Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
[c. late-August 1922]
Yes, that introducing part makes it clear enough. Good egg. Good poem too. As I get old I fail to distinguish between what is serious in expression, and what is comic. It's a sign of age, to read things for the meaning rather than the form. Astonishing how quickly I have got old lately. I feel too tired to go on with it. You know my book proved dud at last.
Glad you have some Melville verses. I believe Oxford is going to republish all of them. Constable is doing his prose, including Mardi.
About me and the Owl. It sounds ridiculous, because I'm not a writer.
Also, isn't it too long? What is it all about? Do let me know:
and when you look it up, please rack your memory to tell me what was
published in the World's Work. I want to mark it against my MS. I have
heard comment, apparently,
(i) On my second visit to Feisal, and his camp life, and a related battle in which the Juheina ran away to drink coffee.
(ii) On a camel charge in which I shot my camel.
(iii) On a lot of killing round Tafas, when Talal died.
Was there more? Were there these? If my book was finished (it's binding_4 copies) I'd send you the mass of it to choose a smaller gobbet from. Your taste out of such a midden might pick something not wholly putrid. When does the Owl come to a head: or be hatched, or lay itself: isn't it really a Phoenix? Query - write a debate in bird-land on the point.
Do you see old Hudson (Purple Land) is dead? In his sleep. He was such a great man.
Books are reported all safely arrived in Chingford.
What is the perversity which makes me, capable of doing many things in the world, wish only to do one thing, book-writing; and gives me no skill at it?
Note. W. H. Hudson died on 18 August 1922.
|Last revised:||8 February 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