London, South Kensington
6 April 2001
LAWRENCE, T.E. (translator). Two Arabic Folk Tales, [London]: The Corvinus Press, 1937. 2°, woodcut illustrations on title after Eric Kennington, printed on rectos only, original brown buckram gilt by W.H. Smith, the upper cover lettered in gilt with the title and author's name, the lower cover with central gilt press device, single gilt fillet borders (upper cover slightly marked, extremities lightly rubbed), t.e.g., others uncut. Provenance: sale, Phillips London, 10 July 1998, lot 111 -- Blackwells, booksellers. FIRST EDITION. LIMITED TO 31 COPIES, THIS NUMBER 15 OF 30. Nash and Flavell 25; O'Brien A196.
A RARE COPY OF 'THE ONLY PUBLISHED TEXT OF THESE TRANSLATIONS' (O'Brien). The final leaf states that: 'These tales were written in ink at the beginning of the diary which the author kept while travelling in Northern Arabia during 1911. They were probably an Arabic exercise'. The 'diary' referred to is The Diary of T.E. Lawrence MCMXI (which the Corvinus Press had published in 1937, see previous lot), and it would appear that Lawrence chose these two children's stories as suitable subjects for translation, while he was trying to improve his Arabic during the years before World War I. The work is notable for the large, 36-point Tiemann typeface employed, which, although an unusual choice, is entirely appropriate to the text. 6 of the 31 copies are in institutional collections (cf. Nash and Flavell).
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