HOMER. The Odyssey, translated by T.E. Lawrence. London, Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford, 1935.
8vo. Original presentation binding of ochre-brown crushed morocco, boards with borders of double blind rules with fleurons in the corners, upper board with central gilt-stamped facsimile of Lawrence's signature as T.E. Shaw, gilt-ruled turn-ins, spine in compartments, lettered in gilt in one, top edge gilt, patterned endpapers, three initial and two final blank leaves (these a bit spotted, due to offsetting from endpapers); pp. [x], 327, title-vignette printed in black and gold-yellow; binding a bit marked, light rubbing to extremities, otherwise very good.
First English trade edition. Having read Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the American typographer Bruce Rogers asked Lawrence to prepare a new translation of Homer's Odyssey to be published privately. Lawrence started in 1928 and finished in 1932, and the work was issued in an edition of 530 copies (500 for subscribers) by Sir Emery Walker, Wilfred Merton, and Bruce Rogers in 1932. A limited and an unlimited trade edition was published in America by the Oxford University Press in the same year, and, following Lawrence's death, the Press issued a British trade edition in 1935, using the American sheets. A number of variants are recorded by O'Brien who writes, almost in desparation, 'the many variant states of this 1935 English are difficult to unravel'. He also also notes "another state published in full blue or brown morocco", but does not give fuller details, most likely due to the rarity of these presentation bindings. Our copy is one of that very small group, and it is likey and that they were bound up thus in imitation of the first American limited edition, which was published by Oxford University Press, New York, in an edition of 34 copies, of which 11 were bound in either full brown or blue crushed morocco (cf. O'Brien A148). These morocco-bound copies were presumably, like this copy, bound for private distribution by Humphrey Milford of the OUP, and are extremely rare; no other copy can be traced on the market in recent years. Only one London dealer offered in the past a presentation binding in blue morocco; however, without the gilt-stamped signature. - We sold a copy in an identical binding in 2008.