AN EARLY-TWENTIETH-CENTURY WORK ON TURKEY, FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE T.E. LAWRENCE SCHOLAR JEREMY WILSON


LANE-POOLE, Stanley Edward. Turkey. With Chapters by E.J.W. Gibb and Arthur Gilman. London: Unwin Brothers, Limited for T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, 1922. 

Octavo (193 x 129mm), pp. xviii (half-title, series listing on verso, frontispiece, title, imprint, ‘Preface’, ‘Note’, contents, illustrations), ‘xx’ [recte xix] (‘Genealogical Tree of the ’Othmānli Sultans’, [1 (blank)], 373, [1 (imprint)], [2 (blank l.)]. Frontispiece, 38 plates, 2 charts, and one plan (all integral to the quires), 2 folding maps printed in blue and black, and one illustration in the text. (A few light marks, marginal creasing on some ll.). Original red cloth, upper board with publisher’s device in blind, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, top edges stained red, others cut. (Spine slightly faded, some light spotting and offsetting on endpapers, small mark on upper board, extremities lightly rubbed and bumped.) A very good copy in the original cloth. Provenance: E.F. Hudson Ltd, Birmingham (bookseller’s ticket on upper pastedown) – Jeremy Michael Wilson (1944-2017, ‘J.M. Wilson London reference collection’ bookplate on upper pastedown and ownership signature on front free endpaper).



Second, revised edition. The oriental numismatist and historian Stanley Lane-Poole (1854-1931) was the elder son of the Arabic scholar Edward Poole and his wife. Sadly, both his mother and his father died at relatively young ages, so from 1867 Stanley and his brother Reginald were brought up by the traveller and travel writer Sophia Lane Poole (their grandmother) and her brother, the Arabic scholar Edward Lane. Stanley Lane-Poole was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, but he had already commenced a study of oriental coinage with his uncle Reginald Poole, the Keeper of Coins and Medals in the British Museum, and began cataloguing the museum’s Islamic coins under his uncle’s supervision, while pursuing his undergraduate studies.



Lane-Poole continued to work at the British Museum after graduating in 1877, and remained there until 1892, during which time he completed the eleven-volume Catalogue of Oriental Coins in the British Museum (1875-1891) and the three-volume Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum (1884-1892), and also published a Catalogue ofMohammedan Coins Preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (1888). After a period undertaking archaeological research for the Egyptian government (1895-1897) – during which time he also completed his Catalogue of the Collection of Arabic Coins Preserved in the Khedival Library at Cairo (1897) – Lane-Poole was appointed Professor of Arabic at Trinity College, Dublin, holding the chair until his retirement in 1904. ‘The years 1875-1903 were very productive for Lane-Poole. Apart from his sixteen volumes of catalogues, he published numerous books on the life and history of the Muslim world, especially Egypt and India, and edited several works of his great-uncle Lane, including the famous translation of The Thousand and One Nights (1883, 1891, 1906). […] With his gift for condensing his sources in a simple and attractive style, several of these became standard works and were frequently reprinted. He was a versatile writer, able to produce both academic reference works such as the coin catalogues […], and popular versions of his biographies and introductions to historical subjects, notably four contributions to the Story of the Nations series (The Moors in Spain, 1887; Turkey, 1888; The Barbary Corsairs, 1890; Medieval India, 1903)’ (ODNB).



The first edition of Turkey was first published in 1888 and the author’s preface explains that his intention was ‘to draw the main outlines of Turkish history in bold strokes, and thus try to leave a connected impression on the reader’s mind. In so small a compass it is impossible to be detailed. […] In these pages clearness and brevity have been the main considerations; and, while striving to escape the charge of prolixity, I have carefully avoided the sin of moralizing. Many instructive morals have been drawn from the past and present state of Turkey; but these appear to depend so much for their point and application upon the political bias of the writer that on the whole they are best omitted’ (pp. vii-viii). Turkey had reached a fifth impression by 1914 and in 1922 this revised edition was published, with ‘a few verbal corrections […] and a brief postscript’ (p. ix).



This copy was previously in the collection of the distinguished Lawrence scholar Jeremy Wilson, the editor of T.E. Lawrence’s Minorities (London, 1971), 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. This volume would have been of interest to Wilson not only for the background to Lawrence’s travels in the Middle East and his guerrilla war against the army of the Ottoman Empire, but perhaps also for the connection with Lawrence himself, since Lawrence’s principal tutor at Oxford had been the author’s brother, Reginald Lane Poole (cf. J. Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia, pp. 42 and 67). 

S. Laçiner, Turkey and the World, 435 (1st ed.).

£69.50

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