Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to R. V. Buxton
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.
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.
New address: to supersede all others. Any name: mine being the only house on the hill. Clouds Hill, Moreton, Dorset.
|Last revised:||28 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