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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.

Source: Texas Quarterly
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 40 December 2013


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