Article

Monnier, Adrienne (1892–1955) By Mitrano, Mena

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1768-1
Published: 01/10/2017
Retrieved: 22 November 2019, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/monnier-adrienne-1892-1955

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Abstract

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.

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.

Monnier knew how to play with forms, and she went through transformations. In her early years she impersonated the new woman open to gender ambiguity and sexual transgression. Over time she favored the look shown in a popular photograph by Gisèle Freund which captures Monnier in her trademark cape while she is slightly bent over the book box outside Shakespeare and Company, Sylvia Beach’s bookstore. She bears a certain iconic relation to the modern mind for her ability to reconcile opposites in her person. Despite her masculine look, she charmed her public because of the provincial daughter in her.

Further reading

  • Beach, S. (1991). Shakespeare and Co. Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press.

  • Fitch, N. R. (1985). Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties. New York: W. W. Norton.

  • Imbert, M. (1991). Adrienne Monnier & la Maison des Amis des Livres, 1915–1951. Paris: Editions IMEC.

  • Monnier, A. (1976). The Very Rich Hours of Adrienne Monnier (R. McDougall, Ed. and Trans.). New York: Scribner.

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Published

01/10/2017

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM1768-1

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Citing this article:

Mitrano, Mena. "Monnier, Adrienne (1892–1955)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 22 Nov. 2019 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/monnier-adrienne-1892-1955. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1768-1

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