Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
I've delayed thinking about it: and thinking is slow in B. block because people talk more readily. Now there is a sort of riot happening over by the fire: and so writing is made difficult.
The conclusion is that probably I won't. The escape from what is nearly squalor here was attractive: and ---- is out of the world (by the way passports won't be difficult: the I.0. will do that much for my sake. Lord Winterton was 'one of us' in Hejaz): but partly I came in here to eat dirt, till its taste is normal to me: and partly to avoid the current of other men's thinking: and in your hill-court there will be high thinking. My brain nearly went in Barton St. with the weariness of writing and re-writing that horrible book of mine: and I still am nervous and easily made frantic.
So I think I'm going to stay on in the R.A.F. which has the one great merit of showing me humanity very clear and clean. I've never lived commonly before, and I think to run away from the stress of it would be a failing.
I owe you a word about that book. It may be printed privately, in a limited subscription edition, next year. A sort of 15 guinea book, almost unprocurable. I hovered for a while this year with the notion of a censored version: but that seems dishonest, until the whole story is available.
I'm glad you're feeling easier. In mechanical jargon you've been 'revving' yourself too high for the last eighteen months. Such forced running means a very heavy fuel consumption, and it is not true economy.
Many thanks to ----- I very nearly came, but I wanted to too much for it to be a wholesome wish.
|Source:||B:RG pp. 23-4|
|Last revised:||28 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