LAWRENCE, Thomas Edward (compiler). Minorities: Good Poems by Small Poets and Small Poems by Good Poets. Edited by J.M. Wilson. Preface by C. Day Lewis. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1972.

Octavo (207 x 139mm), pp. 272. Half-tone portrait frontispiece on verso of half-title and 9 facsimiles of Lawrence’s autograph transcriptions in the text, 5 full page. Original green cloth, spine lettered in blue, blue endpapers, dustwrapper with design after Kiyoshi Kanai, not price-clipped. (Dustwrapper with creasing and losses at edges, interior of dustwrapper and lower edges of bookblock and boards paint-spattered, binding and dustwrapper affected by damp, causing light cockling on final ll., and marking and some damage on binding and dustwrapper.) A good copy. ProvenanceJeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017, bookplate on upper pastedown).

First American edition. Lawrence described Minorities, a manuscript commonplace book of poems he compiled between 1919 and 1927, as ‘my private anthology, which necessity and much travelling compelled me to select and copy into a small note-book for myself’ (p. 17), and this title reprints the poems Lawrence selected for transcription into the volume. It has a preface by C. Day Lewis, the poet laureate (pp. 13-16), and a biographical introduction by the distinguished Lawrence scholar Jeremy Wilson (pp. 17-50), who took over the project of editing the manuscript for publication from Colin Simpson in May 1970. 

Minorities was Wilson’s first publication on Lawrence, and the first edition was published at London in two forms: a specially-bound limited issue of 125 copies signed by Day Lewis with additional facsimiles and an unlimited trade issue on 18 November 1971 (it seems probable that the limited edition was also issued on or about 18 November 1971). The British editions were followed by this American edition in the following year, which has a similar composition to the British trade edition apart from some variations in the preliminaries – for example, the British title ‘Minorities’ is enlarged to ‘Minorities: Good Poems by Small Poets and Small Poems by Good Poets’ in the American edition; the frontispiece is printed on the verso of the half-title (rather than on an inserted plate as it is in the British edition); and the ‘Publisher’s Note’ has been removed from the verso of the title-page, presumably to make space for the copyright acknowledgments for the poems reprinted which are added in their place (these also appear in the acknowledgments on pp. 7-9, as they do in the British edition). With regard to external variations, the dustwrapper design by Kiyoshi Kanai replaces M. Mohan’s design for the British edition and the spine is titled ‘T.E. Lawrence: Minorities Edited by J.M. Wilson’ rather than ‘Minorities T.E. Lawrence’ as the British edition is.

This copy was previously in the collection of the distinguished Lawrence scholar Jeremy Wilson, who was not only the editor of Minorities, but also the author of the National Portrait Gallery catalogue T.E. Lawrence: Lawrence of Arabia(London, 1988) and the authoritative biography Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T.E. Lawrence (London, 1989), and the co-founder, with his wife Nicole, of the Castle Hill Press, which has published scholarly editions of works by Lawrence and the definitive series of Lawrence’s letters. 

O’Brien A260.


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