Research and discussion
Page updated May 2012
Outline chronology: 1920
Lawrence completes most of a new draft of Seven Pillars in four weeks, working at 14 Barton Street. The result is useful, but 'hopelessly bad as a text'.
Lawrence returns to Oxford for the month. He joins a group that is privately urging the Government to set up a new Middle East Department.
Lawrence begins work on an abridgement of Seven Pillars with a view to publication in the United States, where publicity will not be an embarrassment. He hopes that the profits will pay for a building to house the printing press at Pole Hill. He abandons the project after drafting a few chapters, because he is advised that the income from publication in the US alone will not be very great.
Lawrence starts work on a polished draft of the complete text of Seven Pillars. He also begins to make contact with artists willing to execute portraits for the book. Notable among these is Eric Kennington, who agrees to travel to the Middle East to draw portraits of Arabs who took part.
While working on Seven Pillars, Lawrence also continues to campaign, privately and in the press, against the Middle East settlement.
Winston Churchill is appointed Colonial Secretary and makes plans to set up a Middle East Department. One of his principal tasks will be to find a solution to Britain's difficulties in Mesopotamia (approximately equivalent to modern Iraq). Attempts by the Imperial Government of India to impose a colonial administration there have provoked a large-scale rebellion.
On 4 December, Lawrence is invited to meet Churchill in London to discuss the problem of the Middle East. There are two further meetings that month.
T.E. Lawrence 1888-1935
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset