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Sunday, August 8, 2021


Early summer 1924, Sylvia Beach went on an outing to a Paris fair near the Seine with close friends. Posing in the “Seagull” are (left to right): Valery Larbaud, Leon-Paul Fargue, Marie Monnier, Sylvia Beach, and Adrienne Monnier. All are mentioned in “Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation” by Noel Riley Fitch

[Center] Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate and owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris, became a friend, patron, and publisher to James Joyce in the early 1920s. Shakespeare & Company published Joyce's second novel, Ulysses, in 1922.  Beach is pictured at her Paris bookshop with Joyce and her partner, Adrienne Monnier.  Photo: Giselle Freund, Life Magazine, 1938.


By Noel Riley Fitch 

One hundred, two years ago, Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company, the first American lending library and bookshop in Paris, published the novel that changed modern fiction: James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

For 11 years she was Joyce’s sole publisher, and for 22 years she ran the most famous bookshop in the world—the meeting place for Joyce, Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Andre Gide, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, Thornton Wilder, Katherine Anne Porter, Janet Flanner, Samuel Beckett, Virgil Thomson, Harry Crosby and Sherwood Anderson. 

Based on decades of research, with exclusive access to the Beach family papers, “Sylvia Beach & the Lost Generation” is a true literary chronicle of the glittering 1920s and 30s, rich in untold anecdotes about Joyce, Hemingway and others. 

Professor Fitch has interviewed more than 50 persons and corresponded with dozens more. Despite it being published in 1983, this book remains current and fills in the important gaps in Beach’s own memoirs, which are full of polite compliments and guarded half-truths. 

We learn the strange details of Beach’s odyssey from a parsonage in Princeton, New Jersey to the Left Bank of Paris, the secret suicide of her mother, and the long intimate relationship between Beach and Adrienne Monnier. For the first time, author Fitch reveals the circumstances of the bitter break between Beach and Joyce. 


Images below are added by 

Janet Flanner

Samuel Beckett

T.S. Eliot

Djuna Barnes, American author and magazine contributor

French author, Nobel Prize winner and almost daily visitor
to Sylvia Beach's Bookstore: Andre Gide

Katherine Anne Porter

American poet, author, Editor Ezra Pound in Paris

Thornton Wilder

English poet H.D. Bryher

Sherwood Anderson

F. Scott Fitzgerald (above) British book publisher
Harriett Shaw Weaver (below)

James Joyce wearing his grandfather's waistcoat, 1918
Photograph by Camille Ruf, Zurich.

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