Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers
Take these suggestions of mine, the few of them there are, just as suggestions, for your rejection or acceptance: or for improvement by yourself I like your emendations throughout, and have tried to embody them all in the substance of the text.
Many interruptions of my leisure lately. XIV is still revision and unfit for despatch. I am afraid that the flesh excuses for not working, on sunny evenings!
No news of Mrs. R: which means well I hope. She is putting up a fine fight. I do hope it will not exhaust all her strength, and that very soon all anxiety will be over. This is hard upon you.
1) The snag in 'bottled sunlight' is the limited meaning of the word 'bottle' today. 'Jarred sunlight' is impossible. 'Liquid sunlight' - how is that? or 'Sunny-surfaced wine' which is very near the Greek truth: 'Stored sunlight' is not bad at all. Of course bottled sunlight is the best, if we overlook the absence of glass. I agree that fizzy wines are detestable.
2) 'Mint it on' is not very happy. You mint in rather than on. 'Stamp it on your heart' is all right, though violent if you think of foot-stamping. 'Print' I rejected because printing is today a limited specialised sense of the old word. Also the Greek word can mean 'Keep it playing in your heart:' up and down, like a fountain. 'Ponder' the wise men say. 'Dandle' rather. These apparently simple words are the devil. 'Carry it ever in your heart' would do. 'Print' is jolly good, except for the modern meaning of printing.
3) I think I deliberately help out the sea-pieces a link, by using just enough technical terms to carry verisimilitude. In the original they are a bit amateurish: though nobody ever wandered about Greece and remained land-lubberly.
I'm very glad Mrs. R. goes well.
No, I think Philip Sassoon is already the target of too many arrows to be easily brought down. I like him: and he is cultivated, artistic, and public-spirited.
XI There's no doubt, I think, that he went home from that land journey: and I have a notion that he died in Ithaca: but I (also) have no Classical Dictionary.
|Last revised:||14 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