Military Report on the Sinai Peninsula
Towards 'An English Fourth'
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
'The Mint' and Later Writings About Service Life
Boats for the R.A.F. 1929-1935
reports and correspondence
The Forest Giant
Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw
Correspondence with E. M. Forster and F.L. Lucas
More Correspondence with Writers
Correspondence with Edward and David Garnett
Correspondence with Henry Williamson
Translating the Bruce Rogers 'Odyssey'
Correspondence with the Political Elite 1922-1935
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T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text
Subscribers' Library Edition
Edited with an Introduction by Jeremy Wilson
"The Work is a masterpiece, one of the few very best of its kind in the world." Bernard Shaw, writing about the 1922 Text to Stanley Baldwin, then Prime Minister.
Cloth, quarter-goatskin, full goatskin
Background to this one-volume edition
In 1997 we published a three-volume limited edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Complete 1922 Text. The prospectus set out the history of the 1922 text and discussed the differences between it and the later subscribers' abridgement. It is worth reading that prospectus before going further.
Publication of the 1997 edition followed an example set in 1921 by Jonathan Cape and the Medici Society. In order to get Charles Doughty's very long Travels in Arabia Deserta back into print, they issued a two-volume limited edition, to which Lawrence contributed an introduction.
Not only did we follow this example, but we did so for the same reason. The 1922 text of Seven Pillars is a large-scale publishing project, running to 334,500-words. No publisher contacted by the literary agency acting for the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust was willing to issue it on acceptable terms.
Our 1997 fine-press edition recovered the major costs of editing and typesetting the text. However, it quickly went out of print and the price of second-hand sets then rose steeply.
Even though the text now existed in printed form, the obstacles to a more general edition remained far greater than they were for Travels in Arabia Deserta.
Because of a quirk in American copyright law, the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars will remain in copyright in the US until the 2020s. In principle Doubleday, part of Random House, who are the American publishers of the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars could issue the 1922 Text. But they have little business incentive to do that, so long as their shorter version continues to sell.
Our legal advisers took the view that we could not make our edition available for sale by bookstores in America, since so much of it was closely paralleled (albeit with some amendments) by the subscribers' abridgement of which Doubleday owns US copyright. As things stand, therefore, it seems unlikely that booksellers located in the United States can legally sell the 1922 text.
Without sales in US bookstores, the global market for an English-language edition of the 1922 Text was more than halved.
The full 1922 Seven Pillars is a third longer than the 1926 subscribers' abridgement, which is widely available in cheap paperback editions. In a bookshop, the two versions would compete head-on. Because the 1922 text is so much longer, it will always be more expensive. How long will it take book-buyers to realise that there are important differences between the two?
Under our contract with the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust, we undertook to produce if possible a one-volume hardback edition. Our conditions were, first, that the original 1997 edition must succeed, and secondly that a one-volume edition must be commercially viable.
In preparation for a one-volume edition, we re-set the 1922 Text in a smaller page format, reducing the page-count by running the chapters head-to-tail. We also added a scholarly index by Hazel K. Bell. This produced a book of 896 pages. To that, we added 16 pages of black-and-white photographs taken by Lawrence and others during the Arab Revolt.
We also re-checked the text against copies of the two source documents: Lawrence's original manuscript in the Bodleian Library and his amended copy of the 1922 proof printing. This led to a number of small improvements. A professional editor reviewed the punctuation.
Hazel Bell's index went on to win the Wheatley Medal, Britain's major indexing award. The index is, moreover, a "first" in the entire publishing history of Seven Pillars. When the subscribers' abridgement was rushed into print in the weeks after Lawrence's death, there was too little time to prepare a proper index. Instead, there are brief indexes of people and place-names. The omission was never rectified. Perhaps the publishers saw no need to spend money indexing a book that was already selling well.
Standard cloth binding
896 pages, 16 pages of b&w photographs. TPS 234 x 156mm. Typeset by Castle Hill Press in 11 point Caslon. Printed on cream acid-free paper by the Cromwell Press. 1,000 numbered copies were produced in a sewn hardback binding by the Cromwell Press: brown cloth (Tele Legatoria Canvas Extra RFA); top edge gilt; ribbon place-marker; head and tail bands; glassine dust-jacket. The coloured endpapers were reproduced from maps prepared by Lawrence for Seven Pillars in 1926.
- pp. i-xxvi preliminaries, including contents list, synopsis, and a preface by Jeremy Wilson: 'The Two Texts of Seven Pillars' (pp. xxi-xxvi).
- pp. 1-813 T. E. Lawrence's full 1922 text of Seven Pillars, previously published only in our three-volume 1997 fine-press edition. Preparation for this second edition has included a further comparison of the two source texts by Jeremy and Nicole Wilson, leading to minor amendments and corrections.
- pp. 814-820: Appendixes I and II from the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars, i.e. nominal rolls and information from Lawrence's pocket diaries for 1917-18.
- p. 820 Editor's note.
- pp. 821-870 award-winning index by Hazel K. Bell
Out of print
180 numbered copies Bound by The Fine Bindery in quarter Nigerian goatskin with cloth sides. Top edge gilt, ribbon place marker, head and tail bands. Issued either in a temporary glassine dust-jacket or a rigid slip-case.
Out of print
45 numbered copies bound in full Nigerian goatskin (copies 1-5 in Oxford blue; copies 6-45 in brown). Gilt design on the front cover and spine based on one of the bindings for Lawrence's 1926 Subscribers' edition. All edges gilt, ribbon place marker, head and tail bands.
Issued in a rigid slip-case, accompanied by a 34-page booklet by Jeremy Wilson containing a history of the edition and a discussion of differences between the 1922 text and the subscribers' abridgement.
Out of print
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Considering the tastefulness of the physical design of the Castle Hill volumes - which undoubtedly would have pleased Lawrence, who was a devotee of William Morris's idea of 'the book beautiful' - and the spare tastefulness of their editing, and especially their making available important but otherwise hard-to-access texts, this is a project for which Lawrence scholars will indeed be grateful now and in years to come. [Professor Stephen E. Tabachnick, reviewing Castle Hill Press books in English Literature in Transition]
. . . I couldn't be more pleased. The attention to detail, and conception of this edition, are wonderful . . .
I cannot praise too highly the quality of the production, with exceptional clarity and beauty of print, the erudition of editing, and the excellent on-line service. Important correspondence in beautiful books - the perfect combination.
. . .Excellence in research and editing, and magnificently produced books in superb bindings. Last but not least, efficient and friendly service, with books posted in rock solid packaging.
. . . These books are a pleasure to own and read . . .. . . a quite invaluable job in publishing (very beautifully . . .) many of the writings of TEL which hitherto have been available only in manuscript form in museums, libraries or private collections, or in out-of-print books which are very hard to obtain.
An excellent set of publications that are beautifully edited and produced. A wonderful addition to my library and to any library.