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Biography pages:



Who was 'Lawrence of Arabia'

Introductory biography

T. E. Lawrence as writer

Chronology of Lawrence's life

FAQs

Reference

Maps

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

Other

About this site

Cookies policy

References used on the site

Site-map

Jeremy Wilson

 

Page updated May 2012

History of T. E. Lawrence Studies

Why build a T. E. Lawrence website?

Like most historians, I set a high value on accurate information. That isn't just a question of academic principle. In practical terms, it reflects the time and money spent finding things out. Therefore, I've often wished that the authors of historical studies would publish not only their conclusions, but also a research guide. The frontiers of knowledge would be rolled back more quickly if less time was wasted looking for information that someone else has already found.

History of this site

Between 1975 and 1989, I and my research assistants gathered an enormous amount of information for Lawrence of Arabia, the Authorised Biography. More recently, my wife and I have done further research while editing volumes in the T.E. Lawrence Letters series.

In the past, there was no easy or economic way to publish research guides. That changed with the advent of the Internet. Encouraged by Jack Flavell of the Bodleian Library, I set up the Lawrence of Arabia Factfile in 1997-8.

Response was extremely positive, and in 2000 I expanded the site, moving detailed information for researchers to a separate section called T.E. Lawrence Studies.

During 2006 these two sites were amalgamated as T.E. Lawrence Studies, using the URL www.telawrence.info. That year, with helpers, I also began building a new site, containing much of Lawrence's writing that had recently gone out of UK copyright. For practical reasons this had its own URL, www.telawrence.net.

During the next five years I added further sections, some with their own URLs. I also put online a selection of material from the archive of the T.E. Lawrence Studies discussion list.

By 2012 the site consisted of over 6,000 online data-files, spread between two hosting servers and several URLs. There was much that I wished to add, but it was imperative to rationalise the existing material first. Also, it was time to update the site technology. 

The straw that broke the camel's back was a European Union directive that affected our use of analytics 'cookies'. Given the way the site had grown, there was no simple way to make the kind of global changes required. The only option was to take down the site and completely rebuild it, preferably on a single URL. The URL I chose was www.telstudies.org - which is the site you are visiting now.

Work in progress

After reassembling the site, I plan to add more material, notably from the million-word archive of the T.E. Lawrence Studies list. Many questions that interest site visitors have been discussed there.

With more helpers I also plan to mark the centenary of the Arab Revolt by posting a large collection of WWI documents.

Appeal for help

You can help. First, I value your comments and suggestions. Secondly, you may know something I don't. Documents and artefacts relating to Lawrence are scattered all over the world. Do you, or a friend, or your university library, own a letter by Lawrence, or a portrait of him, or interesting material relating to him or to one of his close associates? Please let me know. This kind of information can be extremely useful.

We also need people to help transcribe WWI documents about the Arab Revolt. I have photographed the documents, but text in photographs cannot be scanned by a search-engine, so we need some volunteers.

Last but not least, please let me know if you find an error on the site - whether in the text or some problem like a broken link. When reporting an error, please give the URL of the page so that I can locate and correct it quickly.

Acknowledgements

I am extremely grateful to Jack Flavell, the late Cliff Irwin, Dr Jonathan Mandelbaum, and Peter Metcalfe who helped a great deal in the early years. I must also thank all those who have helped gather the information here. These include the late St. John Armitage, the late Dr Lilith Friedman, Martin Holmes, Vincent Landon, Jonathan Law, Edward Maggs, the late Denis McDonnell, Jonathan Newell, the late Anthony Rota, Martin Rowe, John Vice, Nigel Webb, Richard Westwood, Maria White and Ian Wood. Since 2006 Mary Veres, Derek Norwell and Michael Green have helped me build the 'Writings' section - which also drew heavily on transcripts made during my work on the Authorised Biography. Last but not least, my wife Nicole, our sons Peter and Edward and our daughter Emily have put in many hours' work.

The hosting of the T. E. Lawrence Studies website is paid for by Castle Hill Press, through which we are gradually publishing a scholarly edition of T.E. Lawrence's writings and correspondence.

Jeremy Wilson



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