T. E. Lawrence to D. G. Hogarth
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
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.
My final suggestion as to closing down the English edition of
(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.
|Last revised:||13 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