Rest In Peace, Frere Lampier

One of the highlights of our 2007 visit to Paris was the discovery of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, across the street from the Hotel du Notre Dame where we stayed.

I just learned that its founder, George Whitman, died. He was 98. What an amazing life he led.

A set of photos inside and outside the shop are here. The full chalk writing visible on the panel at the left edge of the frame of the image above is transcribed verbatim as follows:

Paris Wall Newspaper
January 1st 2004

Some people call me the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter because my head is so far up in the clouds that I can imagine all of us are angels in paradise. And instead of being a bonafide bookseller I am more like a frustrated novelist. Store has rooms like chapters in a novel and the fact is Tolstoi and Doestoyevski are more real to me than my next door neighbor, and even stranger is the fact that even before I was born Dostoyevski wrote the story of my life in a book called “The Idiot” and ever since reading it I have been searching for the heroine, a girld called Nastasia Filipovna. One hundred years ago my bookstore was a wine shop hidden from the Seine by an annex hotel dieu hospital which has seen been demolished & replaced by a garden. And further back in the year 1600 our whole building was a monastery called La Maison du Mustier. In medieval times each monastery had a Frere Lampier whose duty was to light the lamps at nightfall. I have been doing this for fifty years now it is my daughter’s turn.