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.