The trade in books has always been and remains an ambiguous commercial activity, associated as it is with literature and the exchange of ideas. This collection is concerned with the cultural and economic roles of independent bookstores, and it considers how eight shops founded during the modernist era provided distinctive spaces of literary production that exceeded and yet never escaped their commercial functions. As the contributors show, these booksellers were essential institutional players in literary networks. When the eight shops examined first opened their doors, their relevance to literary and commercial life was taken for granted. In our current context of box stores, online shopping, and ebooks, we no longer encounter the book as we did as recently as twenty years ago. By contributing to our understanding of bookshops as unique social spaces on the thresholds of commerce and culture, this volume helps to lay the groundwork for comprehending how our relationship to books and literature has been and will be affected by the physical changes to the reading experience taking place in the twenty-first century.
Table of Contents
'We have come to stay': the Hampshire bookshop and the 20th-century 'personal bookshop'. The Sunwise turn and the social space of the bookshop. Frank Shay's Greenwich Village: reconstructing the bookshop at 4 Christopher Street, 1920-1925. 'Lady Midwest': Fanny Butcher - books. 'A place known to the world as Devonshire Street': Modernism, commercialism, and the poetry bookshop. Counter-space in Charles Lahr's progressive bookshop. The Grolier poetry book shop: from couch to cultural icon. Sylvia & Company. Coda.
Huw Osborne is Associate Professor of English at the Royal Military College of Canada.
'Informed by impressive archival work, the essays in this collection all demonstrate that the roles played by independent bookstores extend well beyond that of middleman and are, in fact, those of active producers of literary texts and literary culture. Scholars and students of print culture, modernist literature, book history, and even periodical studies, will find this volume compelling and important.' Mark S. Morrisson, The Pennsylvania State University, USA 'This brilliant collection of essays pioneers research into one of the most neglected, but important, institutions of modernism: the bookshop. The fascinating essays here reveal the full significance of the bookshop as a space for disseminating modernism and show how bookshops, from New York to Paris, were often caught between the demands of commerce and culture. This stimulating book should be read by all those interested in understanding the relationship between modernism and its readership.' Andrew Thacker, Nottingham Trent University, UK