Revolt in the Desert. T. E. Lawrence.
Revolt in the Desert
Revolt in the Desert
Revolt in the Desert
Revolt in the Desert
Revolt in the Desert

Revolt in the Desert

New York: George H. Doran, 1927. U.S. first edition, first printing. Hardcover. Revolt in the Desert is the only version of Seven Pillars of Wisdom published for the general public in Lawrence’s lifetime. This is a magnificent copy of the first American edition, first printing – fine in a remarkably bright and complete dust jacket. This American first trade edition was strikingly handsome in grey-red buckram with black print and illustrations on both the front cover and spine and a red-brown stained top edge. The contents are bound with illustrated endpapers as well as 16 illustrations on coated paper. There were two states of the dust jacket, one illustrated with a camel rider on a vividly bright yellow background, the other a horse rider on a gilt background. This copy is the former. The yellow dust jacket is a remarkable survivor – certainly the best we have offered. It is complete with no loss and retaining the original “$3.00” front flap price. Moreover, it is improbably clean and bright, with absolutely no discernible fading of either the yellow background or red print, even on the spine. We note only a trivial hint of wear to extremities and inconsequential soiling at a few points. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover. The book beneath is equally impressive. First printing is confirmed by the publisher’s colophon (a black ‘lozenge’ with white GHD within) on the title page verso between the copyright and printing statement. The illustrated cloth binding is square, bright, and tight with only a suggestion of wrinkling at the spine ends and a touch of wear to the lower corners. The contents are immaculate with no previous ownership marks, no spotting, pristine fore and bottom edges and clean, unfaded top stain. The story is that 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 his masterwork for the general public during his lifetime. The history of the publication of Seven Pillars of Wisdom and its many versions - including Revolt in the Desert - is almost as complicated and interesting as the author himself. Lawrence nearly completed a massive first draft of Seven Pillars of Wisdom in 1919, only to famously lose it when his briefcase was mislaid at a train station. This first draft 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 by Lawrence. In 1922, a 335,000-word version was carefully circulated 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 far more than he made in subscriptions. He contemplated selling his library then perhaps some of his property at Pole Hill, Chingford. He finally settled on authorizing publication of this abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which he undertook to do himself. Taking a set of proofs of the Subscriber’s Edition, Lawrence swiftly marked out whole chapters and large portions of others. “Chapters 1-7 were dropped completely, and of 652 pages 211 were omitted entirely… Once his debt had been cleared, he ordered that no more copies were to be printed.” (O’Brien, pp.77-78) It was to be the only version of his work published for the general public during his lifetime. Bibliographic reference: O’Brien A107. Item #004977

Price: $750.00

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