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Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the U.S. publisher's quarter leather limited edition, copy #178 of 750
New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1935. First, Limited Editon. Hardcover. This is the publisher's finely bound, hand-numbered limited issue of the U.S. first edition, copy #178 of 750, quite scarce in the original publisher's dust jacket and slipcase. 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 his masterwork 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. 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. To recover the loss, Lawrence finally authorized an edition for the general public - but one even further abridged and entitled "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. The limited issue of the U.S. edition is bound in quarter dark brown pigskin over maroon buckram boards with beveled edges, maroon top edge, and red and yellow head and foot bands. The U.S. limited issue came with both a dust jacket and stout cardboard slipcase, both in brown paper with laid paper chain and wire lines. The dust jacket is printed only on the spine, the slipcase unadorned. Here is copy #178 of 750, hand numbered thus on the limitation page. Condition is near fine. The dark brown pigskin spine of this U.S. limited edition proved highly susceptible to toning, soiling, and cracking, so most copies encountered suffer shabby spine appearance. This copy is a notable exception, with a beautifully square, tight, and clean binding. The boards are flawless with virtually no wear. The leather spine is also quite nice, clean with no cracking, bright gilt, only a hint of uniform toning, and fractional wear at the spine ends. What prevents our grading this copy as fine are a few tiny worm holes at the lower rear hinge. We find no damage to the text within. The damage is minor and does not appear recent. The contents are complete and clean apart from a little transfer browning from the pastedown glue. The dark red topstain retains flawlessly uniform and unfaded color. Light spotting appears confined to the untrimmed fore and bottom edges. The dust jacket is complete apart from shallow chipping at the spine ends. The spine is modestly toned and creased. We have fitted the dust jacket with a removable, archival quality clear cover which places no stress on the publisher's slipcase. The original publisher's slipcase is fully intact, with no split seams. We note minor wear to extremities and some overall staining and soiling. Please anticipate additional shipping cost for this large, heavy book, depending on shipping destination. Bibliographic reference: O'Brien A053
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2014-12-15           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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