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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to David Garnett


I once knew Rawlinson's Herodotus well. It is - respectable, I think. Not as good as Herodotus, one of the best of men, deserves: but what he got. Yet I think there is (in Christchurch Library, perhaps) extant a MS version of Herodotus in English by Francis Hickes, who did Lucian's Vera Historia into an excellent prose: not Elizabethan: plainer than that: definitely Stuart. If Hickes did do it, then he might be worth your while editing well.

Rawlinson's notes, of course, will not now do. They are pre-Ramsay, as regards Asia Minor, and pre-everything, in Egypt. There is your difficulty. You will not find an archaeologist today broad enough to straddle the Middle East. Hogarth was the last
archaeologist to marry humanity and science in that fashion. How nobly he would have done Herodotus!

Garstang is the Asia-Minor name, after Ramsay, who is rather beyond your reach. [1 line omitted] Woolley next comes to my mind. A good fellow, witty, sociable, experienced; an admirable digger, who from two broken bricks will deduce a palace. Only your Herodotus would be too complete under Woolley's hands. [2 lines omitted]

Honestly, I do not know. I rather think I should not employ a specialist, but rather a gatherer-together of knowledge: and I am out of date, with them, and know too few to pick a best. I have been impressed with the verve and ruthlessness of my own brother - a younger brother - who calls himself A.W. Lawrence, and has published two books on Greek sculpture via Cape. He has dug in Mesopotamia, and travelled over the earth, and owns a good pen. I wonder if he would do you, and if you would please him? His address is C/O The British School of Archaeology, Athens. If he wouldn't do it himself (the young man only does what he pleases, rather haughtily) he would at least tell you who was the boniest and most wilful of the younger men. Do your best to get someone really good. Herodotus is a marvellous fellow. I incline to credit everything he saw, and to give him credit for intelligence and judgement in sifting the stories that he heard. Also he is pre-eminently human. A first-rate Herodotus would be a most useful book: only I'm worried to think of Rawlinson as the vehicle. Good of course, very good, as scholarship goes: but Rawlinson was too sober. And the notes aren't easy, for as I say, Herodotus straddles Greece and Asia Minor and Persia and Syria and Egypt: and modern archaeologists get famous by digging only one thing. Alas for Hogarth's dying: I think you might do worse than try my brother, at least for an opinion.

I'd like to see your flying thing. Flying is, as you know, one of my madnesses.  [name omitted] No, I do not remember him. Too many people remember me at Uxbridge! Actually I was not identified there with my past, so no one noticed me.


Source: DG 680-81
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 31 January 2006

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