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T. E. Lawrence: Correspondence With Bernard and Charlotte Shaw, 1922-1926 One of 40 copies bound by the publisher in full green goatskin
Fordingbridge, Hampshire: Castle Hill Press, 2000. First and Limited edition. Full goatskin. This volume publishes T. E. Lawrence's correspondence with George Bernard and Charlotte Shaw between 1922 and 1926. It is the first in the T. E. Lawrence Letters series published by 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). The Lawrence-Shaw correspondence ultimately comprised four volumes spanning 1922-1935. Of a total of 475 sets produced, only 40 were magnificently bound thus in full green goatskin with all edges gilt, head and tail bands, and hand-marbled endpapers framed by gilt-rule turn-ins. The elaborate blind-stamped decoration on the front cover, with clover-leaves and interlinked 'S's, is adapted from the 1927 design by C & C McLeish for the Shaws' copy of the subscribers' Seven Pillars. We acquired this pristine, as-new copy from the original subscriber, who subscribed only to the first two volumes of the Lawrence-Shaw correspondence, never completing the four-volume set. This volume includes Lawrence's correspondence with the Shaws regarding his famous 1922 draft of Seven Pillars of Wisdom – the fullest surviving text that would not see publication until 1997. "The publication by Jeremy Wilson of four expertly edited volumes of Lawrence's correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw has... dramatically enriched our knowledge of what Lawrence was thinking and doing from 1922 to 1935, and also arouses, in any objective reader, considerable sympathy for him." T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935) found fame 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 first met George Bernard (1856-1950) and Charlotte Payne-Townshend Shaw (1857-1943) in March 1922. Lawrence was in a state of nervous exhaustion following the First World War, his work on the post-war settlement, and writing and re-writing Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Thereafter, the Shaws played an integral role in Lawrence's literary and personal life. As testimony to the complex importance of the Shaws to Lawrence, by early 1923 Lawrence had enlisted in the Army under the name "Thomas Edward Shaw." Lawrence would use, and publish under, his assumed surname until his death in 1935. In George Bernard Shaw - "the unorthodox, testy, argumentative agent provocateur and gadfly of British life and conventions" - perhaps Lawrence recognized a man who, like himself, had created a role that had overtaken the man. In Charlotte Shaw, Lawrence found "a kind of alternate mother figure" and a lifelong correspondent and confidante. With her revulsion toward physical intimacy, Charlotte was perhaps uniquely suited to understand Lawrence's complex feelings over the infamous incident at Deraa. "Lawrence was more frank about himself with her than with anyone else..." For her part, "there was much about herself that Charlotte hid from her husband, including the sheer volume and intimacy of her correspondence with Lawrence... which shocked the normally imperturbable Shaw when he discovered it after her death." (Korda, p.657) The publisher states that Charlotte "preserved almost all the letters she had received [from Lawrence] - over 300, some very long" and she recovered several she had written to Lawrence. "The correspondence adds up to almost twice the total length of his letters to any other recipient... Lawrence's correspondence with the Shaws between 1922 and 1935 is the most significant series of his post-war letters to survive. It covers an extraordinary variety of topics and, for much of the time, the letters were so frequent that they provide something akin to a diary."
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2018-01-08           Check availability:      Biblio    

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