Gertrude Stein. James Joyce. Ernest Hemingway. Aimé Césaire. Simone de Beauvoir. Jacques Lacan. Walter Benjamin.

All these writers were members of the Shakespeare and Company lending library.

In 1919, an American named Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookshop and lending library in Paris. Almost immediately, it became the home away from home for a community of expatriate writers and artists now known as the Lost Generation. In 1922, she published James Joyce’s Ulysses under the Shakespeare and Company imprint, a feat that made her—and her bookshop and lending library—famous around the world. In the 1930s, she catered increasingly to French intellectuals, supplying English-language books and magazines from the recently rediscovered Moby-Dick to the latest issues of The New Yorker. In 1941, she preemptively closed Shakespeare and Company after refusing to sell her last copy of Joyce's Finnegans Wake to a Nazi officer.

The Shakespeare and Company Project uses sources from the Beach Papers at Princeton University to recreate the world of the Lost Generation. Browse and search the lending library membership. Discover where members lived and the books they borrowed. Rediscover lost novels. Learn about joining the lending library. Download Project data. Explore.

And now: contribute to a special feature about the Project.

The Shakespeare and Company Project is a work-in-progress.  For updates about new features and articles, follow us on Twitter. To ask questions and provide feedback, contact us.