LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward (1888-1935, translator) and HOMER. The Odyssey. Printer's paste-up proof. [London: Sir Emery Walker, Wilfred Merton and Bruce Rogers, c.1932].
2° (gatherings 291 x 207 and 256 x 192mm). 9 8-leaf gatherings on larger sheets and 6 8-leaf gatherings on smaller sheets, the leaves generally blank, but some printed on rectos only with Odyssey text, with excised printed text pasted onto all but 2 leaves. (Some minor marking, fraying to leaf-edges, occasional short tears to pasted-on text.) The sheets loosely-inserted in prototype binding of crushed black morocco over hardboard covers [?by W.H. Smith and Son Ltd, the binders of the first, 1932 edition], the spine titled and dated in gilt.
Printer's proof of a one-leaf publisher's advertisement for copies of the limited edition. [Oxford: Oxford University Press, ?1935]. (284 x 219mm). Pencilled corrections and amendments, presumably in the printer's hand. (Lightly spotted, creased and with short marginal tears.) The prospectus -- which refers to 'the unfortunate death of Mr. T.E. Shaw' -- states that 'The Oxford University Press wishes to bring to your attention that there are still available a few copies of this first limited edition of the translation of the Odyssey'. This prospectus, which is not described by O'Brien, was presumably issued at or about the same time as the prospectus for the first unlimited English edition in 1935 (O'Brien A145), which notes that 'A few copies of the first English edition [...] limited to 500 copies are still available'.
PRINTER'S PROOF OF T.E. LAWRENCE'S TRANSLATION OF THE ODYSSEY. 'Inspired by reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Bruce Rogers persuaded Lawrence to undertake a new translation of Homer's Odyssey. Begun in 1928 and finished in 1932, the translation was undertaken during Lawrence's free time while he was serving in the ranks [...] a beautiful edition' (O'Brien). Lawrence's Letters ... to Bruce Rogers (n.p.: 1933) and More Letters ... to Bruce Rogers (n.p.: 1936) provide an intriguing insight into the development of Lawrence's translation, his concerns about the correct idiom for the translation, and the practical understanding that his own travels and experiences could bring to the adventures narrated by Homer.
The resulting volume is notable not only for the light that it throws on Lawrence as a writer, but also on his interest in private presses. The triumvirate of Walker, Merton and Rogers -- three of the leading figures in the field -- produced a book that remains appreciated as an example of fine printing, and the present proof gives a remarkable insight into its design and development, both with regard to typography and to layout.
The gatherings bear the numbers 3-96, 145-288 (some leaves paginated in pencil), and contain the text of Books I-V; part of IX; X-XII (save part of last 2 paragraphs of XII); XIII-XVIII; and part of XIX (of 24 Books in total). Some of the larger leaves that the excised text is pasted onto bear the watermarks 'J.B.G. , 1929' (the first limited edition was printed on watermarked John Barcham Green paper). The text is extensively annotated in a number of hands in both ink and pencil; these annotations relate to both textual and layout changes. Some of the textual changes are significant; for example, one leaf bears a pasted-on strip of paper with three lines of new text, while many others -- particularly in Books I-V -- are extensively amended. In addition to these corrections, there are printer's annotations and notes relating to layout and typesetting. The majority of the corrections to both the text and the layout are in one hand, which sometimes appears with the initials 'B.R.' (presumably Bruce Rogers). Although some of the printed text here bears page numbers, the first, 1932 edition was unpaginated; however, the type size and line lengths match those of the published edition. For the first, 1932 edition cf. Clements pp.41-42; O'Brien A141.