RIP Shakespeare & Co’s George Whitman

George Whitman, the founder of the famous Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, passed away at the age of 98 on December 14th. Originally from America, he opened Le Mistral Bookshop in the Latin Quarter in 1951, changing the name to Shakespeare & Company to honor of Sylvia Beach’s original shop near Odéon, which closed during WWII. Most people know it as the historic home of the Beat Generation poets and writers, or for today’s annual literary festival attracting notable writers from around the world. Or for the free bed in the library upstairs that so many backpackers occupied over the decades. I met one of my best friends at this bookshop. But it’s not a time to be sad. Now under the careful and dedicated management of his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, George Whitman’s legacy will continue. The funeral will be held at Père Lachaise Cemetery this Thursday (December 22) at 3pm in the Crematorium, followed by a Champagne reception at the bookshop at 6pm, where “everyone is welcome to share their stories.”


5 Responses to “RIP Shakespeare & Co’s George Whitman”

  1. Comment by Bess | 12/21/11 at 8:50 pm

    That store is so wonderful. I hope it stays the same. But I guess nothing ever does, right?

  2. Comment by Yale Cunningham | 09/12/12 at 10:53 pm

    Rebecca loves you SYlvia!!

  3. Comment by Yale Cunningham | 09/12/12 at 10:54 pm

    The Store will stay the same Bess. Sylvia is a class act and respects her fathers vision now and always.

  4. Comment by Bethania Villela | 02/07/13 at 1:29 am

    I know and love this book store for a long time. Above all, I love its history and George was a great part of it. He managed to keep Sylvia’s dream alive, even after his death.

    I met him once and last year was very said to be there without his presence at the store, but I could feel that his daughter is managing to keep George’s spirit right there, among the books, at the chair put side, everywhere is possible to feel he steels around.


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