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 I rather think I should not employ a specialist, but rather a gatherer-together of knowledge: and I am out of date, with them, and know too few to pick a best.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.
|Last revised:||31 January 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