T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers
Dear B. R.
Today I had meant to send you Book VII and VIII: instead of which I must tell you of my worries. It's been published (in John Bull, of all the world's press!) that I'm doing an Odyssey: and since that day I haven't done a stroke. Up till then I'd been trying to get on with it. Seven is complete, all but the last look-over. Eight is having its third revise. Nine is started: but that was all March work: and since, as I say, there has been nothing.
I'm wondering all the time what to do. (i) If I were free to do so, I'd like to return you your payment and cancel the whole business: but I am aware that this cannot be done without your consent It would be the best solution, in my own interests. Other alternatives are
(ii) To acknowledge the work: which I will not do.
(iii) To find a ghost who will put his or her name to it, and accept the public responsibility for it.
I had not expected this trouble, before publication: After, yes: but somehow that didn't matter. You'll realise, I hope, that I can't carry on as it is.
Will you see Walker and Merton, and present them the difficulties, as they stand? I want to be as reasonable and helpful as possible, and only hope that their more sober experiences may find a road out of what seems, to me, rather a deep hole.
I return Book I and II. W. (whom I do not know personally) has been very light with them. This is a relief I seem to have made no howlers. Comments are attached to the sheets, where necessary.
Please believe that I'm very sorry about this. I've been racking my head for a way out for about three weeks, now, and cannot achieve anything.
T E Shaw
I'm glad you doubted the Dorsetshire rumours. I have not been out of camp (except to Plymouth on business) for a month.
|Last revised:||6 July 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