Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett
For days I have meant to write: but something hindered.
The 7 Pillars goes so slowly.
I like the Verga book. It is defective in form (pointillé almost, in analogy) but bright and very exciting. Dust-covers call it a masterpiece... but if so whereabouts? Low in the range, I fancy.
Did you ever read E.M. Forster's Longest Journey? I am struck all of a heap by it: though it is as faulty as Verga.
Can't Cape get F.L. Lucas' poems or prose in a collected volume? The review of Flecker enclosed is by him, and that accident has led me to write about him. He is a Cambridge Don: and the Athenaeum first and New Statesman later have been printing gems by him for eight years. One poem among the poems is as near perfection as a poem can be.
The cutting is sent you for its other side: the remarks upon not writing books by Affable Hawk. It expresses most excellently what I have always suspected in myself.
There is a faint chance, they say, of my return to the R.A.F. in May next. I've been deceived too often to dare hope now till the fulfilment - and then it will be too late to hope, probably: sad, because the hope is usually the only happy part of an achievement.
Cape has perhaps told you that I flirt again with the idea of an abridgement, for profit. Roughly it would be the abridgement which you made: translated into the revised text.
My abridgement consists in cutting out every fifth word of the old text: when possible. If the fifth won't go out, the sixth probably will.
|Last revised:||8 February 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