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Book Description

LAWRENCE’S DIARY OF A WALKING TOUR IN NORTHERN SYRIA IN 1911, FROM THE LIBRARY OF JEREMY WILSON

Octavo (234 x 166mm), pp. [6 (half-title, verso blank, title, colophon, contents, verso blank)], vii-xi (introduction), [5 (‘A Note Concerning the Text of this Diary’, ‘To T.E.L.’, blank, fly-title, blank)], 1-[79], [1 (blank)]. 13 full-page half-tone photographic illustrations after Lawrence in the text. (Some spotting.) Original black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, dustwrapper reproducing illustration by Eric Kennington on the upper panel, price-clipped. (Endpapers spotted, extremities lightly bumped, dustwrapper slightly rubbed, chipped and creased at edges.) A very good copy.

Provenance: Jack Duckworth, Christmas 1995 (owenership inscription on front free endpaper) – Jeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017, booklabel on upper pastedown).
Dealer Notes
Third English edition. This volume is based on the diary kept by Lawrence during a walking tour to Horran, Urfa, Biredjik, Tell Basher, and Aleppo during a seasonal break in the archaeological excavations in Carchemish. During his travels Lawrence explored castles in the area (some of which he had visited in 1909 in preparation for his thesis, which was alter published as Crusader Castles) and also collected engraved seal stones. As A.W. Lawrence’s prefatory note explains, ‘[t]his diary was kept while the author was journeying through Northern Syria during 1911. It consists of notes jotted down whenever he had a moment to rest. As he travelled to most places on foot and was extremely ill the greater part of the time, the consistency of writing and spelling cannot be relied upon, especially as the original manuscript was kept in pencil in a small canvas-backed note-book and was never revised. The contradictions in spelling have been here transcribed as faithfully as deciphering will allow, without any corrections whatsoever’ (‘A Note Concerning the Text of this Diary’).

The diary is prefaced with the poem ‘To T.E.L. February 18th 1914’ by the author’s brother W.G. Lawrence, and the work concludes with ‘Three Letters to Mrs. Lawrence Written during the Author’s Journey in Syria’. It was first published in a limited edition of 203 copies by the Corvinus Press in 1937, which was followed by a privately-printed edition in 1990, and then the present edition, which has a new preface by Robin Bidwell.

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.

O’Brien A194b.
Author LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward
Date 1993
Publisher Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd

Price: £29.50

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