Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett
Here is the contracted Book IX, for which you asked. They take long to do: and besides them I've to read and correct proofs of three or four of the earlier books. We have in hand, at the moment, the whole text from page 80 upwards to this point. Alas, it is too long!
You will observe with pleasure that none of your suggested avoidances of the stodgy patches of this section have been adopted. Not that they were not great improvements, the right thing to do... but what's the good of attempting to catch one or two particular fleas in a crowded hen-house? The book is a blemish, itself.
However, I've done a little, in this draft, to improve it. One special lump of stodge has been cut off from the bulk, and isolated. So a once-bit reader can shy off it ever after. The other chapter, that about myself, has lost a quarter of its bulk. It too, being concentrated, can be skipped. Whereas had I embodied its matter in incident, as you suggest, the poor worms would have had to read it all.
Judgments upon this chapter vary. Gertrude Bell, a woman of enormous heart and whirling head, of the books said. 'Approved: all but the libellous, untruthful description of yourself.' Very nice of Gertrude. Alan Dawnay, a very cultivated garden, said, 'Whenever anybody is puzzled about you, I lend them your chapter upon yourself. It is crystal-clear, so that afterwards they always understand.' Very nice of Alan D.
|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