A Woman to Know: Sylvia Beach

I am a citizen of the world. — Sylvia

(Photo by Gisele Freund)

Sylvia was like the ultimate fairy godmother of Paris's legendary expat era. She owned the world's greatest bookstore (the legendary Shakespeare & Company in Paris), ran the first editions of James Joyce's Ulysses (considered ULTRA scandalous for its time because there was a MASTURBATION SCENE, gasp!) and published the first book Ernest Hemingway ever wrote, like EVER (it's actually not that great a book).

She was also best friends with Gertrude Stein and rented out bunkbeds inside her bookstore for young writers, artists and anyone else who didn't have a place in Paris to crash. Her memoir is a who's who's of the Parisian arts scene, with cameo appearances from the Fitzgeralds, Man Ray, T.S. Eliot, basically anyone you'd ever want to have at a dream dinner party.

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