Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to R. O'Connor
Your letter went about the counties looking for me: it's the usual fate of people who write to other than the above address.
Probably your lecture is well-delivered by now: the best source of information would have been Valentine Chirol's continuation of Lord Eversley's History of the Ottoman Turks.
I don't believe in any form of religious revival in the Western Islamic countries. Their present passion for nationality has driven out their former fanatical interest in creeds - and I do not believe that anything will make political a faith which has become, like our Christianity, a purely ethical concern. Ireland and Poland are the two Christian parallels to India, where Islam is still a power at the polls. In Turkey, Egypt, Persia and the Arab countries, orthodox Islam is no longer a fighting creed.
On the other hand, the depth and fire of this new nationality can hardly be questioned. In fourteen years it has re-shaped the political map of the Middle East and the zenith is still far off. Odd that Turkey should be getting national, just as the better classes of European thinkers are climbing slowly out of nationality, into an international atmosphere, in which the divisions are horizontal rather than vertical.
With apologies for being too late to help you. Believe me
T. E. Lawrence
Note: Lieutenant O'Connor had written to Lawrence for help with a lecture on 'The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire'
|Last revised:||19 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