Monnier, Adrienne (1892–1955) By Mitrano, Mena
Adrienne Monnier was a gifted writer, editor, bookseller, publisher, patron, and salon keeper based in Paris. For the first half of the twentieth century, Monnier was at the centre of an international intellectual network, a sought-after hostess who welcomed to her home and table many American friends of her companion, Sylvia Beach.
Her bookstore, La Maison des Amis de Livres, was located at 7 rue de l’Odeon. It was made possible by the indemnity money that Monnier’s father got from a train accident. Initially, it served as a lending library and specialized in modern authors, with a section on the ‘entire world’ and another on Tibet and Tibetan yoga. Her love of books turned the place from an anonymous bookstore to, as France Soir put it in 1953, ‘un espáce de célebrité’. Monnier organized readings called ‘Les Séance des Amis des Livre’ and held Wednesday gatherings devoted to lectures and presentations. In her bookstore Valery Larbaud lectured on James Joyce for the first time on December 7, 1921. An untiring cultural entrepreneur, she also edited and published her own review, Le Navire d’Argent.