Fordingbridge, Hampshire: Castle Hill Press, 2014. First and Limited edition. Full leather. This is the publisher's full goatskin binding in slipcase, #24 of 45 bound thus, a strikingly beautiful book about one of the 20th century's most strikingly beautiful books. In 1932, T. E. Lawrence published a translation of Homer’s Odyssey. Illustrated by celebrated American typographer and type designer Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), Lawrence’s Odyssey was a masterpiece, an aesthetically magnificent book and a highly regarded translation. This volume brings together letters about the translation and publication of the 1932 Bruce Rogers Odyssey.
The publisher of this limited edition – itself a magnificent book – was Castle Hill Press, the premier editors and fine press publishers of material by and about T. E. Lawrence, founded by Lawrence’s official biographer, Jeremy Wilson (1944-2017). Of a total edition printed for subscribers limited to 377 copies, only copies numbered 1-45 were bound in full goatskin. This copy is hand numbered #24. The binding features full tan-orange goatskin with red spine label, all gilt edges, letterpress-printed, illustrated endpapers, head and foot bands. The accompanying publisher's slipcase is stout, dark brown cloth lined with tan-orange felt. Condition of this hand-numbered, limited edition copy is as-new, with pristine binding, contents, and slipcase.
From the publisher: “Lawrence's translation has been continuously in print for more than 80 years. By that yardstick it is second only to Seven Pillars of Wisdom among his literary achievements. The money the translation earned proved extremely useful to him. It meant that, despite the economic constraints of the early 1930s, he was able to turn his Dorset cottage 'Clouds Hill' into a home fit to live in when he retired from the RAF.
Bruce Rogers was one of the most distinguished typographers and book designers of his time. The 1932 Odyssey is one of his finest works, ranked among the most beautiful books produced in the 20th century. Bruce Rogers also designed two subsequent trade editions of the translation. The 1932 first edition was co-published by Emery Walker. It was one of the last major works printed by Emery Walker Ltd while he was still actively involved in the company. In 1888, the year of Lawrence's birth, it was Walker who inspired William Morris to found the Kelmscott Press. Morris in turn had inspired both Lawrence and Bruce Rogers to become interested in fine printing. In a sense, their magnificent 1932 Odyssey brought the story full circle. For Lawrence, Rogers and Walker were living legends.”. Item #003984