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T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers


Dear B.R.

It is going to be a peach of a book. I like the operation upon Polyphemus immensely. The mules and the hare of Nausicaa are charming. I don't think the young lady herself is immensely (?) happy (too chesty, perhaps) as she faces the naked Odysseus. The chariot and horses is a nice design, and the sirens with the Gods, old friends.

The text reads:- that's about all I feel inclined to say for it. My speed of work is only apparent. 18-21 were roughed out during the summer: but so much work lies between the rough and the finished draft that it does not mean much. At present, for instance, I have XVIII ready to fair-copy, and am concentrating upon XIX: but it will be a week, at least, before XIX is in anything like shape. Eventually, and by passage of time, one reaches a certain finality: one gets as far as one can: and it is at that stage the fair-copy should be made and passed to you. To hurry the revisions means only too many corrections in type-script or proof and that is a bad mark on a writer. He should find out what he wants to say before he says it.

I have great hope of finishing by March next year: that is if all goes well and I am not too much distracted. In India of course it was different. I had so much spare time. But in England an airman has no right to undertake a version of the Odyssey. I am sorry to have been so long.

I think the sea-pieces in the Odyssey, while not written by a sea-dog, are vivid and studied things by someone who had been on the sea enough to know what he was saying. They strike me as about the best things in the book. I may have heightened them, perhaps ; but that has been my principle throughout. When I can raise the drama, I do, within the bounds of translation.

Lord, there are sonic dull bits! XV and XVI, XIX and XX! My hat!


Source: BR1 [68-9]
Checked: jw/
Last revised: 14 July 2006

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