The New Age of the Shakespeare & Company Book Store

Sylvia Whitman has been the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company since 2006. She grew up among thousands of books and took up the reins from her father, George Whitman, who founded the bookstore in 1951. She has brought the shop into a new age—with festivals, performances, a packed calendar of readings, and lots of technological improvements—not to mention a publishing venture, a book about the store recently published, a new website, and a newly opened café.

Shakespeare & Company has always been a vibrant cultural and artistic hub. What was it like being there as a child?

Sylvia Whitman: I'm terrible with specific memories, so when asked this question I often think of what Proust said about memory, which seems so true: “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” In general, however, I remember a very joyful, bohemian, Alice


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