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Book Description

JEREMY WILSON’S COPY: AN EXAMPLE ‘OF RESEARCH WHICH FOCUSES TOO NARROWLY ON LAWRENCE WITHOUT SEEKING A FULLER UNDERSTANDING OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS’

Octavo (234 x 156mm), pp. 267, [1 (blank)]. 16 plates with half-tone illustrations recto-and-verso. 5 maps in the text, 3 full-page. (A few light marks.) Original black boards titled in gilt on the spine, dustwrapper. (Corners bumped, dustwrapper slightly creased at the edges and spotted.) A very good copy.

Provenance: Jeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017, booklabel on upper pastedown; pencil markings and annotations, for which vide infra).
Dealer Notes
First edition. A biography by the soldier and author Michael Yardley, which examines the (often misleading or inaccurate) reporting of Lawrence and his actions in the media, both during his lifetime and afterwards, and is based on both documentary sources and personal interviews.

This copy was previously in the collection of the distinguished Lawrence scholar Jeremy Wilson, the editor of T.E. Lawrence’s Minorities (London, 1971), the author of the National Portrait Gallery catalogue T.E. Lawrence: Lawrence of Arabia (London, 1988) and the authoritative biography Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T.E. Lawrence (London, 1989), and the co-founder, with his wife Nicole, of the Castle Hill Press, which has published scholarly editions of works by Lawrence and the definitive edition of Lawrence’s letters.

In his discussion of Lawrence’s posthumous reputation and biographers in the final chapter, Yardley considers the question of access to Lawrence family material and A.W. Lawrence’s reluctance to collaborate with biographers and researchers, while stating that Lawrence ‘has [...] appointed Jeremy Wilson as his brother’s official biographer’ (p. 235) and in his ‘Bibliography’ Yardley also lists Wilson’s edition of Minorities and T.E. Lawrence ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, a set of slides issued by the Ashmolean Museum in 1976 with a printed commentary by Wilson (pp. [251]-257). Four years after this edition was published, Wilson would comment on the ‘danger of research which focuses too narrowly on Lawrence without seeking a fuller understanding of contemporary events’ in Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T.E. Lawrence and use a passage on pp. 70-72 of Yardley’s biography to illustrate his point: ‘[n]ote that Yardley does not, as he claims, print Lawrence’s report [‘The Politics of Mecca’] in full: the extract he uses is from pp. 4-5 of the original document, and amounts to about a quarter of the text’ (p. 1021, n. 79).

Wilson has marked and annotated a number of archival and printed sources given in Yardley’s ‘Notes to the Text’ (pp. [237]-249), presumably with the intention of examining the sources himself (corrections to some of Yardley’s references indicate that Wilson saw most, if not all, of these sources). This copy only has one final blank page, rather than the five called for by O’Brien and observed in other copies.

O’Brien E398.
Author YARDLEY, Michael
Date 1985
Publisher London: Redwood Burn Limited for Harrap

Price: £29.50

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