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T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell

Clouds Hill,

March 19th, 1924

Dear Cockerell

Miss Mew: too much emotion for her art, for her intellect, for her will. Such intensity of feeling is a sign of weakness. She is a real poet - but a little one, for the incoherency, the violence of over-wrought nerves does much harm to her powers of expression.

It's good stuff - Beside the Bed: On the Asylum Road: I have been through the Gates: On the Road to the Sea: these are four excellent things - but only the passion is molten: the form, the thought, the music, these are unresolved, to be guessed at, or worse, to be supplied by the reader if his passion is set burning by sympathy with hers. I'm frigid towards woman so that I can withstand her: so that I want to withstand her.

Moby Dick... ah, there's a titan of a book. Do you know Redburn, and Pierre, two of the less common ones? Whitejacket very good: Mardi dull: two early S. Sea adventures (Omoo and Typee) fair. One of his finest works is Clarel, in verse: but it isn't as fine verse as his War stuff. That's magnificent. Melville was a great man.

I got £20 for my Piazza Tales the other day. Someone is working a Melville boom, and I've sold all my early editions profitably.       

Doughty: will you suggest that he makes a new contract for A.D. with Cape? Direct, not with Duckworth. He should get better terms for what is now a fine property. A.D. is selling hot in U.S.A.


Source: SCC 361-2 (also, with variant punctuation, DG 458-9)
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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