LAWRENCE, THOMAS EDWARD. 1888-1935.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph. [London: Printed for the author by Manning Pike and H.J. Hodgson, 1926.]
4to (252 x 185 mm). xxii, 659,  pp. Printed in red and black. With 66 plates, including frontispiece portrait and 4 double-page plates, by Kennington, Roberts, Clark, Nash, and others; 4 double-page color maps with original linin backing; 58 illustrations in text; woodcut endpapers. With additional "Prickly Pear" plate, without line drawings by Nash on p 92 and p 208 called for on the list of illustrations (as usual), and without the Blair-Hughes-Stanton woodcut illustrating the dedicatory poem found in some copies. Full green morocco by Roger de Coverly & Sons, gilt double rule to covers with decorative corner pieces and large gilt centerpiece, raised bands, spine titles gilt, panels gilt ruled, t.e.g. Custom chemise and quarter morocco clamshell case. Fine.
Provenance: Philip C. Duschnes (bookseller's ticket to recto of r.f.e.p.).
PRIVATELY PRINTED EDITION, ONE OF 170 COMPLETE COPIES, INSCRIBED, "Complete copy / I.XII.26 TES" on list of illustrations, and with "Roberts" crossed through and corrected to "K[ennington]" in holograph. Lawrence was intimately involved with the production of this edition, including the commissioning of the illustrations (the outstanding portraits by Kennsington being of special note), the printers Pike and Hodgson, the production of the maps (see previous lot), and the employment of several different binders to speed up production and to make sure each copy was distinct. In addition to the 170 copies initialed by Lawrence as "complete," Lawrence had 32 incomplete copies (lacking certain illustrations) bound up and issued to the men who had served with him during the campaign but who could not afford to pay the price of the subscriber's edition.
One of the grand narratives of 20th century literature, Seven Pillars is "a personal, emotional narrative of the Arab revolt in which Lawrence reveals how by sheer willpower he made history. It was a testimony to his vision and persistence and a fulfillment of his desire to write an epic which might stand comparison in scale and linguistic elegance with his beloved Morte d'Arthur and C. M. Doughty's Arabia deserta. Subtitled 'A triumph,' its climax is the Arab liberation of Damascus, a victory which successfully concludes a grueling campaign and vindicates Lawrence's faith in the Arabs. In a way Seven Pillars is a sort of Pilgrim's Progress, with Lawrence as Christian, a figure sustained by his faith in the Arabs, successively overcoming physical and moral obstacles" (ODNB). O'Brien A040.