R.I.P. George Whitman, Shakespeare & Company Owner
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 12.15.11 | 12:25 PM ET
It’s hard to imagine Paris without Shakespeare & Company, and George Whitman, who died yesterday at the age of 98, owned the famed Left Bank bookstore for years.
He took its name from the original shop owned by Sylvia Beach.
“For decades,” the New York Times notes, “Mr. Whitman provided food and makeshift beds to young aspiring novelists or writing nomads, often letting them spend a night, a week, or even months living among the crowded shelves and alcoves.”
Travel writer Erin Byrne profiled Whitman several years ago, noting that he had “fashioned a life for himself that brings together the two things he loves most in all the world, books and people. It is this combination that makes him tick. Old age without loneliness is unusual; George always has a house full of friends. Fragility without weakness is seldom seen; this man is thin and frail, but his presence is noble.”
His daughter, Sylvia, discusses her father and the store’s history in this terrific video: