Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase. T. E. Lawrence.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase

Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #683 of 750, retaining the publisher's slipcase

New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1935. First, Limited edition. Hardcover. This is the publisher's finely bound, hand-numbered limited issue of the U.S. first edition in the publisher’s slipcase. This issue featured quarter dark brown pigskin over maroon buckram boards with beveled edges, maroon top edge, red and yellow head and foot bands, and untrimmed fore and bottom edges. Here is copy #683 of 750, hand-numbered thus on the limitation page. This is a sound, complete, and unrestored example with exceptional contents, marred only by spine presentation, which is the sole reason we grade and price it conservatively as merely “good” condition. The pigskin spine of this U.S. limited edition proved highly susceptible to toning, soiling, and cracking, so most surviving copies suffer shabby spine appearance. This copy is a case in point, the spine significantly toned and stained and with a modest vertical concavity. Apart from this aesthetic deficiency, the condition of the binding is excellent – the quarter leather spine showing no cracking, the boards nearly flawless. The contents are improbably bright and clean with no spotting and no previous ownership marks. The untrimmed fore and bottom edges are pristine, the topstain perfect. We note a cosmetic split to the endpapers at the rear pastedown gutter that does not affect binding integrity. We also note that the facsimile manuscript page opposite p.21 was long ago reinforced at the fold with a tape strip. Superlative condition of the boards and contents owes to the book’s lifelong protection in the publisher’s original laid-paper coated cardboard slipcase. The slipcase is scuffed and stained, but fully intact. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the story of T. E. Lawrence's (1888-1935) remarkable odyssey as instigator, organizer, hero, and tragic figure of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, which he began as an eccentric junior intelligence officer and ended as "Lawrence of Arabia." This time defined Lawrence with indelible experience and celebrity, which he would spend the rest of his famously short life struggling to reconcile and reject, to recount and repress. Lawrence famously resisted publication of Seven Pillars for the general public during his lifetime. The saga is remarkable. He nearly completed a massive first draft in 1919, only to famously lose it when his briefcase was mislaid at a train station. It was never recovered. At a fever pitch, Lawrence wrote a new 400,000 word draft in 1920. This punishing burst of writing was followed by an equally brutal process of editing. In 1922, a 335,000 word version was circulated only to select friends and literary critics - the famous "Oxford Text". George Bernard Shaw called it "a masterpiece". Nonetheless, Lawrence was unready to see it distributed to the public. Finally, in 1926, a further edited 250,000 word "Subscribers' Edition" was produced by Lawrence - but fewer than 200 copies were made, each lavishly and uniquely bound. The process cost Lawrence more than he made in subscriptions. To recover the loss, Lawrence finally authorized an edition for the general public - but one even further abridged, titled "Revolt in the Desert". It was only in the summer of 1935, in the weeks following Lawrence's death, that the text of the Subscribers' Edition was finally published for circulation to the general public. Simultaneous with both the British and U.S. general trade first editions were finely bound, hand-numbered limited editions of 750 copies, of which this copy #683 of the U.S. first edition is an imperfect but nonetheless worthy survivor. Please anticipate the possibility of additional shipping cost for this large, heavy book, depending on destination. Bibliographic reference: O'Brien A053. Item #005674

Price: $400.00

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