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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to C. M. Doughty


Oxford

November 25th, 1919

Dear Mr. Doughty,

Many thanks for your two letters, and for the enclosure from Mr. Duckworth. I went and saw him, afterwards, and found as I expected that the major part of his estimate was for cost of type-setting. This would be nearly £1500, today in England, I fancy.

As I told you I have hopes that the Government Press in Cairo would do it for little more than a quarter this amount. In that case the two volumes could be republished by Messrs. Duckworth for about £2 2. 0, which is what I aim at. The text would be set in Cairo, and stereos made, for transport to England. The book would then always remain in print. I think there will be a constant, though small, demand for it, and that it should always be in a condition to be reprinted easily. This is the advantage of plates.

I am writing to the Director of the Arab Bureau in Cairo (the Intelligence office that deals with Arabian affairs) asking him to get an exact estimate from the Government Press for the resetting of the book. It is to be feared that the present disorders in Egypt may make the matter slower and more difficult. When I get his answer I will let you know, and we can then decide whether to go ahead or not. It seems to me that in any case Duckworth should be the publisher, since a cheap reprint of Arabia Deserta will kill his abridgement, and there is no good reason for causing him a loss. Can you tell me what happened to the blocks, for the illustrations of the original edition? Did Clay destroy them, or are they in store somewhere? If they still exist it would be a small economy.

Until Cairo replies to me matters must wait. They print quite well, and have the great advantage of cheap labour, and government subsidies.

Yours sincerely

T E Lawrence

I have lost the MSS of my own adventures in Arabia: it was stolen from me in the train. So now I have the opportunity of thinking of doing it again!

Source: DG 296
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 24 January 2006

 

 



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