Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth
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.
|Last revised:||9 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