Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

LAWRENCE T.E. (1922.)


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Book VIII only, heavily revised throughout by the author, with extensive manuscript additions, alterations and deletions on every page with many hundreds of words in the author's hand; the textual alterations in Lawrence's characteristic black map-making ink; the chapter numbers and running headlines in red ink as in other copies of the Oxford edition: marginal emphases, dates and other notes in pencil; in addition there is one marginal note: "I shd. leave this in: it is needed" in the hand of Charlotte Shaw and initialled by her, and a few pencil notes in an unidentified hand (possibly Edward Garnett's). 20ff. printed on rectos only, including the original carbon-copy typed summary of Book VIII (as issued) with MS alterations by the author. Bound with an ALS from Lawrence, signed "S", from "Hut 105 R.A.F. Cadet College Cranwell" unaddressed but to D.G. Hogarth, undated, but late 1925 or early 1926, enclosing the text (a transcript of this letter is in the Bodleian); late twentieth century red morocco, interleaved.  [Oxford, printed at the Oxford Times.

First edition, one of eight copies printed at the Oxford Times. Ignoring the book of the same title written by Lawrence in 1913 and destroyed in 1914, there were three manuscript versions of Seven Pillars: the first draft was famously lost at Reading station in 1919, the second draft, rewritten from memory, formed the basis for the third draft and was afterwards burned by Lawrence in 1922. This third draft was used to set the 1922 edition, and was afterwards presented by the author to the Bodleian Library, along with a single retained page of the second draft. A copy of this 1922 edition was then heavily edited by Lawrence for the 1926 Subscribers' Edition: we are here offering the only surviving part of this corrected copy. Barring any further discoveries, these are thus the most important working papers of T.E. Lawrence's central work likely to come on the market and, with the exception of the single leaf from the second draft, represent the only known working manuscripts of Seven Pillars. As no significant corrected proofs of the 1926 edition are known, this is also the only record of an important intermediate state of the text: after the main body of revision had been made, but before the alterations (shown herein to be be quite significant) made at proof stage.

Overall, the alterations to most of the book between the two editions were not as substantial as Lawrence had once expected, and while the majority of the revisions were fairly simple exercises in condensing and polishing the text, this is not true of Books VIII and IX. These two books were originally intended to provide what Lawrence called a "flat", coming as they do between the accounts of the capture of Jerusalem and then Damascus, but he did not consider the final effect of the 1922 text a success: in an unpublished letter to Edward Garnett of 21 May 1925 he described the flat as a "dull area, describing a dull period, before the final effort against Damascus. The final effort didn't come off very well in print, because I'm not very good at vigorous writing." One can note in passing Lawrence's interesting observation that it akes a more "vigorous" author than he to write successfully about periods of relatively little incident. The episodes of Book VIII consist of a period of relative stalemate, during which Lawrence and his comraedes embarked on various line-cutting exploits.

Among the notable components of this section are his observations on how a sexual relation would have compromised the "openness and honesty of their love", which leads on into the uncomfortable, and heavily revised, reflection on the difference between Mediterranean and Northern men in their attitude to women. Perhaps understandably the manuscript demonstrates the difficulty that Lawrence had with this passage. The section also includes the accounts of the deaths of both Daud and Farraj, Lawrence's young servants: significantly the only paragraph in the whole of Book VIII which bears no revision is that in Chapter 103 (Chapter 94 in the 1926 edition), beginning "We reached it together, and found there one dead Turk, and Farraj terribly wounded".

Stock Code: 225655

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