Updated June 2012
History of Seven Pillars
Private memorandum, January 1927
[Note: Lawrence made this manuscript note when drafting Some Notes on the Writing of Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Revolt in the Desert, a leaflet circulated to Seven Pillars subscribers. The note is amended, with several insertions. For clarity it is transcribed here as linear text. Lawrence placed square brackets around some sections. These are shown here as indented paragraphs]
Name of imaginary book on C.P Cairo Smyrna Aleppo Jerusalem Urfa and Damascus destroyed by TES in August 1914
Dedication of book is to an imaginary person of neutral sex
MS. 1) Written in Paris (Feb-June). Introduction completed on way out to Egypt. July-Aug 1919.
MS. 2) Written in London 1919-1920 (winter: about 3 months). This edition was burnt at Chingford in 1922.
MS. 3) Written at intervals in London 1921. At Jeddah 1921. In London 1922. Now in Bodleian. 330,000 words.
Oxford Edn 4) Text of 3 printed textually at Oxford. Jan 1922 - May 1922. Oxford Times press. 8 copies: of which 5 still exist Jan 1. 1927 (1. With D.G. Hogarth. 2. With Mrs. Shaw. 3. With E.H. Kennington. 4. With J.G. Wilson. 5. With A.C. Dawnay.) Remainder destroyed by T.E.S.
Cranwell Edn 5) Text of 4, extensively revised at Bovington (Clouds Hill) and Cranwell, in 1923. 1924, 1925, 1926. Printed at 44 Westbourne Terrace North, Paddington by Manning Pike and C.J. Hodgson for T.E. Shaw 270,000 words.
Of this edition nine spoiled proofs exist in 1927 (Jan. 1) (i) With an extra chapter Pte Palmer, 2. A/A Knowles. 3. A/c Shaw. 4. Cadet College Library, Cranwell. 5. W. Roberts. 6. B. Hughes-Stanton. 7. J.G. Wilson. 8. G. Doran. 9. R. Savage. '3' is the final text, the others being variant and defective.
202 identical copies of this text were collated by TES, and certified by him as 170 complete or 32 incomplete according to whether they had the complement of 65 plates or a broken set of plates.
128 complete copies of this edition were supplied to 127 subscribers of 30 guineas per copy, between Dec 1. 1926 (date of publication) and Jan 1927, when distribution was complete.
19 complete copies of this edition were given away to architects of the edition.
17 complete copies of this edition were given away by T.E.S. as a duty to people who pleased his whim.
26 incomplete copies (i.e. full texts but defective in plates) were given away by TES to people mentioned in the book, or people who had been officially or personally useful to the Arab Revolt.
Total signed complete copies of Cranwell edition 170
Total signed incomplete copies of Cranwell edition 32
Total spoiled proof sheets more or less defective 9
Grand Total Cranwell Edition 211
New York Edition 6)
Textual reprint of 'Spoiled Proof No 8' of Cranwell Edition. Minor defects in text as compared with complete Cranwell Edition, with two variant passages, no introductory tabular matter or appendixes, no plates. Printed by G. Doran, in U.S.A. 22 copies, of which 10 for sale.
Abridgement. 7) Abridgement (slightly modified) of Cranwell text, with three or four extra paragraphs. Published by Jonathan Cape London for sale on March 5. 1927. J.C. are responsible for format of this edition: but have been allowed to include, in a limited large-paper edition (800 copies) 10 colour plates as produced for Cranwell edition. Under title Revolt in the Desert.
|Last revised:||40 December 2013|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset