzgerald (both in the Bruccoli Collection). 
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