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Paperback SYLVIA BEACH AND THE LOST GENERATION. A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties. Book

ISBN: 014058014X

ISBN13: 9780140580143

SYLVIA BEACH AND THE LOST GENERATION. A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties.

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5 ratings

Excellent literary history of between-the-wars Paris

Noel Riley Fitch may not know everything about the artists and writers of early to mid- twentieth century Paris, but she certainly comes close. Just as Sylvia Beach and her French counterpart Adrienne Monnier between them seemed to know all the English-speaking and French writers of Paris, respectively. Sylvia Beach owned Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookstore and Ms. Monnier, on the opposite side of rue de l'Odeon, owned La Maison des Amis des Livres. Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation is an excellent biography of Ms. Beach which details her involvement with literary Paris, especially the time between the wars. If there is a very heavy emphasis on her involvement with James Joyce and her publishing the many editions of Ulysses, that was the reality of her life. And if Mr. Joyce comes across as a self-preoccupied schemer, who showed Sylvia Beach very little gratitude for all she did for him practically gratis, well, that was the reality of her life, too. Paris between the two world wars was a fascinating place and Sylvia Beach was in the thick of it. As the author says in her introduction, "Sylvia Beach created a literary center that magnetically attracted artists from all over the world during what Archibald McLeish calls the `greatest period of literary and artistic innovation since the Renaissance." T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Andre Gide, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett, Leon Edel, Janet Flanner, Virgil Thompson, Paul Valery, and Thornton Wilder to name a few, were part of Shakespeare and Company in a real sense. The full title of this book is Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties & Thirties, and an excellent literary history it is. Highly recommended. By the way, for those who plan to visit Paris, check out Walks in Hemingway's Paris: A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler, by the same author.

A Fantastic Insight Into The Most Famous Bookstore in Paris

This is quite a spectacular book, a privileged look into the most famous English language bookstore in Paris, Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Company. Not only is it delightful to read the history of how Sylvia's modest dream became such a huge success, but it is also fascinating to read about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce when they were young. The language is rich and fulfilling, the photos insightful, and in the end, I really felt as if I had been part of it all, sitting in Sylvia's bookstore, hearing the rustle of pages as the day passed away.


This one has been around for some time now and it is not the worse for wear. For those interested in our literature and literary Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, then this is one of those "must reads" (I truely hate that term, but know of no better to describe the improtance of this work at this time). The author's research is absolutely miticulous and fills in many gaps in the story of this remarkable woman. Do be warned though. Many of the names of people mentioned here are rather obscure (at this day and time) for those not immersed in the literary world. This can make the work a bit difficult to follow at times. That being said, this is a wonderful work to read to cause many of these names to become less obscure than they are more of the many reasons to read this work! The book covers some of the intimate details of Beach's relationship with friends and lovers that she so well side steps in her own account of this time. Recommend this one highly. Actually, you probably should purchase this one as it is one that is a good book for reference and one you will probably want to reread.

keen and insightful....

This is one of the best books that I've ever read about the 'lost generation' of Americans literary refugees in Paris. The writing is excellent, the research exhaustive and thorough with unparalleled access to Ms. Beach's 'surpressed' portions of her autobiography "Shakespeare and Company". It is readily apparent from this book that without Ms. Beach and her unflinching support, there would have been no "Ulysses" (and maybe no James Joyce). But there was so many other authors she supported and nurtured as well, as the quote from Ernest Hemingway cited above illustrates as well. This book is almost a 'must read' for those persons interested in American literature of the mid 20th century.

The definitive history of expatriate Paris

This book has been in print for many years because it is the definitive history of literary Paris for the expatriates of the 1920s and 1930s. It is now happily used as a text book in universities, but is intented as a good read for any general reader interested in Hemingway, Stein, Joyce, Pound, and company.
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