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.
|Source:||SCC 359-60 (extract DG 438)|
|Last revised:||1 January 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