SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556
SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556

SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM T. E. LAWRENCE 1935 First Limited Trade Edition, No. 556

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[LAWRENCE, T. E.]. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a Triumph. London: Jonathan Cape, 1935.

Hardcover. First edition thus -- the limited issue of the trade edition (preceded by two very limited editions in the 1920's). Hand numbered on the limitation page 556 of 750 (numbered copies were issued simultaneously with the general trade first edition). Leather-bound. Thick quarto (260 x 200 mm), pp. 672. Bound in quarter tan pigskin over brown buckram boards; gilt stamped lettering on the smooth spine, the frontage with gilt stamped arabesque interlocking sword motif and lettering; top edge gilt and other edges untrimmed; marbled pastedowns and endpapers. Limitation page/ half-title. 3 facsimile examples of text or manuscript; 54 illustrations including portrait bust frontispiece, many charcoal drawn plates and in-text line drawings; 4 fold-out maps; appendices; indexes of place names and personal names.

Condition: VERY GOOD. Binding tight and secure. Some fading to the spine and a touch on the boards but covers otherwise well preserved and rather clean. The textblock is absolutely immaculate. Without bookplates or inking.

Note: This is the rare limited issue of the first trade edition (or third English edition overall) and only one of seven hundred and fifty copies produced, following the Oxford Times edition of 1922 (of which there were eight copies), and the 1926 Cranwell edition (limited to 211 copies, 170 only designated complete). Title-page verso states: "Privately printed, 1926; first published for general circulation, 1935. Printed in Great Britain in the city of Oxford at the Alden Press. Illustrations in Photogravure by John Swain & Son. Maps by The Chiswick Press, Ltd. Paper by John Dickinson & co., Ltd. Bound by A. W. Bain & Co., Ltd". It is copiously illustrated with black and white plates by Eric Kennington, William Nicholson, William Roberts, Augustus John, Gilbert Spencer, William Rothenstein, Carline, Frank Dobson etc. Churchill wrote: "It ranks with the greatest books ever written in the English language. If Lawrence had never done anything except write this book as a mere work of the imagination his fame would last. But it is fact, not fiction. An epic, a prodigy, a tale of torment, and in the heart of it - A Man."

The book records the experiences of T. E. Lawrence while serving with rebel forces during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks of 1916-1918. "Lawrence had taken part in the preliminary planning of the Arab uprising and, in October 1916, was ordered to Jiddah to assess the military situation. What followed is recorded in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 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 fulfilment 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 gruelling 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). The title comes from the Book of Proverbs 9:1: "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars."

Bibliographic reference: O'Brien A042.