Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to C. M. Doughty
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.
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!
|Last revised:||24 January 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
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