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T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers


R.A.F.
Plymouth

1/5/29

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.

Yours

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.

Source: BR1 34-5
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 6 July 2006


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