Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw

LAWRENCE, T.E. Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw.

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LAWRENCE, T.E. Correspondence with Bernard and Charlotte Shaw. Fordingbridge, The Castle Hill Press, 2000-2009.

Four volumes, 4to.Original cloth with dust wrappers, top edge gilt; a fine set in slipcase.
First edition, limited to 475 copies, this set numbered 295. - Complete set have become very rare.
"It was not until his wife's death in 1943 that Bernard Shaw began to understand the extraordinary nature of her correspondence with T.E. Lawrence. She had preserved almost all the letters she had received – over 300, some very long – and had recovered several of those that she herself had written to Lawrence. In her engagement diary, she had used symbols to note the dates that she wrote to Lawrence or received letters from him. When Bernard Shaw read her letters he said: 'It takes a long time for two people to get to know each other, and from a diary I discovered lately, and some letters which she wrote to T. E. Lawrence, I realise that there were many parts of her character that even I did not know, for she poured out her soul to Lawrence.'
On Lawrence's side too, this was a remarkable friendship. Taken as a whole, the correspondence adds up to almost twice the total length of his letters to any other recipient. On their own, setting aside the other volumes in our T.E. Lawrence Letters series, the four volumes of correspondence with the Shaws are the largest edition of Lawrence's letters since David Garnett's 900-page Letters of T. E. Lawrence.
When David Garnett prepared his collected edition, Bernard Shaw gave him free use of the letters he had received from Lawrence, but Charlotte refused to co-operate. The result, as we now know, was a glaring omission from the 1938 Letters, repaired to some extent in the selection edited more recently by Malcolm Brown. No general collection, however, could use more than a small fraction of the Lawrence-Shaw correspondence.
Lawrence first met the Shaws in March 1922. Five months later he wrote diffidently to ask whether Bernard Shaw would be willing to criticise the 1922 text of Seven Pillars. Shaw agreed and Lawrence sent a copy. However, the first to read it, and with great enthusiasm, was Charlotte.
She was a wealthy woman in her own right, and her interest in Lawrence and his work soon led to a thriving correspondence. She offered to proof-read the subscription edition of Seven Pillars that he was preparing, and began to send parcels of books, gramophone records and other gifts. Over the years, Lawrence gave her presents in return, including several valuable manuscripts of his writings.
Lawrence's correspondence with the Shaws between 1922 and 1935 is the most significant series of his post-war letters to survive. It covers an extraordinary variety of topics and, for much of the time, the letters were so frequent that they provide something akin to a diary of his activities.
The letters to Charlotte published here are accompanied by the few but important letters from her to Lawrence that he kept, and also by his correspondence with Bernard Shaw, and other collateral material."
O'Brien A270