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Who was 'Lawrence of Arabia'

Introductory biography

T. E. Lawrence as writer

Chronology of Lawrence's life




Memorials to Lawrence

Some quotations

T. E. Lawrence manuscripts

Books dedicated to Lawrence

Research and discussion

The state of T.E. Lawrence scholarship

Rejected legend

David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia


About this site

Cookies policy

References used on the site


Jeremy Wilson


Page updated May 2012

Outline chronology: 1923

Youth |1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935


The RAF decides that the press publicity has made it impossible to retain 'Aircraftman Ross', and he is dismissed from the ranks. Lawrence, a civilian again, goes into hiding at a small hotel in Frensham, Surrey. His appeals to rejoin the ranks of the RAF are refused.


Lawrence applies to join the Tank Corps as a private, hoping to transfer back to the RAF at a later date. On 23 February he is accepted, and takes a new pseudonym, T. E. Shaw.


'Shaw' arrives at Bovington Camp for eighteen weeks' basic training. He quickly concludes that the army compares very badly to the RAF.


Jonathan Cape asks Lawrence to translate Mardrus' Mille et une Nuits into English. Lawrence is enthusiastic, and also agrees to tackle a minor French novel by Adrien le Corbeau called Le Gigantesque. The Arabian Nights project comes to nothing, since Cape learns that another translation is already in progress; but work on the Gigantesque takes up much of Lawrence's free time during the summer. He begins to visit Thomas Hardy, who lives nearby.


Lawrence finishes Le Gigantesque, published in Britain and America in 1924 as The Forest Giant.


Lawrence takes possession of Clouds Hill, a cottage he rents [later purchases] near Bovington Camp. For many months it remains poorly furnished and in a state of semi-repair, but it provides him with a place where he can write, during his free time, without disturbance.


On 9 December Lawrence meets his bank manager and two other friends at Oxford. It is decided that he will abridge and revise the 1922 text of Seven Pillars for a private subscription edition. About 100 copies will be issued, at a price of 30 guineas. Lawrence expects the task to take at least one year, and not more than two years. While he works on the text, his friends will find subscribers. D. G. Hogarth will help edit the proofs. Eric Kennington will supervise reproduction of the illustrations.

Youth |1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923 | 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934 | 1935

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