T. E. Lawrence to Eric Kennington
19. V. 27.
Somebody, Celandine probably, sent me the Ulysses I craved for. These long dreary slow-marching books are invaluable friends in Drigh Road. Arnold Bennett, whose critical judgements I took as gospels, till he bracketed me last week with D.H.L. as a stylist (a stylist ye giddy gods The greatest lack in all my writing is a style: to replace the echoes of Oxford and academic respectability of my prose) said the perfect word about Ulysses, when he swore that Joyce had made novel-reading a form of penal servitude. But penal servitude is in character at Drigh Road.
I hope you continue steadily. They say that Porto Fino and T.E.L. represented you in Paris. A little like steak and onion: I hope Porto Fino will not be sold. Its sea and sky were lovely in your big room.
Rothenstein, provoked kindly by you, wrote to me. I answered him.
Remember me to Dobson, if ever you are forgiven for carrying off his (ex-my) Ulysses. Tell him I am reading it steadily. Everything is steady in the world now, except Arnold Bennett, who totters.
D.H.L. of course is a quite prodigious fellow: and it’s a sin against decency and proportion for A.B. to let the unhappy likeness of our names bracket us publicly. If I could have published Revolt under any other name I'd have left D.H.L. in his sole use. It's like writing an ode to a pet rabbit and signing it Shakespeare.
|Last revised:||11 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