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Book Description

FROM THE LIBRARY OF JEREMY WILSON, LAWRENCE'S AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHER

Quarto in 8s (246 x 185mm), pp. [2 (half-title)], 206. Title printed in red and black. (A few light marginal marks.) Original RAF-blue buckram boards by A.W. Bain & Co. Ltd., spine lettered and decorated in gilt, upper board blocked in blind with RAF eagle device, top edges blue, dustwrapper, unclipped and retaining prices on both flaps. (Extremities very lightly rubbed, dustwrapper slightly marked, as often, edges slightly creased, some small chips and tears.). A very good, clean copy in the dustwrapper.

Provenance: Jeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017, ownership signature on front free endpaper and booklabel on upper pastedown).
Dealer Notes
First British edition, the trade issue. ‘One of Lawrence’s avowed purposes in joining the RAF, though not the only one, was to write of the ranks from the inside. He began immediately making notes when he enlisted in 1922. With his dismissal in January 1923, because of unfavourable publicity, the project was set aside, not to be taken up again until he was posted to India in 1927. [...] While in India he edited the text of his earlier notes and began revisions. In March 1928 he sent a clean copy of the revised text to Edward Garnett. Garnett had copies typed which were circulated to a small circle, among them Air Marshal Trenchard. [...] Trenchard’s concerned response led Lawrence to guarantee that it would not be published at least until 1950. Later revisions were made by Lawrence in the last months of his life with a possible view to publication in a private edition on a handpress’ (O’Brien, pp. 119-120).

An American edition was printed in 1936 to forestall a possible piracy, but the present edition was printed from a later, revised version of the text. The type was set up by Cape in 1948, but publication was delayed until 1955, when an officer described unfavourably by Lawrence died. The British edition appeared in two issues: the limited issue and the present trade issue ‘which had all objectionable words lifted out of the text, leaving blank spaces’ (loc. cit.).

This copy was formerly in the library of the distinguished Lawrence scholar Jeremy Wilson, the editor of T.E. Lawrence’s Minorities (London, 1971), and 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). Jeremy Wilson was also the co-founder, with his wife Nicole, of the Castle Hill Press, which has published scholarly editions of works by Lawrence – including ‘The Mint’ and Later Writings about Service Life (2009) – and the definitive series of Lawrence’s letters. Loosely inserted is a postcard soliciting subscriptions to Cape’s periodical Now & Then.

O’Brien A173.
Author LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward
Date 1955
Publisher London: The Alden Press for Jonathan Cape

Price: £295.00

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