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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to R. V. Buxton


Clouds Hill
Moreton
Dorset

13.XII.23

Dear Robin,

This is to report what we did the other Sunday: Hogarth, Curtis, Dawnay and me. Decided to begin straight away. To print 100 copies at 30 guineas, and a matter of twenty incomplete copies to be given away by myself free to protagonists of the campaign.

Myself, a man of straw, to be solely responsible for the printing, production, and distribution of the book. This because it must inevitably be libellous. Civil Libel Actions break down because I have no money: criminal, because prison wouldn't seem to me worse than the Tank Corps.

Procedure
Hogarth, Curtis (and I hope especially yourself) will tell their friends that the book is coming, in about a year's time, and that if they want a copy they must write to me.

I'll reply explaining the conditions of subscription:

They will, (if so minded) pay in a cheque. Will you decide the technicalities of this payment? I mean, in what name it should be (if, as I expect it should be a special account), and how and in what name I draw upon it.

I'm writing to a private printer, to ask him for a scheme and estimate. It is my intention that the production shall contravene the copyright act (in that no printers' name shall appear on the finished copies) and probably I'll take a £10 share in the firm to create the fiction that the printing is done by myself.

I propose to send the first block of four drawings to Whittingham & Griggs, the colour-printers, so soon as the paid subscriptions amount to £200, the necessary cover.

I think this is all that is necessary to say. The text will be revised, but the sole criterion of the revision will be literary fitness: I propose no improvement in morals or decency: and it will be very little (not more than 10% probably) shorter.

Will you see if you can contribute towards the list of subscribers? and advise upon the banking account which must grow up (and down)?

I propose, in my letter of conditions to each subscriber, to explain that my proposed edition of 100 copies is based on the estimate of £3000 for the cost of production, with a 10% margin for eventualities: but that if the book costs less I'll distribute fewer than 100 copies: and if more as many more as are required to meet the bill: the price always remaining 30 guineas, and the total proceeds always equalling the total cost.

I hope you'll be satisfied with this decision. My determination to take the sole charge is that I may carry the sole responsibility. It's well to profit in some way by being a soldier!

Hogarth will literary-edit the proofs for me: and Kennington art-edit the blocks.

T.E.

New address: to supersede all others. Any name: mine being the only house on the hill. Clouds Hill, Moreton, Dorset.

Source: DG 442-3
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 28 January 2006


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