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Sylvia Beach Dead at 75

Oct. 9, 1962 - Sylvia Beach (pictured with James Joyce in 1920), the bookshop owner who made literary history in 1922 when she became the first to publish James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” was found dead last Saturday in her Paris apartment at 12 Rue de l’Odéon. She was 75 years old. Miss Beach apparently died of a heart attack on Thursday or Friday. Her body was discovered by a friend. No. 12 Rue de l’Odéon on the Left Bank became one of Paris’s literary landmarks in the 1920s as the site of Miss Beach’s bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. She opened the shop in 1919 and closed its doors 20 years later, when the Nazis occupied France in World War II. Few literary associations have been more important than that of Miss Beach and Joyce. It was in her shop that she offered to publish “Ulysses” after Joyce had told her despairingly that there was no hope of publishing the controversial novel. Throughout the 1920s, Shakespeare & Co. was an informal gathering place for American and French writers, among them Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and André Gide. Miss Beach was a friend and counselor to all of them.


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