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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell


Oct. 27th, 1923

I always admire prompt replies to letters, and will admire myself (solely in your regard, alas!) today.     

Post the thing to Sassoon. It costs only 9d and goes beautifully in a big envelope. That will save you a tramp to Tufton St.

Will think about the Royal Library. I suppose there is no fear of anybody's reading it there?

No cost of distribution: no booksellers to be used, nor booksellers' subscriptions accepted. The three hundred are to go direct from me to their purchasers. This saves 33% commission.     

I'm only hoping for cost of reproduction. To the artists I've paid nearly (or quite) the £3000: and I'll never get any of that back, except by selling, at a loss, their pictures. My offer is to let Hogarth, Curtis, Buxton and Co reprint the Seven Pillars on condition

(i) That no copy is sold through commercial channels

(ii) That it is not published

(iii) That it is not reviewed

(iv) That all the illustrations are reproduced to my satisfaction ('my' will include the artists')

(v) That my changes in text are accepted.

Whether it will come off or not will depend on how many people Curtis finds willing to subscribe for it. I'd be glad to get the burden of the worthy production of the work off my chest: that's all. There will be no profit and no noise about it. Incidentally, no public-library copies, (B.M. Bodley, Cambs, etc.), and no subscription to which I take exception will be permitted. I grudge the multiplication of the book... wish there were 3 copies, not 300.            

The new edition will be shorter and more discreet than the old.    

Tolstoy is a very great man (War and Peace, above all else) and I'd like to see the Conversations. A while ago (2 years perhaps) the Hogarth Press published some by Gorki.

Good news about Doughty. Wish I had a relative.5

Of course I admire him enormously, but I'd admire his simplicity more if it was artificial, a laborious surface covering thousands of facets and phases, than now, when it is natural to him. A bigger man would not read the Morning Post.

Yours ever

T.E.L.

Source: SCC 359-60 (extract DG 438)
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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