Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence to Bruce Rogers
I sat over your letter for a while, and then set it aside, wondering if the problem would solve itself No luck. This Odyssey has put me in rather a hole. I enclose you a letter from Cape, with another cutting: and instinct warns me there may be others after that.
John o'London is a well-meaning little populariser of books, and it serves many people who would not read a high-brow paper. I give it pretty high marks. It does a lot ofgood: though its readers are not of the class to buy dear books. By all means have 'your' article in it (by your friend upon you, I mean) and do include the Bible and Odyssey. I have the Bible's pages always before me, and find them most satisfying.
Regarding the text of the Odyssey I should merely say 'a straightforward and close translation into English prose, by T.E. Shaw.' There is no use in praising an unfinished work (I have been unfortunately interrupted since I saw you, and have not done a line more. The earliest date to complete will now be in April) and no use in explaining T. E Shaw. He is unhappily, a public character. And as the subject is you and your books there is no need for me to be drawn slant-wise across the scent.
What are we going to do about England? Will E. W. be content with his luxury version, and give up the idea of any popular reprint? There is no money in the 26th version of the Odyssey, so I hope he will refrain from it. Of course it remains clear that my name will not be put on either, in cold print. It's everybody's secret that I have done it, and I don't care: but between that and legitimatising the child is a great gulf!
|Last revised:||15 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