Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A Triumph.

LAWRENCE T.E. (1926.)


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One of nine proof copies of the 1926 "Cranwell" or "Subscribers" edition, this copy almost certainly copy No. 8 according to Lawrence's account, from which the first American edition of 22 copies was set in type. With many wood-engraved initial letters and 13 of the original illustrations in the text, including pasted-in India paper proofs of, at page 339 a reproduction of a drawing, possibly by Eric Kennington and evidently an abandoned version of The Prophet and, at page 564 The Glory of a young Man by Kennington. The pictorial endpapers by Kennington are present as India paper proofs partially pasted down on to endpapers. Irregular collation, with many single leaves pasted on to neighbouring pages, and four pages present as pasted-on sheets of proofing paper lacking the initial letters. The preliminaries, up to the first page of text, were evidently unbound sheets when the book was inscribed, and have been sewn later. Folio, original plain wrappers, uncut. Wrappers with signs of handling including a two inch tear, without loss, to the spine, a one inch square section lacking from the gutter of the upper cover, and other slight wear to the extremities. Some occasional foxing to the text, and signs of use consistent with having been used as setting-copy. Fine blue morocco case. [London, Privately Printed.

One of the earliest copies known, with Lawrence's splendid presentation inscription to his literary agent, Raymond Savage. The inscription is a virtual letter, covering the entire endpaper and gives a full (although apparently inaccurate) description of the state of production of Seven Pillars. In addition Lawrence has added his name (TE "Lawrence") on the title page, with a note at the foot 'No: this was a sort of joke. The subscribers' copies will all be initialled "TES" of course, & dated for the day of publication.'According to Lawrence's account of the publication and distribution of the 1926 edition of Seven Pillars (see Texas Quarterly Vol. 5 No. 3, 1956) there were nine proof copies bound up in advance of the final issue. Although the inscription in the present copy says "Pike made me up two sets of spoiled proofs, in advance of the finished thing; and stitched 'em up, to make corrections etc. easier for me. . .", Lawrence then goes on to describe a further copy. Four of the proof copies are now located: the present copy; a copy without preliminaries and title page inscribed and given to the College Library at Cranwell (NPG 222); a copy extensively edited by Lawrence and sent to George Doran for the American Revolt in the Desert (University of Texas); a further copy bearing the same revisions copied out by two aircraftsmen and sent to Cape for setting the English Revolt (NPG 243). The differences between the proof copies and the subscribers copies are described by Lawrence in the inscription: "There are two variants in this, from the final edition as it will be sent to subscribers: but they are not important things. The text is complete: but there are missing the little abstracts of the several books which (printed in red & black) are to introduce the several editions. However, in all essentials, this is the complete text . . ." These proof copies were sent out after Lawrence had removed the two libellous passages, and it is these pages which are present here as pasted-on sheets. In 1926 the law offered little protection from American piracies of books published in London, and to minimize this problem "Savage had arranged that the American copyright edition of Seven Pillars should be set up and printed by George H. Doran who was publishing the Cape abridgement in New York." [Wilson, p. 773]. Thus it seems most likely that the two references in the inscription, "You may find it useful for copyrighting" and "if you copyright this, good enough" refer to Savage sending this copy to Doran, that the other copy sent to Doran was the heavily amended copy for Revolt.

Stock Code: 225625

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