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Book Description

AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY FROM THE LIBRARY OF LAWRENCE’S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHER, BEQUEATHED TO HIM BY THE LAWRENCE SCHOLAR LILITH FRIEDMAN

Octavo (229 x 153mm), pp. xvi, 731, [1 (blank)]. Title printed in red and black, text printed in Roman and Greek characters. Half-tone frontispiece and 19 half-tone plates, all but one with illustrations after T.E. Lawrence, B.H. Liddell Hart, et al. recto-and-verso. Illustrations and plans in the text, 4 full-page, and one full-page facsimile of a letter by Churchill. (A few light marks.) Original dark blue cloth by The Kemp Hall Bindery, spine lettered in gilt, black-and-red printed dustwrapper, not price-clipped. (Extremities very lightly rubbed and bumped, dustwrapper slightly darkened and creased on spine, marked on lower panel, creased and darkened on spine, edges slightly creased and chipped.) A very good copy.

Provenance: Dr Lilith Friedman (initials ‘L.F.’ on front free endpaper, occasional check-marks, apparently by Friedman, on T.E. Lawrence’s letters; bequeathed to:) – Jeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017).
Dealer Notes
First edition. ‘This collection of letters, edited by [T.E. Lawrence’s] brother M.R. Lawrence, supplements the David Garnett collection of 1938. The letters included here for the most part cover his early years; fully two thirds of those included are from before the war. The two collections provide a remarkable picture of the range and scope of Lawrence’s letter-writing from his youth to the end of his life. The letters of his brothers Frank and Will, both of whom died in the First World War, are also included. The whole reflects what was a truly remarkable family. This collection is a primary source for the pre-war correspondence of Lawrence’ (O’Brien, pp. 167-168).

This copy was previously in the library of the Lawrence scholar Lilith Friedman, who worked with John Mack on his biography A Prince of our Disorder (Boston, 1976) and with Lawrence’s authorised biographer Jeremy Wilson for some twenty years on numerous projects, including Lawrence of Arabia, where her assistance is acknowledged with the words, ‘[t]his book would not have been completed, even now, without the years of work contributed by Dr Lilith Friedman. She has patiently and painstakingly followed up thousands of queries and has remained cheerful even when the search proved fruitless’ (p. 1157). After her death it was bequeathed, with many of her books on Lawrence, to Jeremy Wilson.

T.E. Lawrence’s letters are prefaced by Winston Churchill’s ‘Allocution’, given at Oxford High School at the unveiling of the Memorial to Lawrence in 1936, together with a facsimile of Churchill’s 1954 letter ‘readily’ consenting to allow the allocution to be reprinted here. Wilson discovered the background to and true origin of this letter in ‘about 1969’, when he met the publisher Sir Basil Blackwell, as he explained in ‘Defending Lawrence’ in Finest Hour (vol. 169 (2015), p. 50). Apparently the inclusion of Churchill’s 1936 ‘Allocution’ was proposed by Sarah and M.R. Lawrence, and Blackwell wrote to the prime minister requesting his permission to reprint the allocution, and also to write a prefatory note for the volume, which was intended (unbeknownst to Churchill) to counter the attacks on Lawrence in Richard Aldington’s forthcoming Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry: ‘Blackwell felt that if Churchill added a note introducing his 1936 speech in which he stated that his view of Lawrence was unchanged, it would help preserve his friend’s reputation’.

Churchill’s secretary, Jane Portal, replied to Blackwell’s request with the words, ‘“[w]ith regard to the paragraph you suggest ‘introducing’ the tribute; it would be most helpful if you could send a draft of what you would think suitable, with what Sir Winston said on that occasion and he can then alter it if necessary and also sign it.” Blackwell was surprised, but did his best in a brief note to mimic Churchill’s oratory style’ and his draft was returned ‘almost exactly’ the same, apart from the omission of an adapted Shakespeare quote, ‘typed out on Downing Street notepaper and signed by the Prime Minister. [...] Blackwell printed the letter in facsimile, leaving readers (except Blackwell!) in no doubt about its authenticity’.

Cohen, Churchill, B145.1; O’Brien A246.
Author LAWRENCE, T.E., William George LAWRENCE, and Frank Helier LAWRENCE
Date 1954
Publisher Oxford: Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd for Basil Blackwell

Price: £295.00

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