BELL, Gertrude.

The Letters.

Selected and edited by Lady Bell.

New York: Boni and Liveright, 1927 Stock Code: 148799
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"A remarkable Englishwoman" - Philby on Bell.

First US edition, same year and same sheets as the UK with variant title page. Far from common in the first edition, decidedly uncommon in the jackets, and genuinely scarce with the slipcase as here. American jackets have "Some of the English Reviews" and include "An Impression of Gertrude Bell by Mrs. Harold Nicolson (Vita Sackville-West)" on the back flap of volume II; "She had the gift of making everyone feel suddenly eager; of making you feel that life was full ad rich and exciting". A handsome and solid edition.

"Bell's adult life divided into three phases. In the first, during the 1890s, contemporaries saw her as 'an accomplished young lady of good family and brilliant intellectual gifts.' But dissatisfied with the conventional role of domesticity and philanthropy assigned to well-to-do, unmarried women, she turned to independent travel, first in the Alps, then in the Middle East, with the intellectual dimensions of archaeological discovery and political observation. The latter enabled her to assume a public role as the First World War and the end of Ottoman rule in Arab lands created an official outlet for her expertise. At her death she was commemorated as a brilliant public servant, who helped to shape the post-war settlement in the Middle East and in particular the creation of the kingdom of Iraq. H. St J. Philby called her 'the maker of Iraq' and reflected that if Feisal's kingdom survived the vicissitudes of time, 'it will stand forth in history a monument to her genius, to the versatility of her knowledge and influence, and to the practical idealism tempered with honest opportunism which were the outstanding characteristics of a remarkable Englishwoman.'" (ODNB)

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2 volumes, octavo. Original moderate blue buckram over bevelled boards, title gilt to spine, publisher's device in blind to front boards. With striking Deco pictorial dust jackets by Hans Flato, and housed in original paper-covered slipcase with matching design.


Frontispiece to each and 30 other plates in all, folding map of Persia at the rear of Volume II.


Spine lettering a touch oxidised, light browning to endpapers, pale toning to the text, unclipped jackets sunned at the spines and a little rubbed, overall very good indeed, the ultra-fragile slipcase somewhat worn and with some repairs, but surviving having done it's job.


Macro 498; O'Brien F0074, TEL, pp. i, 305, 353, 360, 372, 468, 519, & 645.


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