Does it still count as 100 years if it's really two different bookshops?
December 1, 2019 2:14 PM   Subscribe

The Secret Feminist History of Shakespeare and Company "Revisiting the story behind Shakespeare and Company’s creation reveals that its roots lie in early twentieth-century feminist activism and, in particular, Beach’s own deep-rooted conviction that women had a right to an intellectual life." posted by betweenthebars (3 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Certain people are meant to be midwives—not mothers of invention. Sylvia was one,” wrote Noël Riley Fitch, author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation (1983), in the most recent introduction to a collection of Beach’s letters. Yet to characterize Beach as merely a “midwife” and to remember her primarily for bringing into being the work of Great Men is to misrepresent her and the everyday work of her shop. Revisiting the story behind Shakespeare and Company’s creation reveals that its roots lie in early twentieth-century feminist activism and, in particular, Beach’s own deep-rooted conviction that women had a right to an intellectual life.
Even a male biographer who published a biography of Beach in the mid 80s, and surely must have liked and admired his subject, cannot resist the temptation, the compulsion, to belittle Beach and attempt to force her metaphorically into a subservient and decidedly secondary stereotypically female minor role in literary creation, even as he metaphorically appropriates the great act of creation traditionally assigned to women and casually hands it off to a group made up mostly of men.
posted by jamjam at 12:00 AM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]


I was lucky enough to visit Paris and Shakespeare and Company this summer and to go upstairs and see the Sylvia Beach Memorial Library (and cat). Such an amazing place, and I didn't know half the story.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:08 AM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the post - I enjoyed this.
posted by paduasoy at 4:53 AM on December 8, 2019


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