T. E. Lawrence to Eric Kennington
16. VI. 27.
Perhaps I gave the 'Cheshire Cat' to a man called Richards, who lives at 3 Loudoun Road St John's Wood. He keeps all my books (not so many as the word 'all' sounds) and has, I think a picture or two, also. Let's hope so. I liked the C.C. If one had tickled it, it would have grinned.
You are an odd person. You say in every letter that your work does not go well: but that your family does. Why, it's the reverse. Your family is only two: whereas your successful works run into dozens: perhaps into hundreds. You can draw, and paint and sculp. Everything you attempt becomes about the best of its sort. Midas wasn't in it. Presumably he wanted gold. You, perhaps, subconsciously don't. At any rate, if you do, you haven't perhaps succeeded. It's about the only direction, though, in which you have not scored heavily: and I prophesy that in time you will achieve that too. 'Kenningtons' will be good investments.
Compare us. I've tried to sculp:- failure: to write:- failure. I've made other people a lot of money: but can't bear to keep any of it for myself. l've argued myself out of creation: and go on living because it is the line of least resistance, and go on learning because the more one learns the less one knows, and some day I may attain perfect ignorance, that way.
Wilson' tells me a Seven Pillars fetched £500, for U.S.A. I hope it will be yours!
The picture of you and C. sitting in Holly Copse and reading the great thing would have inspired me, had I been a comic artist, to a sheer masterpiece! However.
Many thanks for Ulysses. It is even worse to read than I had hoped. Months: and such dull stuff. Joyce is a genius, but an unlucky one. His writing has the architectural merit of Balham. It goes on for ever, and needn't ever vary in spirit. Why not try a bust of Joyce?
Many thanks for the Auda proof. It has gone on to make old Banbury rejoice. What a thing for the 1st Armoured Car Company when they see their Sergt. Major skipping like a young ram!
I wonder how you settled your war memorial. Accepted it, of course: but are you trampling on the committee?
Dobson once sketched a war memorial in clay. A single file or four or five earth-bound naked figures, marching in step, very close together, weighed down by a huge weight they jointly carried. The idea was good: the shape and outline good, from every angle. And simple. Good for D.
Do you really like naked women? They express so little.
|Last revised:||12 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