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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett


27.7.25.

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.

Source: DG 479-80
Checked: mv\
Last revised: 8 February 2006


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