Rus Articles Journal

“Shakespeare and Company“ (Shakespeare and Co). What to visit in Paris?

Ya I adore bookstores. Especially second-hand. I can try for hours patience of the trustful friends who thoughtlessly nodded on the run the phrase “let`s come in book“. I thumb through books, I sniff at them, I consider, I choose. It is remembered, even shirked school only in book. That still bookworm.

Respectively, the speech will go about bookstore now. About the well-known bookstore which is on Seine Embankment opposite to Notre Dame de Paris.

Actually, it is rather book club. A huge number of books - second-hand, new, shabby, very rare and modern. Books are placed on shelves, lie on a floor, on ladders. The real chest with treasures.

The shop under the name Shakespeare and Co once called Henry Miller “a book wonderland“ opened in Paris in 1919.

... In 1917 the daughter of the American priest the writer and the publisher Silvia Bich who at the end of World War I studied the French literature in Paris got acquainted with the owner of literary salon Adriyenna Monye. Under its influence in 1919 - Silvius`s m also opened shop of the English-language book “Shakespeare and Company“. The name as the legend says, Silvia dreamed.

The cozy bench was a combination of shop and a circulating library. Silvia sent to the forgetful readers who were not returning the book in time by mail a card on which Shakespeare in indignation tearing on himself hair was represented.

Silvia`s tuxedo together with the woolen carpets, walls draped with beige matter and antique furniture fascinated visitors. Silvia dreamed to open over shop of cafe. She wanted to take place where people could read, talk, drink tea. She wanted to create completely house atmosphere.

At first in little shop frequenters of salon of Monye and curious French looked. Gradually here the whole group of great writers resolutely directed: Ernest Hemingway, Angais Ning, Henry Miller, Bernard Shaw, Andre Gide, Paul Valery, epic Gertrude Stein and many others.

Hemingway devoted to Silvia the story “Holiday Which Is Always with You“ later. He wrote: “… better than Silvia nobody ever treated me“.

B 1921 - m the shop moved closer to Monye`s salon. At the same time, to be exact in 1922, Silvia for the first time published Joyce`s novel “Ulysses“ forbidden by censorship of that time. And right after the publication the novel began to have success.

In 30 - e years the shop experienced financial difficulties and existed only thanks to support of friends of Silvia.

In 1941 during fascist occupation the shop continued to exist, however, not for long. Silvia had a conflict with the officer - the nazi who wanted to buy Joyce`s book “Finnegans Wakes“. The book appeared in the single copy, and Silvia refused to sell it. The enraged German left, as usual, having threatened that he will show all and the shop will be covered.

Without wasting time, Silvia brought together friends who took out all books and even painted over a sign. When the officer returned with help, they did not find any shop any more. “Shakespeare and To“ was dissolved together with the hostess.

What was farther - and is unclear: somewhere it is written that the American all war hid, and Wikipedia writes that the obstinate publisher for several months appeared in camp Vittel, then returned to Paris, but said goodbye to shop. One is known precisely - Silvia survived and lived long life.

On it history as we understand, did not end. In 1951. Walt Uitmen`s grandson, George Uitmen, the American by origin, picked up the fallen banner “Shakespeare and To“ and opened small book little shop, having called its “Mistral“. He collected books on particles - in the markets, at individuals, bought Simona de Beauvoir`s library after her death and as a result collected a remarkable collection of ancient, rare books.

At first the shop occupied only one floor, but over time George increased the area at the expense of two top floors.

In 1964 Mr. Silviya Bich allowed it to use a name of the shop and “Mistral“ was solemnly renamed in “Shakespeare and To“. Having restored the old name, George carried on Silvia`s tradition to help unknown writers. In shop it placed chairs and sofas that the young talented, but needing prose writers could work and even to spend the night there. The cozy little shop became the main place of meetings of the creative intellectuals of 60 - 70.

Later Uitmen gave the daughter`s child, by the name of, by the way, Silvia. And Silvia Bich in 1959 published the memoirs book “Shakespeare and Company“ translated subsequently to many languages.

Near an entrance to shop it is possible to read the manifesto written by chalk (in abbreviated form and I do not warrant for the accuracy of the translation):

“Some people name me Don - Quichotte because my head still in clouds and I perceive all angels in paradise. Instead of being a respectable bookseller, I am similar to a shelter of the disappointed writer in which rooms as the head in the novel.

Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky for me are more real, than neighbors. And what till my birth Dostoyevsky wrote “Idiot“ - history of my life is stranger. Since I read it, I look for the girl who is called Nastasia Filippovna … of

Hundred years ago my book-store was wine shop. And in 1600 all house was the monastery which was called “the House of the Master“. In the Middle Ages in each monastery there was a monk - the lamplighter whose duty was to light lamps with approach of twilight. I did it fifty years. Now turn of my daughter. D. Uitmen“ to

Yes, over an entrance and it is written: be polite with strangers, any of them can be an angel.

Creative people have also now the right to stop here on condition that will work not less than an hour a day. And of course, it is possible to read how many will get and at the same time I Will allow to admire from a window a view on Notr. Present how it is healthy: a small cozy closet under a ladder, with a chair and a little table, a desk lamp - and you sit, culturally thumb through books, do extracts, work and have with might and main a rest.

On the third floor there is a made bed which is filled up with books. At me just the same. Generally, absolutely house atmosphere reigns in shop. People sit (and even lie) shoulder to shoulder and quietly and thoughtfully thumb through books.

Doors “Shakespeare and To“ are open from 12 to 24 h. So if what tourist will be visited suddenly by a muse and he will decide to stop there for the night, typewriters and secluded corners “Shakespeare and To“ - to his services, nobody will banish.

While you here, take and read how many you want - the motto of shop says. Fine, huh?