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T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth


[Karachi]

27.VIII.27

I've been through much of Doughty, of late, and checked Fairley's book on him. Adam Cast Forth is splendid. Its goodness defies the lack of form which would have ruined a less great work: but otherwise I cannot see more than great effort and great failure in his poetic work. Doughty's imagination was weak: his sense of scale faulty: and he had no sense of design.

Arabia Deserta remains wonderful, because there his weak imagination had only to select from an array of thronging facts; his sense of scale had a whole desert for its province: his sense of design could express itself only in the aimlessness of his wanderings, and not in confusing the record of his wanderings. Dawn in Britain is like the trace of Doughty's journeys in N. Western Arabia, with Arabia left out.

So I conclude that the parts of your book which will matter most are

i) Any further light his letters throw on the making of him before he settled in Italy to write A.D.
ii) Your dissection of his notebooks.

and '2' is infinitely the more important of these efforts. If you can set side by side parts of the notes, and parts of the finished text, and indicate how the notes were made, and how far they all went into the text, or if there was abridgement, or selection, and where the padding is... then you will be doing a very great thing. A.D. is one of the mystery-masterpieces of the world: and people who ever write will always be grateful to you for making plain how it grew. There is no impiety in studying the works. I should have liked to have had a cut at that part of it, myself... but it was out of the question that I should ever write anything again. [35 lines omitted]

Do you think April 1930 was a just date, to suggest to Sir Hugh for my return to England? That cuts off two years I should properly have done out here: but five is most of the fit years I can properly look forward to, at my time of life. And I grudge Drigh Road my possession all those years.

Yours

TES.

My final suggestion as to closing down the English edition of Revolt (which would involve no publicity, and little harm to the pocket of the trust. The thing will not sell 100 copies next year) was that Eliot should have his way... but I suggested that the Cape power of a cheap edition after two years (which I left in the contract because, had I been master, there would have been no Revolt after two years) be given up in compensation. Otherwise the cheap edition will appear in 1930... and that means more exile, for its guilty cause.
 

Source: DG 534-535
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 13 February 2006


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