Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers
Here are IX, X, XI, XII (p.73-107) for Miss Saunders' oppression. I am afraid she will find it rather too much to face in-a-lump; this will be all for some months, as my stock in draft is nearly exhausted. I could finish off XIII for you, in a little while, but would rather keep it by me while I rough out a few more books, and then do a chunk of them together. it is difficult, frankly, to do: the Greek feels so dead under my fingers. I'm always trying to underline, to score heavier, to put in little bits, to try and lift the thing to life. Also the archaisms bother me.
I have cut out of the fair copy most of the recurring tags, as W-. suggested, leaving only a few to convey as much as modern man can endure of the Homeric atmosphere. After all, this is essentially a translation. I give myself freedom with moods and tenses, and in arrangement: and sometimes I transpose adjectives: but it often astonishes me, reading a back passage, to see how the bones of the Greek show through in every sentence.
The Cyclops' cave in this
Book IX is worth translating, and Book XI has been done with twice the effort
and care of any of the earlier books. I do not know whether it is yet good
underworld is the only place, if there, where the Odyssey becomes great. Everywhere it seems to prefer grace and smoothness and subtlety and skill to largeness. The Italian word 'terribilita':- that is the main lack of this particular Homer: whereas the owner of the Iliad had it almost in excess.
How do the 'cuts' go? Do you forecast any date by which you will be feeling the need of XIII-XXIV? I would like to deliver it in batches of two or three books, quite gradually, if you have time to spare me. Remember that within reason the more time I have the better my results - to the limit of the human factor, which alas is a low limit, in this case.
I find my MS and galley hard for reference. Is there any chance of a page-proof being pulled, which I could keep filed by me? The author keeps on recurring to his pet phrases, and I want to suggest my former versions only, without dead-copying them: and my memory has considered and rejected so many versions of each, before finally approving one, that it is seldom that I can remember what I actually wrote.
|Last revised:||13 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