Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday - 1935

This is for Paris in July and we have got to year 1935 in Janet Flanner's articles on what is happening in Paris and France.

Shakespeare and Company

"Miss Sylvia Beach, who is Shakespeare and Company, the most famous American bookshop and young author' fireside in Europe, is shortly to sell in manuscript important modern writings which she, along with the world's other booksellers, has been selling only in print. As first publisher of James Joyce's complete Ulysses, Miss Beach has unique Joyceiana, comprising collector's items that no one else on earth has, not even Mr. Joyce. To bibliophiles, the sale's finest item will be her first edition of Ulysses, 1922, blue-morocco binding, printed on white Dutch paper, the second volume off the press in the rare edition of two hundred, and containing a poem Joyce wrote her, his inscription, and, bound in the back, his original plan of the book. ..."

There is a private not of Flanner here which I will relate in short. Sylvia Beach at this time had to sell some of her treasures since she was out of money. Since she was hoping that some Americans might be interested, Janet Flanner announced the sale in her Paris Letter in The New Yorker. Unfortunately, it did not seem to help. Flanner was given a numbered, uncut first edition of Ulysses, which had an original page of the manuscript, which Joyce had overwritten with his typical extra entangling sentences, dealing with the so-called Circe incident. In 1950 Flanner decided to sell the treasure and offered it to a friend who was going to give it to the Morgan Library. Flanner said she would sell it for the market price which would be around 500 dollars. To her surprise the market price was only one hundred dollar, which seemed to little for a book that cause so much stir in 1922. Sylvia Beach accepted the sum and was delighted that is should belong to such a glorious Library. The fellows of the library wrote in their announcement of the purchase:

"This volume is a presentation copy from the publisher, Miss Sylvia Beach, and is in mint condition in its original printed wrappers. Accompanying it is an early draft of the manuscript, a portion of the controversial Circe episode."

"The card catalogue on the acquisition further noted that it was accompanied by Miss Beach's engraved calling card, pasted on the book's from lining, and bearing her autographed inscription, 'For Janet Flanner with Sylvia Beach's love and gratitude.' She always gave more than she received, Publishing Ulysses was her greatest act of generosity. J.F."

Sylvia Beach seemed to have been a real lover of books. The books being more important that her survival instinct!

André Citroën (1878-1935

The recent bankruptcy and death of André Citroën, France's greatest automobile manufacturer, ends a curiously un-French career. Before the war, he was a salesman in a motor house, which promptly failed; during the war, he was the organiser of the arsenal at Roannes; after the war, he was the father of the little five-horse-power car that gave him international fame and over a billion franc annually. He sent great photographic expeditions into both Asia and Africa, as publicity wrote his name in electricity on the top of the Tour Eiffel, built beautiful model factories with playgrounds and nurseries, gambled a million francs a throw at gamin tables, believed in mass production in the American manner, and so died without a franc. ...

... When he crossed the Spanish border on a motor trip, he was topped by a customs officer, who asked, 'Name?' 'Citroën,' he replied. 'I didn't ask the car's name but yours,' said the officer. 'Oh, ' sid the manufactuer, 'I'm Citroën, but it's Hispano.' It was. He was a likeable, sly little man with charm and the ability to wrap people and banks around his finger. His errors lay in  believing that Paris was Detroit and in stating with satisfaction on his deathbed, 'After I'm gone, the House of Citroën will fall.' It had fallen long before. It was, indeed, doomed to fall from its inception. For France is not the USA.

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