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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Sydney Cockerell


Mount Batten
Plymouth

March 27th, 1930

Dear Cockerell

I have taken a fortnight to reply: and that is not bad for me, as letters go. Somehow I just can't write to people outside. Often I wish the world ended at the camp gates: indeed it usually does, for me. Now-a-days I hardly ever voluntarily go out.

About this drawing. Actually its copyright belongs to Augustus John, of course: but it has been published, so he will probably not care. I shall not care at all. It's a silly letter the girl wrote.

Coming to Cambridge, you ask. I do not know: not unless my  mind changes. I think that I would like not to go out again.

Mrs Shaw sent me the book of the Bacchae: and I read it carefully. It's a bit weak, like all the so-called works of Euripides, but curious, and has bits of vitality in it, here and there: only vitality grows old, being thereby inferior to poetry, which stays the age of its creation.

My R.A.F. notes aren't really a book, but a loose collection of memoranda jotted down at Uxbridge in 1922. I meant them to make a book of my life in the Air Force (or of life in the R.A.F. which is a bigger idea) and was preparing notes to refresh my memories. Only I was thrown out in 1923, and thus the project flopped, never (I think) to be taken up again.

As they exist the notes are purely technical. They interest people like Wavell and Dawnay, who are still serving officers, with the duty of commanding soldiers. To them the psychology of the ranks is important. But outsiders wouldn't get through the crust to the real stuff inside. For that reason I suppressed them. They give people an unfavourable, and therefore wrong impression of the R.A.F.

Some day I'll meet you and we will talk wider upon this.

Yours

T.E.S.

Source: SCC 370
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 1 January 2006


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