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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth


[Karachi]

7.4.27

Azrak, Jefer, Disi, W.Itm, and all sorts of places: from some old papers which I have been destroying. I don't know whose they are. Some armoured car or aeroplane fellow's: perhaps Junor's, for they include a burned view of his aeroplane, and of its crash, and a photo, of Murphy's wrecked Turk machine. Stick 'em in the cupboard with the other Arabian stuff. You will remember that some day, if we both come together, we are going to Graingerise a copy of The Seven Pillars (which I begin to suspect will remain the longest work upon the Arab Revolt) with prints of all the pertinent photographs of the expeditions.

Mrs. Shaw sent me some reviews of Revolt in the Desert, including your verdict, for which best thanks. I'm glad you have said so much about it, now and last year. I only hope people won't boom Revolt into a best seller. It isn't so very good, though I'm confident that it's good enough to pay off my debt to the bank.

I hope the Trustees will consult me before selling the film rights, if offers come to them. Films can be so very bad.

Do you ever see Philby? If so, tell him it was very good of him to cry me up in the Observer. I feel guilty always in his eyes: guilty of being an unscientific traveller. That's why I never offered to lend him The Seven Pillars. Please also assure him that no subscriber was asked to accept any condition, explicit or implicit, with his copy: though I did diddle old Shorter into refusing one, by asking for a pledge that he shouldn't write any of his muck about it! Did I ever show you that Shorter correspondence? It was priceless. I don't think I ever was ruder, or successfully ruder, in all my life! He asked for it, so soul-satisfyingly.

My books in Arabia were the Morte: Aristophanes (I read all the Peace, very gratefully, and without much technical trouble) and The Oxford Book of English Verse. Not so fastidious after all!

Your last paragraph puzzled me. In The Seven Pillars, the last section, the advance on Damascus, reads very weak... as though I was exhausted, as perhaps I was, with all the preceding chapters. I tried twice to punch it up, a bit, into life, and eventually abandoned it as hopeless: and I put it all, disproportionately, into Revolt in the Desert, to give it a chance by itself, with all the best bits of the early sections cut out. The better writing is in the Arabia, Yarmuk raid, and winter war sections: and the very best of all perhaps, is Book 1, the first ride up to Feisal: in which good bricks are made without straw.

However it doesn't matter. It is all over and done with.

T.E.S.

Source: DG 512-513
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 9 February 2006


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