In 1919, an American named Sylvia Beach opened a bookshop and lending library in Paris. She called it Shakespeare and Company, and it soon became the meeting place of the Lost Generation—the community of writers and artists that included Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.
Mapping Expatriate Paris: The Shakespeare and Company Lending Library Project (MEP) is a digital humanities project at Princeton University that uses Beach’s papers to recreate the world of the Lost Generation. MEP tracks the membership of the Shakespeare and Company lending library to reveal what its members read and where they lived. MEP also captures how the expatriate community in Paris changed from the end of World War I to the German Occupation of France in 1940, and the community’s connections to French writers and artists—André Gide, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jacques Lacan, among others—who frequented the library.
In Phase I of the project (2015–2016), MEP encoded logbooks that detail every library membership and renewal; and lending library cards that detail the addresses and borrowing histories of individual library members. MEP also developed a personography of lending library members. In Phase II (2016–2017), MEP is refining its encoding and extending its personography. MEP is also developing an interactive website that will allow the public to examine membership statistics and track the circulation of specific books across networks of library members.
Visit mep.princeton.edu for more information.