Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves
43338171 A.C.2 Shaw
Room 2 E.R.S.
Your letter stares up at me from the top of my box, each time I open it. I say to it "Patience", and show it all the dozens of other letters underneath it and beside it - however it does not work. I feel a sense of grievance, for surely I wrote to you very lately? You are getting more than your share of my stamps, which are now 16 a week. The rest of my cash goes on gramophone records. We amateurs of potted music get wise in potted music. We can tell the flavour of one brand from another: and the reality is so far behind our backs that we have not even a memory of it to challenge the truthfulness of the pots.
Your broadcast did not come to Karachi. I think there is no wireless in India: and if stations do sit up to catch up England then they must sit to all hours: for we are five hours or so after your time: or is it five hours before? ('Consult any small atlas', as I wired to Petrograd during the War, when they asked me where was Kamaran.)
However, I've read your text, so I know as much as your 3,000,000 hearers. Revolt in the Desert sells, they say, like ripe apples at a fair. If I'd kept an interest I'd have been in the Rolls Royce class by now.
I rejoice to think of you selling your Seven Pillars. I hope your practice of the last seven lean years has made you a hard-hearted adept in salesmanship. Otherwise the other fellow will persuade you that you're doing him out of his living and draining his pocket, and breaking his heart. Get all you can for it. I wish I were there to write highly-spiced notes and comments over its margins. That would be £10 extra, wouldn't it?
Your poems were not many: but they were poems: and they were not repeats of earlier R.G. work [omission]
I'm sorry about it, sorrier than I sound. These women wound one another more cruelly than they can wound us or we each other. But let's hope. What did Browning say? (Too much usually. So did Swinburne. I am in good company.)
Who is Gerald Bullett? Ever hear of him? Wrote a decent review of Revolt. Such things are rare apparently. Mostly slobber assails me. Do you refuse to know best sellers? It's a proof; I fancy, of their artistic worthlessness.
|Last revised:||15 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