The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition. T. E. Lawrence.
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition
The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition

The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, copy #175 of the extraordinary limited edition

London: Corvinus Press, 1937. Limited Edition. Hardcover. This is the extraordinarily beautiful 1937 Corvinus Press limited first edition of The Diary of T. E. Lawrence, which has been called “the most ambitious and handsome volume published by the Corvinus Press.” The edition was bound in quarter brown leather over beautifully speckled and textured boards that appear to be rice paper with parchment corners. Of the entire edition of 203 copies, 130 were printed thus on sumptuous, mould-made “parchment substitute paper” with gilt top edge and untrimmed fore and bottom edges, bound with 13 collotype plates of photographs “taken by the author during the time the diary was being written.” The limitation page is hand-numbered “175.” We conservatively grade this copy as near fine. The binding is square and tight with sharp corners, bright spine gilt, and no appreciable sunning or soiling. Searching for flaws, we note the most trivial hints of shelf wear to the bottom edge and the spine head corners. The contents are likewise exceptionally clean with no previous ownership marks and no spotting. The top edge gilt remains bright. We note only mild age-toning to the untrimmed fore and bottom edges. T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935) achieved fame from his 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.” However, Lawrence’s literary and intellectual reach far exceeded the world and words of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  To the point, Lawrence’s friend and admirer Winston Churchill said:  “Lawrence had a full measure of the versatility of genius…  He was a savant as well as a soldier.  He was an archaeologist as well as a man of action.  He was an accomplished scholar as well as an Arab partisan.  He was a mechanic as well as a philosopher.  His background of somber experience and reflection only seemed to set forth more brightly the charm and gaiety of his companionship, and the generous majesty of his nature.”  (Great Contemporaries, p. 166) Lawrence’s 1911 Diary is an early window on his observational astuteness and sensitivity, as well as the sheer physical endurance (he was “extremely ill the greater part of the time”) that informed his intellect. After graduating from Oxford with a First in history, Lawrence was employed at an archaeological dig in Carchemish in Northern Syria. In 1911, while the dig was on a seasonal hiatus, Lawrence took a solitary walking journey through Syria, during which he kept a diary. This 1937 Corvinus Press limited edition not only published the Diary for the first time, but also a poem written in 1914 to Lawrence by his brother, W.G. Lawrence (who was killed in 1915 while flying during active service in France), as well as three letters written by Lawrence to his mother during his Syrian journey. The Corvinus Press was founded in 1936 by Viscount Carlow, an active book collector and amateur linguist and typographer. The press published works by T. E. Lawrence, James Joyce, and other noteworthy literary figures. Carlow was killed in a 1944 airplane crash and the press was bought out the following year. Bibliographic reference: O’Brien A194. Item #004385

Price: $3,600.00

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