Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
Saturday [19 February 1921]
I'd just got as keen as mustard on going out with Kennington when Winston Churchill in his third effort to get me to join his new Middle Eastern Department used arguments which I could not resist.
So I'm a Government servant from yesterday: and Palestine goes fut (or phut?) - - - - -
Kennington is going all the same: (that man is a great man) and as an official I'll be able to help him even more than ever: but what a beastly mess - - - - -
They let me fix my own terms: so I said a temporary billet, and £1000: out of evil comes good for -
I had meant to publish the enclosed muck in USA, to raise £1000: and now I've written to say that I've made other arrangements. Will you read them now they are born to blush unseen? They are literal extracts from a book I wrote: but all the personal (subjective) part is left out for dignity's sake. It's bloody cheek asking you to read such muck: but the intrinsic interest may atone for the lack of technique: and as an artist you should be glad to peep behind the scenes of another's affair.
You say the shop is over: but perhaps I'll see you tomorrow and ask about that. Pier-Glass just come: not yet cut or read: you will gather from this note that I don't feel either lyrical, pastoral, or dramatic just now.
More tomorrow, if I can't get away by 4 P.M. this afternoon.
Note: Lawrence's formal appointment to the Colonial Office came through on 19 February 1921, so the dates attributed to this letter in DG (December 1920) and in B:RG (before 8 January 1921) cannot be correct.
|Last revised:||22 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