Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett
No, I couldn't come to you last Sunday. Have been having a hectic time of late, and didn't write because I was firmly of a mind not to publish anything of The Seven Pillars. I am still like that. Meanwhile my second self carries on correcting your abridgement, under the greatest difficulties. It's nearly hopeless to do it decently, in such distractions. I can't get enough time to read through any paragraph hard enough to catch its rhythm: and to feel that my corrections probably aren't any good discourages my doing them. Actually I'm at Chapter 35, and very little beyond your erasures has as yet come out.
Address now No. 352087, A.C. 2 Ross, B. 3 Block, S.O.P., R.A.F., South Farnborough, Hants.
S.O.P. means School of Photography. It sounds bad. Lady into Fox is very remarkable. I sandwiched it between Flecker's Hassan, and the Religio Medici: and it kept its character. So there is more than skill to it. It's what I mean by style: but I'm sorry for the sophisticated simplicity. That's decadence. If a man is not simple by nature he cannot be simple by art, and if he tries he only achieves a falseness. You can only (if complex) get simplicity by my 'third degree': by distilling a scene into quintessential action.
I hope to come up shortly: but if possible after getting half-way in the abridgement, so that we'll have something to discuss. Am getting keen on the R.A.F. Was writing freely about Uxbridge when they snatched me away from it. This place is easier, but less intense and interesting - however after two months perhaps it too will shape itself to something in my wits.
|Last revised:||18 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