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T. E. Lawrence to Eric Kennington


19. V. 27.

Dear K.,

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.

Source: DG 516-7
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 11 February 2006

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